Australia 2000 Centenary of Australia's 1st Victoria Cross Award
- Issue Date: 24 July 2000
- Designed by: Cathleen Cram
- Printed by: McPherson's Printing
- Print Process: Lithography
- Perforations: 14½ x 14
- Stamp Size: 26 mm x 37.5 mm
- Format: sheets of 50 (two panes of 25 separated by printed gutter)
- Withdrawal date: 31 July 2001
This se-tenant strip of five 45c stamps commemorates the Centenary of the First Australian Victoria Cross Award. The stamps feature images of Sir Neville Howse, the first Australian to be awarded the Victoria Cross, the three living Australian Victoria Cross recipients, Sir Roden Cutler, Edward Kenna and Keith Payne and the Victoria Cross medal. The Australian War Memorial recognises 96 Australian servicemen to have received the Victoria Cross since 1900. Australians have received Victoria Crosses for their actions in locations across the world, from the jungles of Borneo to the forests of North Russia. Six were won during the Boer War, 64 during World War I, two in the North Russian campaign of 1919, 20 during World War II and four in the Vietnam War.
45c Sir Neville Howse Stamp
Captain Neville Howse of the New South Wales Army Medical Corps was awarded his Victoria Cross on 24 July 1900 for his actions in a battle at Vredefort, Orange Free State, South Africa. Captain Howse retrieved an injured soldier under heavy fire which included his own horse being shot and killed. He is the only member of an Australian medical unit to receive the Victoria Cross.
45c Sir Roden Cutler Stamp
Lieutenant Arthur Roden Cutler with the 2/5th Field Regiment, 2nd Australian Imperial Force was awarded his Victoria Cross for his actions between 16 June to 6 July 1941, during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign of the Second World War at the Battles of Merdjayoun and Damour.
45c Victoria Cross Stamp
The Victoria Cross was instituted in 1856 by Queen Victoria and made retrospective to the autumn of 1854 to cover operations of the British Army and the Royal Navy during the Crimean War. The award was for those officers or other ranks who, in the presence of the enemy, have performed ‘some signal act of valour or devotion to their country’. The conditions were extended to cover colonial forces on 1 January 1867. The Victoria Cross has evolved into the supreme decoration for gallantry in battle awarded to members of Commonwealth forces.
The medal is in the form of a Maltese cross and has a crowned lion, the emblem of the British royal family, in the centre. The words ‘For Valour’ are engraved beneath the lion. When worn the medal is attached to a simple crimson ribbon. The recipient’s personal details are engraved in capital letters on the back of the suspender bar and the date(s) of his act(s) of gallantry are cut into the circle on the reverse side of the medal. A Victoria Cross recipient’s name is entered into a special register and he is entitled to place the letters ‘VC’ after his name. The award takes precedence over all others. It is positioned to the left of any medal group (from the viewer’s perspective).
45c Edward Kenna Stamp
Private Edward Kenna with the 2/4th Battalion, 2nd Australian Imperial Force was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 15 May 1945, near Wewak, New Guinea during World War II. Private Kenna's platoon was ordered to take out a Japanese bunker. The platoon came under fire from an undiscovered machine gun. As Ted Kenna saw some of his comrades fall wounded, he fired his Bren gun at this new threat but was unable to hit it. To get a better shot he rose in full view of the enemy and fired until out of ammunition. The enemy’s fire was so accurate that bullets, the citation states, ‘actually passed between his arms and his body’. Unable to put the bunker out of action with his Bren gun, Kenna called for a rifle and, still in full view, managed to kill the enemy gunner with his first shot. When another tried to take this man’s place. Kenna shot him with his next round.
45c Keith Payne Stamp
Warrant Officer Class II Keith Payne with the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 24 May 1969, in Kon Tum Province, South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
The names of the 96 Australian Victoria Cross recipients are printed in the gutter strip.
First Day Covers
The first day of issue postmark was Orange NSW 2800.