Christmas 2014

Release date: 31 October 2014

This year’s religious stamps are based on stained-glass windows in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne. This imposing bluestone building is both the tallest and largest church building in Australia and one of the world’s largest Gothic revival 19th-century churches—only St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York is comparable. Designed by Englishman and Catholic convert William Wardell, St Patrick’s was one of his earliest commissions. Begun in 1858, the Cathedral was not completely finished until 1939, the delay due to the depression of the 1890s as well as shortage of funds during construction. St Patrick’s Cathedral was consecrated in 1897 and dedicated to the patron saint of Ireland.

Wardell based his design on both English and French Gothic traditions. The nave and aisles recall the English Gothic while the transepts, sanctuary, chapels and sacristry are more closely modelled on French 14th-century examples. As with medieval Gothic churches, St Patrick’s is embellished with many beautiful stained-glass windows depicting religious and Biblical scenes. Nearly all the windows were manufactured by English company Hardman, which was based in Birmingham. Hardman began making stained glass in 1844 and became one of the world’s leading suppliers of stained glass and ecclesiastical fittings. The company’s most famous commission was London’s Houses of Parliament in the 1840s, and it was also responsible for many church windows in Britain and Ireland. Hardman made the windows for several Australian churches, including St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Hobart, St Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral in Sydney and St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, also in Sydney. In Melbourne, Hardman’s furnished windows for St Francis’, the city’s oldest Catholic Church, as well as St Patrick’s Cathedral.

The windows at St Patrick’s were installed from 1866. The windows depicted on the stamps are in the Ladye Chapel in the chevet or apse area of the cathedral. These windows were fitted in 1892 and show scenes from the Life of the Virgin. The stamps represent details from the chapel windows representing the Flight into Egypt and the Nativity of Christ. The Flight into Egypt, described in Matthew 2:13-23, took place after Christ’s birth when an angel appeared to Joseph, warning him that King Herod intended to kill all infants in Bethlehem. The family fled to Egypt, with Mary and the Christ child riding on a donkey led by Joseph. The angels on the second stamp are a detail of the Nativity scene that shows the newborn child lying in the manger and adored by Mary, Joseph and the angels.

As an alternative to the religious themes, the festive, colourful stamps represent the familiar trappings of Christmas celebrations and recall techniques of paper cut design as well as snow crystals.

The Stamps

65c Virgin and Child
This is a detail from the scene representing the Flight into Egypt from a window in the Ladye Chapel of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne.

$2.55 Angels
This stamp, also taken from a window in the Ladye Chapel of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, is a detail from the scene representing the Nativity of Christ.

65c Christmas Tree
65c Christmas present
70c Dove of peace
$1.70 Christmas Bells
 

Technical Details

  • Issue date

    31 October 2014
  • FDI withdrawal

    28 November 2014
  • Printing process

    Lithography
  • Stamp size

    26mm x 37.5mm
  • Minisheet size

    105mm x 70mm
  • Sheetlet size

    120mm x 192mm
  • Perforations

    14.6 x 13.86
  • Sheet layout

    Modules of 50
  • National postmark

    Merrylands, NSW 2106
  • Issue withdrawal date

    30 April 2015
  • Religious stamps

  • Denomination

    Religious: 1 x 65c, 1 x $2.55
  • Stamp design

    Andrew Hogg Design
  • Product design

    Jo Mure, Australia Post Design Studio
  • Paper (gummed)

    Tullis Russell
  • Printer (gummed)

    McKellar
  • Paper self-adhesive

    C100
  • Printer self-adhesive

    McKellar
  • Secular stamps

  • Denomination (Secular)

    Secular 2 x 65c, 1 x 70c, 1 x $1.70
  • Stamp design

    Secular: Jo Mure, Australia Post Design Studio
  • Product design

    Jo Mure, Australia Post Design Studio
  • Paper (gummed)

    Tullis Russell
  • Printer (gummed)

    EGO
  • Paper self-adhesive

    B100
  • Printer self-adhesive

    EGO

Designer

Andrew Hogg Design

Jo Muré, Australia Post Design Studio

Additional Products

  • Stamp pack
  • Sheetlet of 10 x 65c Tree (embellished)
  • Sheetlet of 10 x 65c Parcel (embellished)
  • Sheetlet pack
  • Maxicard (6)
  • PNC
  • S/A booklet of 20 x 65c nativity
  • Chequebook of 20 x 20 x 65c
  • S/A booklet of 20 x 65c secular
  • Chequebook of 20 x 20 x 65c
  • S/A sheetlet of 5 x $1.70
  • Chequebook of 20 x 5 x $1.70
  • S/A sheetlet of 5 x $2.55
  • Chequebook of 20 x 5 x $2.55
  • Gutter (10 x 65c) nativity
  • Gutter (10 x 65c) secular
  • Gutter (10 x 70c)
  • Gutter (10 x $1.70)
  • Gutter (10 x $2.55)
  • 2014 Gift Labels (pack of 50)
  • Minisheet
  • Cover (blank)
  • First day cover (gummed)
  • First day cover (minisheet)
     

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