Many consider the 1d (one penny) Kangaroo and Map stamp issued in January 1913 the inception of Australian philately. It was the country's first definitive stamp with the title classification: 'Australia'ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ. However, the postal service had been established in New South Wales in as far back as 1809. As each territory was colonised, postal services were set up and were responsible for issuing their own stamps. This practice continued after federation in 1901 when the six separate British self-governing states joined to form the Commonwealth of Australia.
Queen Victoria was first depicted on an Australian stamp in 1902 and between 1937 and the early 1970s, Australian stamps featured the monarch. Since then, the designs on all Australian definitive stamps have focused on native fauna, flora, animal life, gemstones, arts as well as local communities.
In 1927, Australia issued its first commemorative stamp to celebrate the opening of the first Parliament House in Canberra. The country's first multicoloured stamps were issued in October 1956 as part of the Melbourne Olympic Games commemorative collection. Since then, there have been many special issue stamps. From the 1980s onward, each year a stamp has been issued to celebrate the birthday of the monarch. The first Christmas stamp was produced in November 1957, and since 1993 October Stamp Collecting Month is celebrated in Australia with special issue stamps. Since the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, stamps featuring Australian gold medallists are issued on the next postal business day following their victory.