AAT: Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1914 Homeward Bound

Release date: 18 February 2014

This is the fourth and last issue in a four-year program celebrating the centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE). The AAE left Hobart in December 1911 under the command of Douglas Mawson and returned to Adelaide in February 1914.

The stamps follow the same design style across the four years and feature a combination of images depicting the environment, the men, their work and their lives over this period so that by the end there is a comprehensive mosaic of this extraordinary feat of exploration in Australia’s history.

Mawson was knighted for his achievements during this expedition and is regarded as one of the greatest figures of the ‘heroic age’ of Antarctic exploration. This final issue focuses on the activities of the members of the Expedition who were forced to stay for the winter of 1913 and their return to Adelaide in February 1914.

The photographs used for this issue were sourced from various national archives including the South Australian Museum, the State Library of South Australia, The Mawson Centre, and the Home & Away Collection of the State Library of NSW.

The Stamps

If all had gone to plan the AAE would have returned home in early 1913, but this schedule had to be abandoned after the tragic deaths of Xavier Mertz and Belgrave Ninnis, and the late return of Mawson himself to base camp. Instead, the small party who had remained in Antarctica endured another winter of scientific work until the Aurora returned in December 1913. That evening they sat down to dinner “striving to collect our bewildered thoughts at the sight of a white tablecloth, Australian mutton, fresh vegetables, fruit and cigars”. Mawson and his team were given a hero’s welcome for their achievements and their courage on their return to Adelaide on 26 February 1914.

$1.20 Mawson on motor launch, Cape Denison
$1.20 Frank Hurley with cinema camera
60c Mawson holding large circular net
60c Returning party
60c Mawson

Minisheet

The minisheet features, on the left, an extension of the image of Mawson shown on the stamp with Madigan, Gillies, Hodgeman & Blake, and on the right, Mawson & Madigan stepping off the Aurora.
 

Technical Details

  • Issue date

    18 February 2014
  • FDI withdrawal

    19 March 2014
  • Denomination

    3 x 60c, 2 x $1.20
  • Stamp design

    Andrew Hogg design
  • Product design

    Andrew Hogg design
  • Paper (gummed)

    Tullis Russell
  • Printer (gummed)

    RA print
  • Printing process

    Lithography
  • Stamp size

    26mm x 37.5mm
  • Minisheet size

    170mm x 85mm
  • Perforations

    14.6 x 13.86
  • Sheet layout

    Module of 50 (se-tenant)
  • National postmark

    Kingston, Tas 7050
  • Issue withdrawal date

    31 August 2014

Designer

Designed by Andrew Hogg Design, the stamps use a number of photographs of the AAE’s time in the Antarctic.

Additional Products

  • Miniature sheet
  • First day cover
  • Stamp Pack
  • Maxicards
  • Special sheetlet of 20 featuring stamps from whole series.
  • A special 20-stamp sheetlet is being released with this final stamp issue and comprises all the stamps released across the programme. The overarching themes for the four-year series are:
    2011 – Departure & Journey
    2012 – Arrival & Exploration
    2013 – Disaster and Isolation
    2014 – Homeward Bound.
     

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