Dragonfly on branch
Stamp Collecting Month 2017: Dragonflies

Stamp Collecting Month is being held during August. Be dazzled by nature's flying machine - the incredible dragonfly!

Stamp Collecting Month (SCM) provides an exciting way for middle to upper primary school students (and their teachers) to engage with interesting themes through stamps. This website introduces you to the five dragonfly species featured in our SCM stamp issue, and contains videos, fun activities, teaching resources and more.

Time Audio Visual
0:00 This August is Stamp Collecting Month and this year’s theme is dragonflies!
Video of waterfall in motion. Animated dragonfly flies onto screen. Text displayed Stamp Collecting Month and Dragonflies, Nature’s Flying Machines.
0:05 Dragonflies are among the most beautiful creatures of the insect world. Hovering weightless mid-air before darting at speed, dragonflies charm us with their fairylike appearance, varied brightness and large, delicate wings.
Video panning showing a river flowing through dense foliage. Animated dragonfly is flying across the screen, zooming in and out.
0:18 Pre-dating dinosaurs, the original dragonflies were among the first winged insects to develop. Australia has five giant species, which have been around for about 190 million years!
Animated dinosaur walking on low cliff edge beside river with the animated dragonfly again flying all over the screen.
0:25   Text appears on video: Dragonflies have lived in mainland Australia for about 190 million years!
0:31 Like all insects, dragonflies have six legs, a head, thorax and abdomen. They have two pairs of wings that can move independently, giving them aerodynamic efficiency and phenomenal flying abilities. They can propel themselves upwards, downwards, forwards and even backwards, as well as hover and turn sharply and unpredictably. Some species can travel speeds of up to 70 kilometres per hour!
Video of mountain scene with moving water in front. Dragonfly illustration, first showing the wings and feet, head, thorax and the abdomen.
Video of an actual dragonfly resting on a tree branch.
Fade to a different dragonfly also resting on a small tree branch before flying off.
Video of a pool of water with a shallow waterfall to the right flowing into the pool.
0:53   Text appears on video: Some dragonflies can travel up to 70kPh!
0:56 Dragonflies mainly inhabit areas near freshwater sources, like streams and rivers, their presence signalling the health of the local ecosystem.
Transition to a new video of a river running through a rocky area surrounded by thick foliage.
1:05 It is at these water sources that the dragonfly life cycle begins
New video of river flowing over a small rock fall. Trees on either side with sunlight in the distance. 
1:10 There are three stages in its life cycle: egg, larva and adult.
Text appears on video: Life Cycle of a Dragonfly. Nature’s flying machines.
1:15 The female lays her eggs on either the water’s surface or into aquatic plant material, and the eggs later hatch into aquatic larvae, known as nymphs or mud-eyes.
New blurred video with waterfall, ferns and rocks in the distance.
Text appears on video: The females lays her eggs on the water’s surface or into aquatic plant material.
Drawing of a female dragonfly laying eggs.
1:21 Most of the dragonfly’s life is spent in the larval stage, where it feeds on other larvae, insects and tadpoles, before emerging from its skin as a fully formed adult.
Illustration of dragonfly larvae appears on screen on move to the right before spinning.
Text appears on video: The dragonfly spends most of its life (up to 5 years!) in the larval stage 
1:29   Test fades out and is replaced by 5 illustrations of larvae.
1:31   Illustration of dragonfly emerging from its larvae stage.
Image of Australian Tiger dragonfly zooms in and takes up most of the video screen.
1:35   Another new video of a river with lots of rocks surrounded by ferns with trees in the distance. Animated dragonfly flies onto screen.
