100 Years of Repatriation

Release date: 23 October 2018

In early 1917, Prime Minister Billy Hughes promised Australia’s armed forces: “When you come back, we will look after you”.

Following the end of World War I, tens of thousands of Australian soldiers returned from fighting in France, Belgium and the Middle East, many of them scarred or disabled, mentally and physically. Governments around Australia realised that a system of repatriation was necessary to prepare these soldiers for a return to civilian life.

This led to the establishment of the Commonwealth Repatriation Commission and Repatriation Department as well as Repatriation Boards in each state. The government provided war pensions, health care, education and training, employment, housing, soldier settlement, and remembrance and commemoration.

Their work continued in the wake of subsequent conflicts, from World War II to more recent military operations including in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as border protection and humanitarian assistance.

A century on, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (as the Repatriation Department is now known) and its state counterparts are still committed to maintaining and enhancing the physical and financial wellbeing of serving and ex-serving men and women and their families.

The stamps

$1  Robert Semple OAM BEM

This stamp features Robert (Bob) Semple OAM BEM, 98, one of the last surviving Rats of Tobruk – the brave Australian soldiers who held the Libyan port for eight months in 1941 against the Afrika Korps. After Tobruk, Mr Semple fought at El Alamein, then in New Guinea and Borneo before he was honourably discharged in late 1945.

The photograph is from the collection of the Australian War Memorial.

$1  100 Years of Repatriation

This stamp features Able Seaman Elizabeth McCallum marching in Mornington, Victoria, with her then-95-year old grandfather Major Alec Weaver (Ret’d) during the 2017 Anzac Day parade. Major Weaver had a 34-year career in the Army, which included service in New Britain, New Guinea and Japan in World War II, as well as action in the Philippines and Korea, and two rotations in the Vietnam War.

The stamp photograph is by Peta Heffernan.

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Set of stamps

Sheetlet of 10

Sheetlet pack

Maxicard set

Additional products

  • Sheetlet of 10
  • Sheetlet pack
  • First day cover (blank, gummed)
  • Maxicards

Technical specifications

  • Issue date

    23 October 2018
  • FDI withdrawal date

    21 November 2018
  • Denominations

    2 x $1
  • Stamp design

    Australia Post Design Studio
  • Product design

    Simone Sakinofsky, Australia Post Design Studio
  • Paper: gummed

    Tullis Russell
  • Printer

  • Printing process

    Offset lithography
  • Stamp size

    26mm x 37.5mm
  • Perforations

    14.6 x 13.86
  • FDI postmark

    Canberra ACT 2600
  • Sheet layout

    Sheetlet of 10 checkerboard
  • Issue withdrawal date

    30 April 2019
*This content was produced at the time of the stamp issue release date and will not be updated.

Philatelic team