On January 1st, 1901, six British Crown colonies – New South Wales, Queensland, Southern and Western Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria united to form the Commonwealth of Australia. (Today Australia is a self-governing dominion within the British Commonwealth.) Each former colony continued to issue its own stamps until 1913 when the first stamps of Australia appeared. Australia’s first stamp – its famous “Kangaroo and Map” – was the result of a design contest held in 1911. Issued in 1913, it was used for almost 40 years. The rarest Australian stamp is the unissued scarlet two penny King Edward VIII. Only six exist – the rest were destroyed when British monarch Edward abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
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