Australia 2004 150th Anniversary of Railways in Australia

From Stamps of the World
Australia 2004 150th Anniversary of Railways in Australia 50ca.jpg
  • Issue Date : 7 September 2004
  • Designed by : Ned Culic
  • Printed by : SNP Sprint
  • Print Process : Lithography
  • Stamp size: 37.5mm x 26mm


This issue commemorates the 150th Anniversary of Australian Railways. The first steam propelled train on a railway, ran between Flinders Street, Melbourne & Sandridge (Port Melbourne) which officially opened on 12 September 1854. Further railways followed in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. Within 25 years, all colonies had some form of railway; New South Wales' first railway, opened in 1855, ran from Sydney to Parramatta; Queensland's first railway was a section of the Ipswich to Toowoomba line and opened in 1865. This was the world's first narrow-gauge mountain railway. The 1890's Gold Rush in Western Australia produced a number of rail lines including the Eastern Goldfields Railway in 1896.


Sheet Stamps

  • Perforations : 14 x 14¾
  • Formats: Sheets of 50 (two panes of 25 separated by printed gutter)

Melbourne – Sandridge 1854 Stamp

The locomotive on the stamp represents one of the four Stephenson 2-4-0 well tanks that commenced running on the Melbourne to Sandridge line from 25 December 1854. The train is represented at Flinders Street station with small ships sailing on the Yarra River in the background.

50c Melbourne to Sandridge 1854

Sydney – Parramatta 1855 Stamp

This stamp depicts Locomotive No. 1, which is regarded as the first locomotive in New South Wales. Although it was under repair on the day of the official opening (26 September 1855) it had been on a trial run transporting passengers from Sydney station to the Long Cove viaduct on 24 May that year. The stamp design is based on the restored Locomotive No. 1 now housed in the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. The locomotive was one of two made by Robert Stephenson and Co. which was shipped from Britain the previous January. The carriages were supplied by Wright and Sons of Birmingham.

50c Sydney to Parramatta 1855

Helidon – Toowoomba 1867 Stamp

The stamp depicts the second section of the Ipswich − Toowoomba railway. This section ran from Helidon through the Great Dividing Range. The second section opened officially on 1 May 1867, just two years after the first section was opened. The second section ran over 46 km and required the building of 47 bridges, many of which were composite structures of iron girders resting on timber piers like the bridge shown in the stamp. The locomotive depicted on the stamp, a B12 class built by Kitson in Leeds in 1875, is representative of the pioneering engines on this line.

50c Helidon to Toowoomba 1867

Kalgoorlie – Port Augusta 1917

The stamp depicts a G class train (from the 1930s) crossing the Nullabor on the transcontinental link. The design reminds us that this line includes the longest straight stretch of railway in the world, 478 km between Ooldea, South Australia and Nurina in Western Australia. The 1682 km track across the desert was completed in five years and opened in 1917. The track was especially significant as it allowed rail networks in other states to link.

Alice Springs – Darwin 2004

Illustrated on this stamp is the passenger locomotive known as “The Ghan” on its first trip through to Darwin in February 2004 In 1929 when the first Ghan left Adelaide for Alice Springs, it was intended that it would one day travel through to Darwin. In 2004 that dream has become reality. The Alice Springs to Darwin rail link opened officially in January 2004.

50c Alice Springs to Darwin line

Se-tenant Strip

Se-tenant strip of 5 x 50c

Gutter Strip

Gutter strip of 10 x 50c plus 5 labels

Self-Adhesive Stamps

  • Perforations : die cut 11¼ x 11½
  • Formats: booklets of 10 and coils of 100
  • Designs are lightened at edges.

Single Stamps

50c Melbourne to Sandridge 1854
50c Sydney to Parramatta 1855
50c Helidon to Toowoomba 1867
50c Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta 1917
50c Alice Springs to Darwin 2004

Coil Strip of 5

Coil strip of 5 x 50c


$5 booklet cover
Chequebook of 20 booklet panes
Booklet pane of 10 x 50c

First Day Covers

The first day of issue postmark was Port Melbourne VIC 3207.

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

Prestige Booklet

The prestige booklet has five stamp panes, each with a block of four x 50c stamps. Each block will feature a single design. These single design blocks are exclusive to the booklets, and each pane’s border will be unique. Interleaved with the stamp panes will be pages of text about, and images of, trains.

Prestige booklet front cover
Prestige booklet back cover
Prestige pane Melbourne to Sandridge line
Prestige pane Sydney to Parramatta line
Prestige pane Helidon to Toowoomba line
Prestige pane Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta line
Prestige pane Alice Springs to Darwin line

Maximum Cards

Maximum card Melbourne to Sandridge line
Maximum card Helidon to Toowoomba line
Maximum card Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta line
Maximum card Alice Springs to Darwin line
Maximum card Sydney to Parramatta line

Presentation Pack

Presentation pack front cover
Presentation pack back cover
Presentation pack of 5 x 50c sheet stamps