Australia 2003 150th Anniversary Murray River Shipping

From Stamps of the World
Australia 2003 150th Anniversary Murray River Shipping 50c a.jpg
  • Issue Date: 5 August 2003
  • Designed by: Belinda Marshall
  • Illustrated by: Craig McGill
  • Printed by: SNP Sprint
  • Print Process: LIthography
  • Dimensions: 37.5mm x 26mm


This issue commemorates 150 years of shipping on the Murray River. The Murray River forms the border between New South Wales and Victoria and flows for 2530 km from the Australian Alps in eastern Australia to Encounter Bay, South Australia. The river was explored during 1853 and the first vessels reached Swan Hill on 17 September of that year.

The set consists of five values showing different paddle steamers that worked on the river including the oldest currently operating wooden-hulled paddle steamer in the world. The vessels featured on the stamps have all been, or are being, restored and can be visited by members of the public.


Sheet Stamps

  • Perforations: 14 x 14¾
  • Format: sheets of 50 (2 panes of 25 separated by printed gutter)

PS Oscar W

50c Paddle Steamer Oscar W

The Oscar W was built in 1908 for normal commercial work on the rivers. It changed hands and purpose several times before being sold and taken to Mildura for tourist day excursions. In 1964 the Oscar W was sold again and restored to a wood burner before being bought by Tourism SA and taken to Goolwa for complete restoration. The vessel is now maintained and operated by the Friends of the Oscar W as a working exhibit at Signal Point River Murray Interpretive Centre in Goolwa.

PS Marion

50c Paddle Steamer Marion

Built in 1897, PS Marion was one of the first paddle steamers to run cruises on the Murray River, and it is now the only original wood-fired paddle steamer with overnight accommodation still operating. Like the Oscar W, Marion has been through changes of ownership and function – including serving as a floating boarding house and a static museum – before returning to its original purpose as a passenger boat. In 1989 the Mannum community and Council decided to restore the boat to its peak condition as a passenger steamer. Today the Marion has cabins, lounges and a dining room, and offers trips under steam throughout the year.

PS Ruby

50c Paddle Steamer Ruby

The PS Ruby, built at Morgan in 1907, was the fourth riverboat of that name on the Murray. This Ruby started carrying passengers in style and comfort and had a second life as a houseboat. By 1968 it had deteriorated substantially. The vessel was purchased by the Wentworth Rotary Club for $1600, towed to Wentworth and placed in a park opposite the wharf. In 1996 Rotary placed the Ruby in the trusteeship of the Wentworth Shire Council. Under the guidance of shipwright Captain Leon Wagner the long work of restoration has begun.

PS Pyap

50c Paddle Steamer Pyap

Built in 1896 at Mannum, the Pyap was a hawking vessel, set up as a shop with a counter, store section and separate drapery at the rear of the lower deck. The Pyap’s shop was on the lower deck. Pots and pans and a wide assortment of domestic and farming gear hung overhead. Further stock was stored on the front deck, protected by canvas. In the 1930s, when river trading had been rendered obsolete, Pyap was used for more ordinary shipping tasks, towing timber laden barges to pumping stations for irrigation schemes. From at least 1971, however, the Pyap has operated as a cruise vessel from the Swan Hill Pioneer Museum.

PS Adelaide

50c Paddle Steamer Adelaide

Built at Echuca in 1866 the Adelaide is the oldest wooden hulled paddle steamer still operating in the world. It was launched, and worked, as a logging boat for about 90 years, towing up to three barges at a time carrying red gum logs from nearby forests to a sawmill at Echuca. Its career ended in the mid-1950s when motor transport took over and the Adelaide lay idle, tied up near the mill until 1958 when it was sold to a sawmiller and taken to South Australia. A community effort brought it back to Echuca in 1960. In 1963 the Adelaide was lifted from the water and placed in Echuca’s Hopwood Gardens, where it stayed for 21 years. In that time the historic port at Echuca had been restored and late in 1980 restoration began on the Adelaide. Today PS Adelaide operates special cruises for enthusiasts from Echuca wharf.

Se-tenant Strip

Se-tenant strip of 5 x 50c

Gutter Strip

Gutter is printed with map of the Murray River.

Gutter strip of 10

Self-adhesive Stamps

  • Perforations: serpentine die cut 11¼ x 11½
  • Formats: booklets of 10 and coils of 100
50c Paddle Steamer Oscar W
50c Paddle Steamer Marion
50c Paddle Steamer Ruby
50c Paddle Steamer Pyap
50c Paddle Steamer Adelaide


$5 booklet cover
Booklet pane of 10 x 50c


Chequebook consists of 20 x $5 booklets.

$100 chequebook cover

Coil Strip

Australia 2003 150th Anniversary Murray River Shipping coil strip.jpg

First Day Covers

The first day of issue postmark was Swan Hill VIC 3585.

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

Prestige Booklet

The 16 page prestige booklet features 20 stamps in five stamp panes. The stamps are in blocks of four of a single design. This single design block configuration is unique to the booklet. The stamp panes are interleaved with panes of text and images. The prestige booklet is a wonderful introduction to the Murray River and the history of steam boats in Australia on the river system.

Prestige booklet front cover
Prestige booklet pane of 4 x 50c PS Oscar W
Prestige booklet pane of 4 x 50c PS Marion
Prestige booklet pane of 4 x 50c PS Ruby
Prestige booklet pane of 4 x 50c PS Pyap
Prestige booklet pane of 4 x 50c PS Adelaide
Prestige booklet back cover

Maximum Cards

50c PS Oscar W maximum card
50c PS Marion maximum card
50c PS Ruby maximum card
50c PS Pyap maximum card
50c PS Adelaide maximum card

Presentation Pack

Presentation pack front cover
Presentation pack of 5 x 50c