This morning the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a future king. Kate and William’s as yet unnamed baby is not just the future King of England though – he is also the future King of Australia. Few Australians would think of us as having a King or Queen, but we do. The Royalist vs Republican issue in Australia has about as much energy as sloth in a marathon. It is so slow that Australians have almost lost any sense that we do have a monarch and we do love to follow the lives of the British Royals!
Interestingly, 2013 is the centenary of the first Australian stamp. No, I am not off topic! This stamp was at the centre of a 25 year long Royalist vs Republican stand off!
On 2 January 1913 the then Labor Government’s Postmaster General, Charles Frazer, released the first ever Australian stamp. What was on it was seen as outrageous by some. Gone was the traditional head of the King and in his place was a map of Australia along with the image of a kangaroo. In June 1913 Labor was toppled in a federal election. The new Liberal government’s Postmaster-General, Agar Wynne, announced the kangaroo stamp would be replaced by a more fitting stamp that featured English King George V’s head. Frazer was incensed saying “A postage stamp is one of the best advertising mediums the country can have!”, arguing that an Australian stamp with a British monarch doesn’t represent Australia. (source On this day in history: Australia’s first stamp released.) In December 2013 the King George stamp was released to the public. However, both series of stamps, the true blue Aussie Kangaroo vs King George V, continued to be printed for 25 years side by side up until 1938 when both series were replaced (except for the 2 shilling Kangaroo stamp which remained until 1948.
So, the debate trickles on … sort of! Do you think this baby is the future King of Australia? Do Australian’s really care?
|The defiant 1913 Republican Stamp!||Royalist 1913 King George V stamp!|