For centuries, the idea of a remote continent in the Southern Hemisphere – “Antarktikos” or “Terra Australis Incognita” – sparked the imagination of cartographers. Determined to be the first to map the continent, in 1772 Captain James Cook explored the Southern Ocean, crossing the Antarctic Circle, but failed to reach the landmass. During early exploration in the late 19th century, the first maps were produced by expeditions that charted lengths of the Antarctic coast by ship.

In 1911, Australia’s Douglas Mawson embarked on the Australasian Antarctic Expedition to conduct scientific research, including cartography. Land exploration was undertaken using dog teams and hauling sledges to survey and map more than 6,437 kilometres of what would become the Australian Antarctic Territory.

This stamp issue celebrates more than 100 years of Australian mapping of the Antarctic continent, from Mawson’s early surveys to the computer-assisted maps of the 1990s.

Technical specifications

Issue date
Issue withdrawal date
2 x $1, 2 x $2
Stamp design
Lisa Christensen, Three Branches Design
Product design
Lisa Christensen, Three Branches Design
Paper: gummed
Tullis Russell
Printing process
Offset lithography
Stamp size (mm)
35 x 35
Minisheet size (mm)
170 x 80
14.286 x 14.286
Sheet layout
Module of 50
FDI Postmark
Kingston, Tas 7050
FDI withdrawal date

Stamps in this issue

$1 - Douglas Mawson, 1914

Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911–14) resulted in a significant cartographic survey.

$1 - Department of the Interior, 1939

Douglas Mawson also led the British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (1929–31) which traced the coastline of east Antarctica. Australian cartographers used this information to produce the influential 1939 1:10 million Antarctic map. 

$2 - Division of National Mapping, 1971

From the 1950s to 1970s, the Australian Antarctic Division oversaw the surveying of
remote regions of the AAT. Maps were manually composed from ground-level calculations in the field and aerial photography. In the 1970s, satellite imagery allowed for more detailed maps.

$2 - Australian Antarctic Division, 1993

In the 1990s, Geographical Information Systems used computer technology to manage geographic data and produce more accurate maps.

Shop our stamp collectables

Set of stamps:

Set of Mapping the AAT stamps

This set of stamps contains all four stamps from the Mapping the AAT stamp issue.

Stamp pack:

Mapping the AAT stamp pack

The Mapping the AAT stamp pack contains all four stamps and minisheet from the stamp issue presented in high quality folder.


Mapping the AAT minisheet

The Mapping the AAT minisheet consists of the four stamps from the issue incorporated into a miniature stamp sheet.

Maxicard set:

Maxicard set for the Mapping the AAT stamp issue

This maxicard set contains the four maxicards from the Mapping the AAT stamp issue.

Additional products:

  • Pictorial envelope for the Mapping the AAT stamp issue
  • Gutter strip 10 x $1 Douglas Mawson, 1911 stamps
  • Gutter strip 10 x $1 Department of the Interior, 1939 stamps
  • Gutter strip 10 x $2 Division of National Mapping, 1971 stamps
  • Gutter strip 10 x $2 Australian Antarctic Division, 1993 stamps
  • First day Mapping the AAT gummed stamps cover
  • First day Mapping the AAT minisheet cover

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