A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Friday, January 27, 2017

Western Australia

1865 Scott 34 1sh bright green "Swan"
Wmk 1, Perf 12 1/2
Quick History
Western Australia, which was initially claimed for the British Crown on January 21, 1827, was colonized by settlers with land grants, namely the "free settlement" Swan River Colony, near the present day capital of Perth, in 1829.

Swan River Colony 1831
The first ship (HMS Challenger) to arrive at the Swan River in 1829 was captained by Charles Fremantle.

Swan River Colony grew slowly to 1,500 (~15,000 Aboriginals, but not counted) by 1832, in part because the land was sandy, and considered poor for agriculture. By 1850, the population was 5,800.

Australia 1870
Although the land area of Western Australia was and is huge (fully one third of Australia), settlements occurred primarily along the southwest coast.

The colonial towns were Fremantle (a port), Guildford (loading agricultural produce to be shipped down the Swan River), and Perth (administrative and military center).

Climate Types for Western Australia
Red is Hot Desert
One can perhaps understand the limited settlement patterns if one looks at the climate types found for Western Australia. The large red middle section is hot desert!

Fremantle Convict Prison 1859, Accommodation 870
Watercolor by Henry Wray
In 1849, Perth became a penal colony, and over 9000 convicts were sent there in the next 16 years. They were responsible for much of the building construction.

Penal transportation to Western Australia ceased by 1868.

Stamps (the iconic Swan design) were introduced on August 1, 1854. 

Although Queen Victoria declared the rustic frontier town of Perth a city in 1856, nothing could take away from the fact that the settlements were remote indeed (not only from the world, but also from the rest of Australia).

A telegraph line from Adelaide was completed in 1877, and the weekly Western Mail newspaper began publishing in 1885.

Western Australia 1894
A gold boom occurred between 1885-1895 (Kimberly, Murchison, Kalgoorie regions), and Western Australia achieved responsible government in 1890.

Perth grew to 27,500 by 1901, while the colony numbered 184,100.

Western Australia federated with the other Australian British colonies in 1901, although WA stamps were used through 1912.

1882 Scott 50 2p yellow "Swan"
Wmk 2, Perf 14
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Western Australia 1854-1912, 101 major number descriptions (and 11 "postal-fiscals" which I am not counting). Of those, 40 are CV $1+-$8+, or 40%. Clearly, Western Australia is somewhat expensive for WW collectors. The earlier 1854-1861 issues can be CV hundreds-thousands.

But the "Swan" design motif is so iconic, that many WW collectors do not mind spending more for a representative collection; I know I don't.

As a WW collector, one has to pay attention to details for Western Australia: namely perforations (many varieties), printing (lithography, engraving, typography), watermarking (unwmk and seven wmks), and design (similarities between designs).

And one would also want to have a Stanley Gibbons catalogue handy. (I have the Commonwealth & British Empire 1840-1970 catalogue, which I highly recommend for WW collectors.)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
20 Shillings = 1 Pound
1854 Scott 3 4p blue "Swan"
Imperforate, Lithographed
"Official" with Imperial puncture
In 1854-57, five denomination stamps with the Swan design (which would prove to be a winning motif) were issued, either imperforate, or rouletted. The 1p black was engraved, but the 2p brown/red, 4p blue, 6p bronze, and 1sh pale brown or brown were lithographed.

The 4p lithographic blue (design A3), issued in July, 1854, and shown here, was constructed by Horace Samson, Government Lithographer from the Perkins,Bacon 1p plate  by a "plate to stone" transfer (Block of 60 (5 X 12)), then each frame was erased.  A new lithographic frame, drawn on stone, was transferred 60 times to complete the intermediate stone. Four transfers were taken from the intermediate stone to make up the 240 impression printing stone No. 1. The last printing (the fourth) was done in December, 1855. There are a number of transfer varieties ( SG lists 22), the most interesting, an inverted frame (CV $95,000).

Wmk 82 "Swan" sideways
The watermarked paper shows a "Swan" - sideways (Wmk 82), and is found for the 1854-1861 issues (27 major number stamps).

Now, what about the hole?

Stanley Gibbons states  that Official stamps from August 1. 1862 were punched with a circular hole, earlier- 3mm, later- 4mm. The punching ceased March, 1886.

This is a 3mm punch.

But there is no mention of punching for earlier issues in SG.

I asked the question on Stamp Community Family stamp forum (link here ), and Rod (Rod222) from Perth had the answers!

The 15 bar numeral 8 cancel is Fremantle 1859, and the 4p is known punched, making this use an Official (Imperial puncture).

1861 Scott 21 2p blue, Engraved
Wmk 82 "Swan", Clean-cut Perf 14 to 16
The A1 design from the 1854 issue was used on "Swan" - sideways paper until 1861, and has a number of imperforate/rouletted/perf (& clean-cut and rough cut perf) and color varieties, most given major numbers. Altogether, there are 19 major numbers with the A1 design on "Swan" wmk paper.

The least expensive is CV $45 - the 2p blue shown here (unfortunately, cut into along the bottom). Most are in the $hundreds - $thousands.

1861 Scott 26 1p lake
Unwmk, Perf 13
There were two A1 design stamps - the 1p lake (shown here), and the 6p violet (I have a punched "Official" variety) that were issued unwatermarked in 1861.

The 1p lake is a modest CV $7+.

