2012 Centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition Stamp and Coin Cover


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2012 Centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition Stamp and Coin Cover

This is the second in a four-year program celebrating the centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE), under the command of Douglas Mawson. The AAE left Hobart in December 1911 and returned to Adelaide in February 1914. The series comprises a 20-stamp sheetlet to be released in 2014 and made up of five stamps issued each year until 2014.

The stamps follow the same design style across the four years and feature a combination of images depicting the environment, the men, their work and their lives so that by the conclusion of the series there will be a comprehensive mosaic of this extraordinary feat of exploration. The overarching theme for this year's issue is Arrival & Exploration and focuses on the activities of the AAE undertaken in 1912.

The SY Aurora, carrying the AAE, anchored a mile off Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay in January 1912. Materials and supplies were unloaded and building of the main expedition base began immediately. The Main Hut and outbuildings at Cape Denison were among the fi rst structures to be erected on the continent and are recognised as Historic monuments by the Antarctic Treaty Parties. Another base was established further to the west, leaving 18 men under Commander Douglas Mawson at Cape Denison and an eight-man party under Frank Wild on the Shackleton Ice Shelf. It was from these base camps that the men of the AAE spent two years exploring the frozen continent's unknown interior.

Tragically, two of the three men of the Far Eastern exploratory party, Belgrave Ninnis and Xavier Mertz, died and only Mawson, near death himself, returned. Ninnis, the AAE's dog handler, died on 14 December 1912 when he plunged more than 150 feet into a snow-covered crevasse with a team of six dogs and the sled containing most of the food. His body was never recovered. Mertz, a Swiss national, expert skier and dog handler, died on 8 January 1913 on the harsh journey back to the main camp. Mawson's survival entered Australian folklore. A Memorial Cross, still standing, was erected at the main base in memory of Mertz and Ninnis.

Technical details:

Issue date: 4 September 2012

Issue withdrawal date: 31 March 2013

FDI withdrawal date: 3 October 2012

Denominations: 3 x 60c, 2 x $1.20

Stamp design: Andrew Hogg Design

Product design: Andrew Hogg Design

Printer: RA Printing

Paper - gummed: Tullis Russell

Printing process: Lithography

Stamp size: 26mm x 37.5mm

Minisheet size: 170mm x 85mm

Perforations: 14.6 x 13.86

Sheet layout: Module of 50

National postmark: Kingston, Tas 7050

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