In 1770, James Cook and his crew aboard the HMS Endeavour became the first Europeans to set foot on the east coast of the continent now called Australia. Among those aboard the Endeavour were the captain, Lieutenant James Cook, naturalists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander and artist Sydney Parkinson. From April to August 1770 they charted the east coast, collecting and sketching botanical and animal specimens.

The Navigating History stamp issue marks the 250th anniversary of this journey. The stamp designs seek to evoke curiosity, deepen understanding and amplify the story of the peoples and cultures that had thrived in Australia for 60,000 years, prior to the landing of the Endeavour.

The stamp issue is conceived as five vertical pairs representing the overlapping narratives of the Endeavour voyage and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and knowledge. The continuous scene depicted across the five stamp pairs weaves and flows together, representing a dialogue of corresponding themes of sky, land, people, plants and the future. Two distinct artwork styles are combined and contrasted to bring the scene together (Meet the designers of Navigating History). Contemporary, intimate line art and a subtle colour palette are used to recognise the European explorers’ skills in navigation and botany, while the images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures pulse with boldness and vibrancy. The visual narrative aims to create respect, insight and understanding of the multiple stories, lives and cultures that intersected at the time of the Endeavour’s Pacific voyage.

Technical specifications

Issue date
Issue withdrawal date
$1.10 x 5
Stamp design
Gilimbaa Creative Agency
Product design
Gilimbaa Creative Agency
Paper: gummed
Tullis Russell 104gsm Red Phosphor/Blue PVA Stamp Paper
Paper: self-adhesive
Arconvert Securepost / MC 90 Phosphor Coated/Cprint 100/ P10P
RA Printing
Printing process
Offset lithography
Stamp size (mm)
26 x 75
Presentation sheetlet size (mm)
170 x 210
13.86 x 14.6
Sheet layout
Module of 5
FDI Postmark
Botany NSW 2109
FDI withdrawal date

Stamps in this issue

Navigation: 55c James Cook and 55c Southern Cross

Cook is fulfilling his commission by the Royal Society of London to observe the transit of Venus across the sun. Above is the constellation of the Southern Cross, used for navigation by Europeans and holding great cultural significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The fifth-brightest star, Ginan, represents a red dilly-bag filled with special songs of knowledge.

Voyages: 55c Endeavour and 55c Map of Australia

The Endeavour sails across the oceans to an island busy with activity. Lines show the routes of Macassan trading ships to the north and 17th-century Dutch visits in the west. The tracks across the continent show how our national highways have been shaped by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trading pathways.

Land: 55c Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture and 55c James Cook, resting

Depicted as an ordinary man rather than as a hero, James Cook is shown resting on a rock after making landfall on the east coast of the continent. The objects he collected, as well as the land’s connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, are referenced by the shield and the culturally appropriate depiction of family and ancestors.

Science and botany: 55c Banksia and 55c Banks and Solander

The Banksia encapsulates the many layers of understanding First Nation Peoples had from studying native plants and animals. This included using the plant as a water filter and needle. Botanist Joseph Banks and naturalist Daniel Solander are shown collecting scientific specimens of the plant, which was later named in honour of Banks.

The journey continues: 55c The Torres Strait and 55c Compass

In late 1770, after achieving its mission of mapping and discovery, the Endeavour departed the continent through the Torres Strait. The ship’s route along the coastline of northern Australia is shown alongside a compass embedded with culture. This represents our search for new ways to navigate our complex history. Only by reflecting on the last 250 years can we navigate our way into the future.

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Set of stamps:

Set of Navigating History: Endeavour Voyage 250 Years gummed stamps

This unusual presentation of the $1.10 stamps sees the denomination halved and placed as design pairs of 55c

Sheetlet pack:

Navigating History: Endeavour Voyage 250 Years sheetlet

The Navigating History: Endeavour Voyage 250 Years sheetlet pack contains the sheetlet of 5 x $1.10 stamps from the stamp issue presented in high quality folder.


Navigating History: Endeavour Voyage 250 Years gummed sheetlet

The gummed sheetlet contains 5 x $1.10 stamps from the Navigating History: Endeavour Voyage 250 Years stamp issue.

Maxicard set:

Set of Navigating History: Endeavour Voyage 250 Years maxicards

This maxicard set contains the five maxicards from the Navigating History: Endeavour Voyage 250 Years stamp issue.

Additional products:

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