1:37 The first dragonfly in this year’s stamp issue is the Scarlet Percher, which is a small dragonfly that inhabits creeks, rivers and still waters right across mainland Australia.
Image of the $1 Scarlet Percher stamp spins and zooms in.
Text appears on video: The Scarlet Percher is found all around Australia and is only 3.2cm long!
1:45 They prefer open sunny sites to shady areas and, unlike most other dragonfly species, they will perch on rocks.
Images of a Scarlet Percher dragonfly on tree branches.
1:53 Our next dragonfly is actually a damselfly, which is a smaller relative of the true dragonflies. The Arrowhead Rockmaster is a beautiful mid-blue colour, with charcoal coloured wings. It lives in southern Queensland, coastal New South Wales and Victoria, where it inhabits rivers and streams.
Video from above of rocky river bed within forest that transitions to a green background.
Image of the $1 Arrowhead Rockmaster stamp spins and zooms in.
Text appears on video: Unlike true dragonflies, damselflies’ forewings and hindwings are the same size and shape as each other
2:02   Image of Arrowhead Rockmaster damselfly on leaf.
2:07   Another image of the Arrowhead Rockmaster Damselfly on a tree branch 
2:12 The Australian Tiger is a strikingly beautiful dragonfly, named for its distinctive yellow-green striped appearance. It occurs in aquatic and coastal environments right across northern Australia and down the east coast through Queensland and New South Wales.
New video of flooded river covering everything including the bottom parts of trees.
Video blurs and image of the $1 Australian Tiger stamp spins and zooms in.
Text appears on video: The Australian Tiger has a wingspan of up to 10cm and its larvae will make burrows in the mud
2:28 Our fourth featured dragonfly is the Jewel Flutterer, which is a brilliant jewel-like species. Its wings are coloured with panels of spectacular metallic blue, and it can be found near rivers, creeks and still waters in Queensland, from Cape York Peninsula south to around Mackay.
New video of pool of water with rocks in the foreground and large palm trees in the background.
Video changes to a blurred video of river and image of the $1 Jewel Flutterer stamp spins and zooms in.
Text appears on video: The jewel flutterer is a tiny dragonfly, only 2-5cm long, with metallic blue wings
2:37   Image of Jewel Flutterer dragonfly resting on tree branch followed by an image of the Jewel Flutterer dragonfly resting on a flower leaf.
2:45 The final dragonfly in our series is the Beautiful Petaltail, which is one of five Giant Dragonfly species that are endemic to Australia. Adults can reach nine to 11 centimetres in length, and have a wingspan of 11 to 14 centimetres. This species occurs only in coastal north-eastern Queensland, near rainforest streams and is classified as “endangered”.
Beautiful video of river flowing through a forest with a large waterfall in the background.
Video changes to a blurred video of rain railing on water and image of the $1 Beautiful Petaltail stamp spins and zooms in.
Text appears on video: The Beautiful Petaltail feeds nocturnally, often on the larvae of other dragonflies!
2:58   Image of Beautiful Petaltail dragonfly resting on trunk of a tree.
3:09 Be sure to collect all five stamps in our Dragonflies issue, and learn more about these beautiful insects.
Video of waterfall and river followed by the minisheet and stamps from the Dragonflies stamp issue spinning and zooming in.
3:15   Minisheet and stamps zoom out and disappear followed by the illustrated dragonfly and Australia Post logo with Stamp Collecting Month website auspost.com.au/scm 
3:19   Illustrated dragonfly moves up the screen before disappearing leaving just the Australia Post logo with Stamp Collecting Month website auspost.com.au/scm
3:23   Australia Post logo with Stamp Collecting Month website auspost.com.au/scm fades out before the video ends.

