Australia 2003 Nature of Australia - Rainforests Definitives

From Stamps of the World
Australia 2003 Flora & Fauna Definitives a.jpg
  • Designed by: Wayne Rankin
  • Printed by: SNP Sprint
  • Print Process: Lithography
  • Stamp size: 30mm x 25mm


This stamp issue introduces the rainforest habitat to the Nature of Australia definitive series. All of the stamps feature subjects found in the Daintree region of the Wet Tropics in Queensland.

Less than half a percent of the Australian continent is rainforest, and all of it lies in strips and patches in either Tasmania or along the east coast of the continent. All the areas receive high rainfall, over 1300 millimetres a year, with the wet tropical rainforests of Queensland receiving the most, between 2000 – 4000 millimetres a year.

Queensland’s Wet Tropics region lies between Townsville and Cooktown, on the north-east coast. The region includes rugged mountain ranges with deep ravines, rapidly flowing rivers and many waterfalls. In the heart of the region is Daintree National Park. Established in 1967, the park occupies 760 km² – the largest of Australia’s remaining rainforest wilderness.

The Wet Tropics region is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. It supports 64% of Australia’s fern species, 46% of its frogs, 58% of its butterflies and 48% of its bird species. In 1988 Queensland’s Wet Tropics were inscribed on the World Heritage List, on the basis of its outstanding natural values.


$1.45 Blue Orchid (Dendrobium nindii)

  • Issue Date: 11 February 2003
  • Perforations: 14 x 14½
  • Gum: PVA
  • Format: sheets of 50

This epiphytic orchid’s large blue-purple flowers – which can grow up to 6 cm in diameter – are among the most attractive of Australian orchid blooms. The blue orchid prefers full sunlight, and can be found high in rainforest trees of the hot, humid lowlands in the narrow coastal strip between Innisfail and Cooktown. The loss of its preferred coastal habitat means this beautiful orchid is also one of Australia’s rarest epiphytic species. Epiphytes grow on a host plant, using the host for support, not for nutrients.

$1.45 - Blue Orchid

50c Stamps

  • Issue Date: 8 July 2003

Sheet Stamps

  • Perforations: 14 x 14½
  • Gum: PVA
  • Format: sheets of 50
Orange-thighed Tree Frog (Litoria xanthomera)

This beautiful, bright green tree frog is characterised by the brilliant orange on its flanks and throat, and the hindside of its thighs.

50c Orange-thighed Tree Frog
Green-spotted Triangle Butterfly (Graphium agamemnon ligatum)

A butterfly of the lowland rainforest, this is one of four Australian swallowtails known as ‘triangles’ because of their distinctive wing shape. These brilliantly coloured butterflies are in constant movement, fluttering from bloom to bloom.

50c Green-spotted Triangle Butterfly
Striped Possum (Dactylopsila trivirgata)

This small, nocturnal and agile possum stabs and gouges away bark and rotten wood on trunks, limbs and fallen logs in search of the wood-boring grubs and other insects that form its principal diet.

50c Striped Possum
Yellow-bellied Sunbird (Nectarinia jugularis)

These active, tiny birds have long curved bills and protrusile brush-tipped tongues which they dip into flowers. Nectar and spiders are their staple diet and the birds are constantly on the move to find them. The female’s underparts are entirely yellow whereas the adult male has a brilliant metallic blue throat.

50c Yellow-bellied Sunbird
Se-tenant Block
Se-tenant block of 4 x 50c

Self-adhesive Stamps

  • Perforations: serpentine die cut 11¼, simulated 12¾ (Pemara coils)
  • Gum: self-adhesive
  • Format: booklets of 10 and 20; coils of 100 and 200

The coils of 200 were printed by Pemara Labels.

Single Stamps
SNP Sprint Printing
50c Orange-thighed Tree Frog
50c Green-spotted Triangle Butterfly
50c Striped Possum
50c Yellow-bellied Sunbird
Pemara Labels Printing
50c Orange-thighed Tree Frog
50c Green-spotted Triangle Butterfly
50c Striped Possum
50c Yellow-bellied Sunbird
$5 booklet cover
$10 booklet cover
Booklet pane of 10 x 50c
Coil Strips
SNP coil strip of 4 x 50c
Pemara coil strip of 4 x 50c
$100 chequebook of 20 booklet panes

First Day Covers

The first day of issue postmark was Mossman QLD 4873.

First day cover - $1.45 stamp
First day cover - 4 x 50c sheet stamps
First day cover - 4 x 50c self-adhesive stamps

Maximum Cards

$1.45 Blue Orchid maximum card
50c Orange-thighed Tree Frog maximum card
50c Green-spotted Triangle Butterfly maximum card
50c Yellow-bellied Sunbird maximum card
50c Striped Possum maximum card

Presentation Pack

Presentation pack front cover
Presentation pack back cover
Presentation pack of 5 values