Australia Post is releasing the third stamp issue in a four-year series commemorating the centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) of 1911-14.This Australian Antarctic Territory stamp issue comprises three domestic base-rate (60 cent) stamps and two large letter-rate ($1.20) stamps.
The AAE left Hobart in December 1911 under the command of Douglas Mawson and returned to Adelaide in February 1914. Mawson was knighted for his expedition achievements and is regarded as one of the greatest figures of Antarctic exploration.The AAE extensively explored the Antarctic coast and conducted scientific and meteorological observations.One of the most famous survival stories is that of AAE members Mawson, Ninnis and Mertz. The three had set off on a sledging trip from which only Mawson would return.
This stamp issue highlights Mawson’s return to the base camp in February 1913 just hours after the original party had left on the expedition’s ship, the SY Aurora. The stamps also depict key members of the expedition and AAE life which involved significant scientific work in the harsh isolation of the Antarctic.
The photographs used for this issue feature: Walter Henry Hannam – original wireless operator and mechanic who returned to Australia in the SY Aurora before the return of Mawson, Frank Wild – leader of the Western Party and third-in-command of the expedition, extreme weather conditions in the Antarctic, scientific work during the expedition and local Antarctic fauna – a Weddell seal and a Cape Petrel bird.
The Centenary of the AAE stamp issue is designed by Melbourne-based company Andrew Hogg Design which has been commissioned to design the whole series.