Australian humour is recognised around the world for its dry, ironic and self-deprecating nature. And while in Australia, we don’t see what all of the fuss is about, sometimes this humour, combined with our unique lexicon and the slow, broad drawl of our accent, can cause some confusion.

This is illustrated brilliantly in the book, “Let’s Stalk Strine”, which was first published in 1965. Written by “Professor of Strine Studies, University of Sinny”, the publication contains whole conversations, written out phonetically, with the aim of enabling anyone to understand the eccentricities of the broad Aussie accent (while being totally tongue-in-cheek at the same time). Words and phrases are defined throughout, which, even in 2016, are highly amusing:

  • “Egg Nishner: A mechanical device for cooling and purifying the air of a room.”
  • “Ear’s Eve: The festive occasion of 31st December…Strines throughout the land perform the ceremony of joining hands with strangers and chanting “Shoulder Qaint’s Beef Cot” (also known as ‘Frolang Zine’).”
  • “Flesh in the Pen: Momentary brilliance.”

In the same vein of light-hearted humour, the Fair Dinkum Aussie Alphabet stamp series depicts some home-grown words, icons and locations for each letter of the alphabet.

Artist Gavin Ryan has cleverly incorporated a range of quirky Aussie scenes based on each letter. Within each scene, there are numerous place names, products, icons and Australian animals beginning with the nominated letter.

Released on 1 March 2016, part 1 is comprised of five domestic base rate stamps, featuring the letters N, Q, S, V and W (to represent five of the six Australian states).

  • N is for… New South Wales, nipper, numbat…
  • Q is for… Queensland, Quokka, queue, quoll…
  • S is for… South Australia, shark, sandcastle, surf, starfish, sausage…
  • V is for… Victoria, Victa, vegemite, vegetables, violin…
  • W is for… Western Australia, wombat, wattle, waratah, water hose…

This isn’t the first time that Gavin’s unique sense of humour has been captured on stamps. Stamp collectors, and those fond of Australiana, will remember Gavin’s illustrations in the popular Road Trip Australia series of stamps issued in 2012 and 2013, which explored the iconic road trip around Australia.

And, of course, this isn’t the first time that Australia Post has produced humorous or light-hearted Australiana-themed stamps either. These issues provide a way for us to laugh at ourselves and to celebrate some uniquely Australian cultural references.
Notable issues include:

  • Surfing Santa (1977), which was the subject of a previous post on this site.
  • Australian Sporting Personalities (1981)
  • Living Together Definitive (1998) (Parts 1 and 2)
  • Leunig’s Teapot of Truth (1998)
  • Wild Babies (2001)
  • Down on the Farm (2005)
  • Commonwealth Games Melbourne (2006) (Melbourne Tram)
  • 50 Years of Television in Australia (2006) (Kath and Kim)
  • Big Things (2007)
  • Circus under the Big Top (2007)
  • Inventive Australia (2009)
  • Come to the Show (2010)

Then there’s the 2012 stamp issue Living Australia, which featured the winner and finalists from the Australia Day Council of New South Wales Online Photography competition. Two of the photographs capture the laid-back humour of Australia particularly well.

So get your magnifying glasses out and start hunting for alphabetical Australiana! Further issues in the series will be released over time, to reveal the full set of 26 stamps.

The Fair Dinkum Aussie Alphabet stamp issue is available from 1 March 2016 online, at participating Post Offices and via mail order on 1800 331 794 while stocks last.


Gavin Young, Australia Post Design Studio

Technical specifications

Issue date
1 March 2016
Issue withdrawal date
30 September 2016
5 x $1
Stamp design
Gavin Young, Australia Post Design Studio
Product design
Sonia Young, Australia Post Design Studio
Printer - gummed
Paper - gummed
Tullis Russell Red Phosphor
Printing process
Offset lithography
Stamp size
26mm x 37.5mm
14.60 x 13.86
Sheet layout
Module of 50
FDI postmark
Bourke NSW 2840
FDI withdrawal date
30 March 2016

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