Meet the stars of our Dragonflies stamps

Our 2017 SCM stamp issue features five magnificent dragonfly species, via incredibly life-like illustrations. The dragonfly is one of the most captivating creatures in the insect world and was the first faunal creature in Australia to be described, after a specimen was collected in 1770.
Endangered Wildlife SCM 2016 Western Swamp Tortoise $1 stamp

Scarlet Percher

Percher species belong to the genus Diplacodes, which ranges through...

Endangered Wildlife SCM 2016 Western Lowland Gorilla $1 stamp

Arrowhead Rockmaster

The Arrowhead Rockmaster is a beautiful mid-blue colour...

Endangered Wildlife SCM 2016 Snow Leopard $1 stamp

Australian Tiger

The Australian Tiger is a striking dragonfly, its common name...

Endangered Wildlife SCM 2016 Northern Quoll 50c stamp

Jewel Flutterer

The Jewel Flutterer is, as its name suggests, a brilliant jewel-like...

Endangered Wildlife SCM 2016 Southern Corroboree Frog $1 stamp

Beautiful Petaltail

The Beautiful Petaltail is one of five Giant Dragonfly species that are...

Activities and resources

If you’re a parent, caregiver or teacher, here are some free SCM resources to share with children. Want some more advice on stamp collecting? Read our tips on starting a collection.

Resources for teachers

Bring nature's flying machines into the classroom with our SCM teaching resources, including five exciting units of work.

Fun activities for children

Fun dragonfly-themed activities for younger students including colour-ins, puzzles and fun things to do.

All about stamp collecting

If you’re new to stamp collecting, we’ve got some tips to get you going. The SCM stamp issue is a great place to start.

Stamps: behind the scenes

Find out why stamp collecting is such a popular hobby, and watch how stamps get made.

Why Collect Stamps video transcript

Australians have been collecting stamps for over 150 years, a couple of decades after stamps were first issued in 1840.

Kids would collect stamps as a hobby, asking their family and friends to save stamps from letters and envelopes they received.

News about valuable stamps, like the famous American stamp called the US Inverted Jenny from 1918, which sold in 2016 for over one and a half million dollars! and the world’s most valuable stamp, the 1856 one cent British Guiana Stamp, worth over 12 million dollars! has led to a huge interest in stamp collecting.

The value of stamps is determined by their age, their scarcity and their condition. But collecting is not just about a stamp’s value - it’s fun to collect colourful, interesting or unusual stamps, sort them into an album, and trade them with your friends!

Each year Australia Post dedicates a whole month to stamp collecting and every year a different theme is chosen for a series of exciting new stamps and products like the endangered species series which featured some Australia native animals including the Orange-bellied parrot and the Southern Corroboree Frog, as well as some exotic species like the Asian Elephant, and the Western Lowland Gorilla.

We’ve also explored the depths of our solar system where we took a thrilling ride through space and visiting all 8 planets; from the inhospitable heat of Mercury and Venus through to the eerie, cold gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn.

And we travelled way back in time with some beautifully illustrated drawings of some weird and wonderful and sometimes scary! dinosaurs.

All you need to start your own collection is a stamp album and some stamps! You can buy stamps from your local Australia Post shop, swap them with your friends, or ask your family to save stamps for you.

Stamp collecting is a lot of fun. And who knows, you may even find a rare stamp worth a lot of money!


Production of the Australia Post Wildflowers Definitive Stamps transcript

Male inspecting printing plates
[Slate]: Plate production using a plating system from Du Pont
Male placing paper rolls onto printing machine
Paper rolls running through printing machine
Printing machine running
[Slate]: Four Colour printing on a flexographic printing press
Printing machine running, printing stamps
[Slate]: Stamps are then coated with phosphor and die cut
Printing machine running, printing stamps
[Slate]: The printing machine contains UV lamps to cure the ink through each stage
Printed stamps being passed through the machine and collected onto large rolls
Rolls of stamps going through Quality Control (QC)
[Slate]: Stamps go through inspection using cameras to detect abnormalities
Vision of QC process and inspection
[Slate]: During inspection imperfect stamps are replaced
Stamps passing through QC machine
Male inspecting printed stamp sheets by hand
Australia Post van driving out of production facility
[Slate]: Stamps are then transported to the Australia Post Production Facility
Printed stamps going through cutting machine to produce smaller rolls
Smaller stamp rolls produced, going through conveyor belt
[Slate]: Stamps are cut into smaller rolls of 200 stamps and placed in packaging
Smaller stamp rolls going through conveyor belt to packing
Stamp rolls packaged into boxes
[Slate]: Rolls are picked and boxed and made ready for delivery
Boxes being processed through convey belt
Australia Post van driving out of production facility

Australia Post Logo