Native Bees has been voted Australia’s favourite stamp issue in the 2019 Stamp Poll. Just over 700 respondents completed the online poll, ranking (at least) their “top 5” stamp issues and least favourite issue, though almost 60 per cent of respondents didn’t have a least favourite issue!

While most respondents were from Australia, there were respondents from the USA, UK, New Zealand, Germany and Canada, as well as Austria, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and Ukraine. There was a greater spread in the age of respondents, this year. While the greatest number were in the 60 to 69 age bracket, there was also good representation by those aged 40 to 49, 50 to 59 and 70 plus.

The top 10 stamp issues are outlined below. Nature featured strongly, once again, as did historical themes.

1. Native Bees

The stamp issue voted most popular in this year’s poll is Native Bees, featuring beautiful illustrations by Kevin Stead. The issue, released on 14 May 2019, showcases species from each of the four main native bee families, each of which varies in size between one and two centimetres. These important pollinators are probably not as well-known as the European honey bee, but they are certainly crucial to our biodiversity. Australia’s native bees face several challenges, including habitat destruction and fragmentation as well as climate change.

2. Moon Landing: 50 Years

Coming a close second is a stamp issue commemorating one of the 20th century’s defining moments. 50 years ago, at 12.56 pm on 21 July 1969 (AEST), Neil Armstrong became the first person in history to step onto the surface of the Moon. On 16 July 2019, we released the Moon Landing: 50 Years stamp issue in recognition of this historic event. Designed by Gary Domoney of Visua, the four stamps and minisheet highlight key aspects of the Apollo 11 mission as well as Australia’s involvement in it, including operation of the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station and the Parkes radio telescope.

3. In the Garden

For Stamp Collecting Month 2019, we invited people to explore a sustainable garden and the designs resonated with stamp poll participants. Featuring spectacular illustrations by Andrew Hopgood, the large sheet and minisheet featured many important elements of sustainable gardening, including plants, animals and activities that help to promote biodiversity, pollination, growing healthy food, being water-wise and more. The stamps presented a veggie garden, nest box, rainwater garden, worm farm and pollinating birds and insects.

4. Australian Fauna

Australia boasts an impressive array of animals, many of which have become iconic symbols at home and overseas. The Australian Fauna stamp issue, released on 5 March 2019 and designed by Sonia Young of the Australia Post Design Studio, presents this popular stamp thematic in a fresh and modern way. Featured are the vocal and playful Galah; Australia’s largest mammal, the Red Kangaroo; the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world, the Tasmanian Devil; and an Eastern Blue-tongue, or “bluey”, a skink commonly found in backyard gardens.

5. Flightless Birds

Very few Australian bird species are truly flightless. The Flightless Birds stamp issue, released on 7 May 2019, features three of these species. The Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) is the smallest of all penguin species and the only penguin to breed in mainland Australia and Tasmania. The Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) and the Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) are the country’s largest birds. Stamp designs are by Sharon Rodziewicz of the Australia Post Design Studio.

6. Beautiful Cities, part 2

Released on 23 September 2019, this issue is the second in a series showcasing some of our spectacular Australian cities, many of which rate very highly in international liveability indices. This issue, designed by Jason Watts of the Australia Post Design Studio, features Sydney and Perth. Presented on the stamps are the famous Sydney Opera on magnificent Sydney Harbour; and Elizabeth Quay, an attractive waterfront precinct adjacent to the Swan River in Perth.

7. Anzac Day 2019

Designed by Lynette Traynor of the Australia Post Design Studio, this stamp issue presents covers of two historical souvenir programs from 1919 Anzac Day events. The artwork from these souvenirs recognise the relevance of “peace” in Anzac Day commemorations that year, both in Australia and overseas. The domestic-rate stamp features the cover of a booklet published by Victorian Branch of the Returned Soldiers and Sailors League for Anzac Memorial Day, 1919. The international-rate stamp presents a program for a 1919 Anzac Day event held for allied soldiers at an Australian depot in Rouelles, France.

8. Centenary of First England to Australia Flight

Another historical issue that polled well with respondents was our stamp issue, released on 1 October 2019, that commemorated the first England to Australia flight, completed by brothers Captain Ross Smith and Lieutenant Keith Smith, and crew, in December 1919. The $1 stamp shows the men in front of their Vickers Vimy aircraft, which made the incredible journey of almost 18,000 kilometres (the previous record was just over 5,000 kilometres). The $3.20 stamp shows a commemorative label issued in honour of the first overseas airmail to Australia, which was carried on the historic flight. Designs are by Janet Boschen.

9. Bush Citrus

Some of Australia’s “bush food” species are on show in Bush Citrus, released on 13 August 2019. Featuring illustrations by Anita Xhafer, the three species showcased are from the citrus family (Rutaceae): two from the genus Citrus and one from the genus Acronychia. Native edible flora is gaining greater visibility with the public, thanks to Indigenous bush cooking initiatives, commercial bush food enterprises and the increasing use of these ingredients by high-profile chefs.

10. Fair Dinkum Aussie Alphabet, part 5

Completing the top 10 in the 2019 Stamp Poll is the final instalment of the Fair Dinkum Aussie Alphabet series – a light-hearted and humorous stamp series, designed by Gavin Ryan, which explores aspects of Australia through each letter of the alphabet. In this fifth stamp issue, we featured the last six letters that make complete the set of 26: D, F, H, I, M and P.

Visit our stamp poll page for results from previous polls.

Philatelic Team