Australia 2001 Outback Services

From Stamps of the World
Australia 2001 Outback Services a.jpg
  • Issue Date: 5 June 2001
  • Designed by: Lynda Warner
  • Printed by: SNP Ausprint
  • Print Process: Lithography
  • Stamp Size: 37.5 mm x 26 mm
  • Withdrawal date: 30 June 2002


Communication, transportation, health and education. These basic services are easy to take for granted, unless you live in outback Australia. In the remote reaches of Australia – where on average, there is less than one person per square kilometre – your nearest neighbours can be hundreds of kilometres away.

In outback Australia, physical isolation is a defining characteristic of life. Helping to overcome this isolation is the shared aim of the diverse services highlighted in this stamp issue. The release coincides with the week in which the School of the Air will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

At least three images were used for each stamp:

  • a single sweeping panoramic image symbolically represents outback Australia on the five stamps
  • a pictorial image representative of the service
  • a distinctive graphic icon


Sheet Stamps

  • Perforations: 14 x 14½
  • Format: sheets of 50 (two panes of 25 separated by gutter with printed design)

45c Telecommunications Stamp

Today a mix of optical fibre, copper, radio and satellite systems deliver services to rural and remote Australia. Yet access to a fixed home telephone remains the single most important telecommunications service to people who live in remote areas.

The stamp shows a towering structure rising from the vast landscape of outback Australia. These guyed masts, commonly reaching 100 metres above the surrounding terrain, are vital to the technology that links people who live and work throughout remote Australia.

The towers, and the microwave radio antenna mounted on them, were first installed to provide automatic telephone services in the mid-1980s. Many have since been upgraded to meet the growing demand for fax and internet services for homes, schools and businesses.

45c Telecommunications

45c Transport Stamp

The ability to move people and goods between locations is fundamental to an advanced economy. Like most aspects of life, transport underwent tremendous change during the century just past. Today social and commercial needs are met by a mix of railways, roads, airports and ports that link remote Australia with its more populated commercial centres.

Road trains, such as the one shown on the stamp are a familiar sight in rural Australia. It represents one of about a half million heavy transport vehicles that travel the Australian road network. The network carries 65% of Australia’s freight tonnage, another 25% is shipped by rail.

The 18,500 kilometre National Highway is the principal network of inter-capital freight routes that also serves many provincial cities and rural towns. An estimated 56 commuter airports are strung along its length and it passes through 21 cities and towns containing a sea port. The graphic icon can be seen as a road, rail, air strip, or pier.

45c Transport

45c School of the Air Stamp

On 8 June 2001, one of the handful of institutions instantly associated with Australia, the School of the Air, will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

From its early days offering three sessions per week, the school’s programme has grown to control its own radio frequency with teachers broadcasting from two studios in the purpose-built school. Teachers also travel thousands of kilometres each year visiting every one of their students. Although today’s lessons might include televised content (since 1992) or research on the World Wide Web (since 1995), radio remains the single most important tool for daily interaction and for involving whole classes or even entire schools.

The stamp features a young girl using the radio in the course of her study.

45c School of the Air

45c Postal Services Stamp

Delivering postal services to outback Australia is a challenging task, thanks in no small part to the geography and widely dispersed population. Every weekday some 19 million mail articles wheel or wing their way across the continent, funnelled through a network of mail and parcel centres. More than a quarter of that load is to or from the scattered stations, rural communities and offshore islands that make up outback Australia.

Despite telephones and more recent forms of electronic communication, mail services remain crucial to remote communities. The size of the rural mailbox pictured on the stamp is an indicator of the importance of mail services to outback Australians. It’s common for people in isolated locations to do their shopping by mail order. And deliveries to remote cattle stations might be via a weekly visit from the mail plane delivering mail, supplies, educational materials, and a little human contact.

45c Postal Services

45c Royal Flying Doctor Service Stamp

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is a not-for-profit charitable service providing aeromedical emergency and primary health care services to people who live, work and travel in regional and remote Australia. The plane and ambulance pictured on the stamp are vital to the delivery of these services.

Established in 1928, the RFDS developed on a national basis in the 1930s. It was the first comprehensive aerial medical organisation in the world and remains unique for the range of primary health care and emergency services it provides. The RFDS was founded by Reverend John Flynn of the Australian Inland Mission, the ‘bush department’ of the Presbyterian Church.

Today the RFDS operates from 20 bases, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Nobody is more than two hours away from medical help. In addition to its emergency service, the RFDS transfers outback patients between hospitals and home, runs a regular program of field clinics in remote areas. It holds radio clinics and radio consultations, and provides medical chests to isolated locations.

The RFDS also provides communication services for the children and teachers of the School of the Air. On average 40 per cent of RFDS patient contact throughout Australia is with Aboriginal people.

45c Royal Flying Doctor Service

Se-tenant Strip

Se-tenant strip of 5 x 45c

Gutter Strip

The five graphic icons are printed in the gutter.

Gutter strips of 10 x 45c plus 5 labels

Self-adhesive Stamps

  • Perforations: 11¾ (booklet stamps), 11¼ (coil stamps)
  • Formats: booklets of 10, coils of 100

Single Stamps

45c Telecommunications
45c Transport
45c School of the Air
45c Postal Services
45c Royal Flying Doctor Service


$4.50 booklet cover
Booklet pane of 10 x 45c

Coil Strip

Coil strip of 5 x 45c

First Day Covers

The first day of issue postmark was Alice Springs NT 0870.

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

Maximum Cards

45c Telecommunications maximum card
45c Transport maximum card
45c School of the Air maximum card
45c Postal Services maximum card
45c Royal Flying Doctor Service maximum card

Presentation Pack

Presentation pack front cover
Presentation pack - 5 x 45c sheet stamps