Australia Day legends look Cross

January 26 is Australia Day. (For foreign readers, Australia has no Independence or Revolution or Treaty in its history, so we just named our national day after ourselves.)

Australia Post began marking Australia Day in 1978, usually with a theme of settlement, Aboriginal culture, art, or patriotic symbols. They were generally attractive designs, even if some of the early ones reek of imperialism. A superb run of supersized stamps in 1994-7 depicted modern Australian art, and 1982 must surely feature the first appearance of the hijab on an Australian stamp.

1982 Australia DayThe Australia Day stamps will make an interesting blog one day, but for now, let us simply love how much these ‘flag’ designs reflect their era.

1978 Australia Day

1978: For we are young and free

1981 Australia Day1981: Woooooo, it’s the 80s! Check it out! 3D!

1987 Australia Day

1987: Stand back everyone, here comes THE FUTURE

1991 Australia Day1991: Oh. The future’s a bit dull. Quick, someone invent grunge

The Legends are born

The final official ‘Australia Day’ release in 1997 coincided with the first annual Australian Legends issue, in which AP honours Australians who have achieved things. It broke a long-standing rule that the British royals were the only identifiable living persons depicted on Australian stamps. It’s a risk putting a living person on a stamp, because one never knows how they might yet disgrace themselves. Luckily, notable Australians never turn out to be pedophiles.

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