Australia 1999 Small Pond Life

From Stamps of the World
Australia 1999 Small Pond Life d.jpg
  • Issue Date : 1 October 1999
  • Designed by : Cathleen Cram
  • Illustrated by: Kevin Stead
  • Printed by : SNP Ausprint
  • Print Process : Lithography
  • Withdrawal date: 28 February 2000


In these days when the big picture sometimes seems like the only picture, we must take extra care to remind ourselves that small is still beautiful. Small is important too – with such microcosmic environments as the small pond highlighted in this year’s Stamp Collecting Month issue becoming all the more urgent to preserve. These small slices of life are also the small habitats of some of Australia's most appealing natural wildlife.

The creatures living in and around the Small Pond, the theme for Stamp Collecting Month 1999, are intricately linked – be they prey or predators. While the ‘small pond’ illustrated in the Stamp Collecting Month miniature sheet is situated in the Kimberley with its specific frogs and creatures, the scene is representative of ponds across Australia.

Frogs feature dramatically in this Small Pond environment. They can be predators in this small habitat – feasting on the bees, wasps, beetles, bugs, dragonflies and other small, moving prey drawn to the pond – or the prey of other creatures. Birds and snakes are a frog’s worst enemies, and dragonflies are also a threat to survival – eating frogspawn and tadpoles.


Sheet Stamps

  • Format: sheets of 50 (two panes of 25 separated by a gutter)

45c Magnificent Tree Frog Stamp

  • Perforations: 14½ x 14
  • Stamp Size: 26 mm x 37.5 mm

The Magnificent Tree Frog (Litoria splendida) is the largest tree frog in Australia; the head and body are rich green and bear small, scattered sulphur-coloured patches, the backs of the thighs are yellow or orange. It is found in the north-west of Western Australia and the adjacent margin of the Northern Territory. During the day it enters caves and crevices beneath boulders. It breeds early in the wet season – December to January.

45c Magnificent Tree Frog

45c Sacred Kingfisher Stamp

  • Perforations: 14½ x 14
  • Stamp Size: 26 mm x 37.5 mm

Todiramphus sanctus, the Sacred Kingfisher, is a land kingfisher and the most familiar of the smaller Australian kingfishers. It is encountered widely and is usually solitary, only pairing for breeding. Afterwards the birds form family groups for a short period before dispersing in the autumn. Their diet consists mainly of small reptiles, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles and their larvae, and when the birds are near water, fish, frogs and both freshwater and saltwater crustaceans. Sacred Kingfishers spend much of their time perched on small, bare, fairly low branches, sitting very still and occasionally bobbing their heads as they watch for prey, plunging down on to it, grasping it in their bills and flying back up to a perch to eat.

45c Sacred Kingfisher

45c Roth’s Tree Frog Stamp

  • Perforations: 14 x 14½
  • Stamp Size: 30 mm x 25 mm

A mainly tropical frog, Roth’s Tree Frog (Litoria rothii) calls commonly from branches above water in a loud chuckle-like call and often uses pandanus branches as a refuge in arid conditions. The backs of its thighs are predominantly black with a few small yellow or orange patches while part of the iris is a deep wine-red. Breeding takes place between November to March and spawn is deposited in small clumps in temporary pools or ponds.

45c Roth’s Tree Frog

45c Dragonfly Stamp

  • Perforations: 14 x 14½
  • Stamp Size: 30 mm x 25 mm

Brightly coloured and fast-flying dragonflies (Rhyothemis graphiptera) are spectacular insects. The adults are often found near streams, lakes or dams where they chase and catch other insects in acrobatic displays. Dragonflies’ legs are arranged so that they can seize prey such as smaller flying insects in mid-flight. Their wings are membranous, supported by a complex and beautiful lacework of veins. They have existed for millions of years in forms very similar to those we now see. They can twist and turn in flight, changing direction so suddenly that their movements cannot be followed by the eye. This skill is essential for an insect that survives only on prey caught in the air. The surface of each of their huge globular eyes may contain up to ten thousand individual lenses which assists in their remarkable agility in the air and their capacity to catch prey. Their aquatic larvae feed on tadpoles.

45c Dragonfly

50c Javelin Frog Stamp

  • Perforations: 14½ x 14
  • Stamp Size: 25 mm x 30 mm

This frog with a long and sharply pointed snout, is the smallest of the Australian tree frogs. It is tiny, light-bodied and fast-moving, taking off through the air like a well-aimed javelin. The Javelin Frog (Litoria microbelos) is usually found among long grass in marshy areas and around ponds and has a high pitched buzzing call.

50c Javelin Frog

50c Northern Dwarf Tree Frog Stamp

  • Perforations: 14½ x 14
  • Stamp Size: 25 mm x 30 mm

The Northern Dwarf Tree Frog (Litoria bicolor) is a small, slender frog with a narrow head. Mainly green in colour, there is a flash of orange in the groin and thigh. It is a wet dependent species and can be found around permanent or semi-permanent streams in marshy areas from northern Western Australia to Bowen, Northern Queensland. The Dwarf Tree Frog is usually found close to water, often among the foliage like grasses and reeds, by day and night. Occasionally it climbs as high as four metres in trees.

50c Northern Dwarf Tree Frog

Se-tenant Pairs

Se-tenant pair of 45c
Se-tenant pair of 45c
Se-tenant pair of 50c

Self-adhesive Stamps

Booklet Stamps

  • Perforations: 11¼
  • Stamp Size: 25 mm x 30 mm
  • Format: booklets of 10
50c Javelin Frog
50c Northern Dwarf Tree Frog
Booklet pane of 10 x 50c

Coil Stamps

  • Perforations: 11¾
  • Stamp Size: 26 mm x 37.5 mm
  • Format: coils of 100
45c Magnificent Tree Frog
45c Sacred Kingfisher
Coil pair of 45c

Miniature Sheet

  • Perforations: 14½

The creatures featured in the miniature sheet are those in the stamps themselves as well as a Cream-spotted Ichneumon (Echthromorpha intricatoria), Green Tree Ants (Oecophylla smaragdina), a red Dragonfly (Diplacodes haematodes), a caterpillar and a stick insect. A fig tree, waterlilies, Pandanus and grasses complete the scene. Foil has been added to the dragonfly’s wings to give them a shimmering, translucent look. This special foil on the dragonfly wings only appears in the miniature sheet, and not on the regular stamps.

Miniature sheet of 6 values

First Day Covers

The first day of issue postmark was Hoppers Crossing Vic 3029. An official first day cover for the 50c self-adhesive varieties was not produced.

First day cover - sheet stamps
First day cover - self-adhesive stamps
First day cover - miniature sheet

Maximum Cards

45c Sacred Kingfisher maximum card
45c Roth’s Tree Frog maximum card
45c Magnificent Tree Frog maximum card
45c Dragonfly maximum card
50c Javelin Frog maximum card
50c Northern Dwarf Tree Frog maximum card

Presentation Pack

Presentation pack front cover
Presentation pack back cover
Presentation pack of 6 values and miniature sheet