Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New frog stamp from Australia

I recently had the opportunity to discuss with other topical (or thematic) collectors. We have exchanged some information about our respective collections. One of the question that popped up was: what is the country that has issued the highest number of stamps that fall into our topic. For frog and toad stamps, I must admit that I was not really able to answer directly. I'm still not able, since I did not compute precisely the number of stamps per country. But I would hesitate between South Africa (South Africa is helped by the fact that its postal administration has issued a sheet of 10 stamps picturing frogs in 2000!) and Australia, one of the rare countries that have issued definitive stamps picturing frogs. It is not very surprising when you know that there are more than 200 frog species in Australia!

Again, very recently, the Australian post has issued a stamp picturing one of my favourite animal. It is a part of a set of two stamps issued on the 6th of June 2009 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the creation of Queensland.

Queensland is a state of Australia which is located on the north east of the mainland continent. It was declared an indepedant state, separated from New South Wales in 1859. Queen Victoria signed a document establishing the new colony of Queensland on the 6th of JUne 1859, and later, on the 10th of December 1859 the creation of the state was officially proclaimed by the first Governor Sir George Ferguson Bowen. The state is nammed Queensland in honour of Queen Victoria.

Here is the first stamp of the set.

It pictures the Queensland Parliament house located in Brisbane, the capital of the state. Parliament did not sit there until August 1868, even though it was established on the day Queensland was proclamied. The stamp also underlines the importance of rural life in this state by the presence of a windmil, and the outback is illustrated by the red sands at the bottom of the stamp. Also on the left top border can be read "Waltzing Matilda", the title of a very famous a popular song composed in 1895 that has become, among other things, an anthem for the rugby games played at home!

The second stamp of the set is the one picturing the frog.

The main image of the stamp pictures the well known Great Barrier Reef, which is the largest natural reef and among the first World Heritage sites of Australia. This reef attracts tourists from all over the world and is therefore a major element in Queensland economy.
The stamp also pictured a Litoria chloris, commonly nammed Red-eyed tree frog, which is a frog species native to eastern Australia (Red-eyed tree frog is also the comon name of another frog species : Agalychnis callidryas, which is very often pictured on stamp). This very colourful and very attractive frog has the particularity that its skin secretions have been found to destroy HIV without harming the healthy T cells! The same has been found for the White's Tree Frog, but the Red-eyed tree frog produces it in larger quantity.

This frog species has been already pictured several times on stamps: on stamps from Angola, Mali, Antigua and Micronesia but this the first time it is pictured on an Australian stamp. A very similar species, the Orange-thighed Frog (Litoria xantheroma) has been pictured on a definitive stamp isued by Australian post in 2003.

I really enjoy this set of stamps issued by Australia, and not only because there is a frog on it ;-) I think they really illustrate a subject which is specific to Australia, not like the other numerous stamps issued by this country!

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