Owls: Guardians of the Night has been voted the favourite stamp issue design for 2016 in Australia Post’s latest annual stamp poll. A total of 632 polls were completed, ranking Australian and territories stamp issues in preferred order (from 1 to 32). There were many positive comments about the program overall, as well as about favoured stamp issues. There was also some constructive feedback for us to take on board. It was also pleasing to see some great ideas for future stamp issues.

While 90 per cent of the respondents were from Australia, collectors from other countries, such as the USA, UK and New Zealand, also had their say. More than half of the respondents were in the 60+ age bracket, but the 44 to 59 and 30 to 44 age groups were also well represented, which is pleasing for philately’s future!

The top ten stamp issues are outlined below. While nature-related themes dominate, we also see a preference for historical and vintage issues, with a humorous stamp issue also making the cut.

1. Owls: Guardians of the Night

On 5 July 2016, the Owls: Guardians of the Night stamp issue was released, featuring four captivating species of owl: Sooty Owl (Tyto tenebricosa), Rufous Owl (Ninox rufa), Eastern Grass Owl (Tyto longimembris) and Southern Boobook (Ninox boobook lurida).

The lifelike illustrations, by Adelaide-based wildlife artist Christopher Pope, showcase these magnificent nocturnal birds of prey in their natural habitat. The four double-definitive sized stamps clearly left an impression with collectors.

2. AAT: Ice Flowers

Ice flowers, or ice ferns, is the name given to the intricate ice patterns that form on glass at Australian Antarctic Territory research stations throughout the winter months, when temperatures regularly fall below -40°C. This stamp issue, which was designed by Sharon Rodziewicz and released on 20 September 2016, showcases the eerily beautiful results of these icy formations.

3. Beautiful Butterflies

Who doesn’t enjoy the sight of a butterfly fluttering in the sky? Clearly our collectors do! The Beautiful Butterflies stamp issue, released on 3 May 2016 and designed by Sharon Rodziewicz, features striking photographs of four bright and attractive Australian butterflies, including the largest butterfly found in Australia – the arresting Cairns Birdwing (Ornithoptera euphorion).

4. Endangered Wildlife: Stamp Collecting Month

The Endangered Wildlife stamp issue was released on 20 September 2016, in the lead-up to Stamp Collecting Month in October. The stamps feature seven endangered animals that are part of current zoo and/or other conservation programs in Australia. The incredible illustrations are by Owen Bell.

5. A Century of Service: Vietnam War

On 11 October 2016, a stamp issue was released commemorating Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War (1955–75) – our longest period of military service during the 20th century. The five stamps, designed by Andrew Hogg, explore key themes of the war, including the Battle of Long Tan and the widely opposed introduction of compulsory military service.

6. Jewel Beetles

Owen Bell’s lifelike illustrations feature in another popular issue, the Jewel Beetles stamp issue, released on 6 September 2016. Jewel beetles are relatively small, ranging from three to 80 millimetres in length. But what they lack in size, they certainly make up for with their dazzling and often iridescent appearance!

7. Centenary of WWI: 1916

This third issue in the Centenary of WWI stamp series focuses on the year 1916, bringing us to the point in the war when the Anzacs travelled to the Western Front. The stamp issue, released on 12 April 2016 and designed by Andrew Hogg, conveys key themes such as the infamous Somme offensive and the divisive public vote on conscription.

8. Fair Dinkum Aussie Alphabet Part 2

The second instalment of the Fair Dinkum Aussie Alphabet stamp issue was released on 16 August 2016. The stamps feature humorous and action-packed illustrations by Gavin Ryan. And stamp enthusiasts clearly enjoyed hunting for iconic elements starting with the letters A, C, L, R and T!

9. Nostalgic Fruit Labels

Paper labels pasted onto wooden fruit cases were the forerunners of pre-printed cardboard cartons. These bright and cheerful vintage-themed stamps, designed by Jo Muré and released on 7 June 2016, hark back to a golden era in Australian fruit production.

10. Decimal Currency Australia: 1966–2016

Many people may well remember the introduction of decimal currency on Monday 14 February 1966, when pounds and shillings were replaced with dollars and cents. The Decimal Currency Australia: 1966–2016 stamp issue, released on 9 February 2016 and designed by Melinda Coombes, represents the change from pre-decimal to decimal currency through the £1 note, $1 note and $1 coin.

Visit our stamp poll page for a full rundown of previous polls.


*This article was produced at the time of publication and will not be updated.

Philatelic Team