[Editor: This article, regarding the Kangaroo and Map stamps, was published in The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), 4 April 1912.]
The new design.
Since federation successive Postmasters-General had kept in view the utility of issuing a uniform Commonwealth stamp, but the bookkeeping system stood in the way. It was not till the end of the bookkeeping period that practical steps could be taken.
Designs were called for by Mr. Thomas, then Postmaster-General, from all parts of the world, and prizes of £100 and £50 were offered for the best and second best designs. The prizes were allotted, but neither Mr. Thomas nor his successor, Mr. Frazer, cared for any of the designs.
Mr. Frazer was, however, struck by the simple assertiveness of the figure of a kangaroo on one of the designs, while the outline of the map of Australia on another also captivated his Spartan taste. He called the Victorian Artists’ Society to his aid, and Mr. Blamire Young pictured the idea that was in the Minister’s mind — a kangaroo in the outline of the continent with a little kangaroo grass adjacent. The stamp is therefore essentially Mr. Frazer’s, and officers of the department disclaim all credit for the design. It is estimated that about a year will be occupied in preparing for the issue, as dies will have to be cut.
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), 4 April 1912, p. 6
Also published (with some minor differences) in:
The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld.), 16 April 1912, p. 8
The Week (Brisbane, Qld.), 19 April 1912, p. 25
Blamire Young = William Blamire Young (1862-1935), artist; born in Londesborough (Yorkshire, England) in 1862, and died in Lilydale (Vic.) in 1935 (lived in Australia 1885-1893, 1895-1912, 1923-1935)
See: 1) Elly Fink, “Young, William Blamire (1862–1935)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography
2) “Blamire Young”, Wikipedia
Commonwealth = the Commonwealth of Australia; the Australian nation, federated on 1 January 1901
die = an engraved, patterned, or shaped block or device made of metal which is used to cast, cut, forge, form, mould, press, shape, or stamp metal into a particular design or shape (such as is used for stamping coins and medals); a machine used for punching holes or otherwise shaping metal pieces (such as sheet metal); a steel device made for cutting the threads of bolts, screws, etc.; a device used for cutting, forming, or stamping material (such as metal or plastic)
federation = the federation or union of the Australian colonies into the Commonwealth of Australia (which occurred on 1 January 1901)
Frazer = Charles Edward Frazer (1880-1913), engine driver, politician, Postmaster-General (1911- 1913); he was born in Yarrawonga (Vic.) in 1880, and died in Melbourne (Vic.) in 1913
See: 1) Ross McMullin, “Frazer, Charles Edward (1880–1913)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography
2) “Charlie Frazer”, Wikipedia
kangaroo grass = a tall perennial tussock-forming grass with seed heads, widespread in Australia (original scientific name: Themeda australis; although, due to a lack of significant differences with similar grasses, it has been reclassified as Themeda triandra)
See: 1) “Themeda australis”, Gardens Online
2) “Themeda australis”, Provincial Plants & Landscapes
3) “Species profile — Themeda australis”, Department of Environment and Science (Queensland Government)
4) “Themeda triandra: Kangaroo Grass”, Yarra Ranges Shire Council
5) “Themeda triandra: Kangaroo Grass”, Australian Plants Society NSW
6) “Themeda triandra: Previously called Themeda australis: Kangaroo Grass”, Australian National Botanic Gardens (Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research)
7) “Themeda triandra”, Wikipedia
Spartan = austere; having very little comfort or luxury (derived from the Spartans of ancient Greece, who were renowned for their austere, disciplined, and militaristic way of living)
Thomas = Josiah Thomas (1863-1933), miner, politician, Postmaster-General (1908-1909, 1910-1911), Minister for External Affairs (1911-1913); born in Camborne (Cornwall, England), came to Australia in the mid-1880s, and died in Croydon Park (Sydney, NSW) in 1933
See: 1) Bruce Pennay, “Thomas, Josiah (1863–1933)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography
2) “Josiah Thomas (politician)”, Wikipedia
As the image of the stamp (on the Trove site) in the article in The Argus (4 April 1912) was of poor quality, the image was instead sourced from the duplicate article published in The Week (19 April 1912).
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]
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