1865 Scott 33 6p violet
Wmk 1, Perf 12 1/2
Between 1865-1879, a six stamp issue with an A1 design was released, but on Crown Colonies "Crown and C C" watermark (Wmk 1).

These have different colors than the earlier A1 issues and are Perf 12 1/2.

But, one will need to watermark these issues, as the wmk 2 stamps ("Crown and C A") issued later can have identical or similar colors.

Crown Colonies Wmk 1 " Crown and C C"
Crown Agents Wmk 2 "Crown and C A"
To refresh the memory, here are the British Colonial wmk 1 and wmk 2 pics.

I noticed that the Wmk 1 stamps for Western Australia don't always show their watermark well, and one may need to rely also on color and perforation.

1872 Scott 38 4p carmine
Wmk 1, Perf 14
Between 1872-1878, a five stamp A1 design issue was released on Wmk 1 paper, but with perforation 14. The preceding Wmk 1 issue has the same stamp colors, but is Perf 12 1/2.

The CV is $2+-$7+ for four stamps.

1882 Scott 53 3p red brown, Typographed
Wmk 2, Perf 14
In 1882. Wmk 2 paper was used for an engraved A1 issue, found either as Perf 12 (four stamps), or Perf 14 (four stamps). As I noted, one will need to watermark these stamps, as similar Wmk 1 stamps exist.

There was a fifth denomination, a 3p red brown, also released in 1882, but the stamp was typographed. This is shown here.

1884 Scott 55 1/2p on 1p ocher yellow
Perf 12, Surcharged in Red
In 1884, the Wmk 2 1p ocher yellow was surcharged in red as shown. The stamp can be found as either Perf 12 or Perf 14.

1888 Scott 59 1p rose, Engraved
Wmk 2, Perf 14
Three engraved stamps of A1 design, Wmk 2 were issued in 1888, but in new colors.

CV is $2+-$5+ for two stamps.

1890 Scott 67 6p violet, Typographed
Wmk 2, Perf 14
Between 1890-93, a typographed issue of seven stamps was released with four new designs. These are on Wmk 2 paper. Some of the later issue stamps of Western Australia can look identical, save for different watermarks and perforations.

Note the interesting "Ship Letter" marking here.

1890 Scott 68 1sh olive green, Typographed
"Official": "W A" perforated
It is remarkable that there are many examples of perforated (punctured with small holes - "OS", "PWD","WA") official stamps between 1885-1912, yet Stanley Gibbons and Scott do not even acknowledge these with minor numbers. (I'm  not surprised with Scott, which generally would follow the lead of SG.) This is in contrast, with say - Sudan - where perforated officials are given Official major numbers.

I have well over a dozen examples of official use stamps (perforated, most show "OS") that I keep on a supplementary page.

1893 Scott 69 1p on 3p red brown
Wmk 1, Surcharged in Green
In 1893, either the Wmk 1 Scott 40 3p red brown (1872) or the Wmk 2 Scott 53a 3p brown were surcharged "ONE PENNY" in green.

1901 Scott 75 2 1/2p blue, Typographed
Wmk 83 "Crown and W A"
In 1899-1901, a three stamp issue, using "types" of the 1890-93 issue for two stamps, and a new A15 design (shown here) was produced.

 A significant change is that watermark "Crown and W A" (Wmk 83) paper was used.

Upper Left: Wmk 82 "Swan" sideways
Upper Right: Wmk 83 "Crown and W A"
Lower Left: Wmk 70 "V and Crown"
Lower Right: Wmk 13 "Crown and Double-lined A"
Shown here are some more watermarks that we have seen, or will see. ;-)

1902 Scott 77b (SG 136) 2p yellow
Wmk 70, Perf 12 1/2 x 11
Between 1902-1905 (actually 1906), a new twelve stamp issue was produced using ten new designs and two previous designs from 1890-93.

The issue was on Wmk 70 "V and Crown" paper. CV is $1-$10+ for seven stamps.

Usual perforation is Perf 12 1/2 or 12 X 12 1/2, but other minor number perfs exist.

I found in my collection this Scott 77b (SG 136) yellow with apparent Perf 12 1/2 X 11. The perforation variety catalogues for $1,100!! Clearly, I need to send this in for a cert. to determine authenticity.

1906 Scott 84 2sh orange red/yellow
"Victoria", Wmk 70
Another stamp from the 1902 -1906 issue is the 2sh orange red/yellow "Victoria". After seeing so many "swans", it is a bit jarring to see the queen. ;-)

I assume "P,P." is for "Parcel Post"?

1905 Scott 93 4p orange brown
Wmk 13
Between 1905-1912, a ten stamp issue on wmk 13 "Crown and Double-lined A" paper was released. The designs are all from previous issues, and the colors are the same/similar also. So, get out the watermarking tray!

1907 Scott 100 1sh olive green 
Wmk 83, Perf 14
A two stamp new design (A26, A27) issue using Wmk 83 "Crown and W A" paper was released in 1906-07 with perforation 14.

There is a similar two stamp set produced in 1912, but with Perf 11 1/2 X 12, and on Wmk 74 "Crown and Single-lined A" paper. ( I don't show an example of Wmk 74 here, but Scott has a good illustration in their catalogue.)

1912 Scott 103 1p on 2p yellow
Wmk 13, Perf 12 1/2
The last "regular issue" for this blog post, as well as the last stamp issued for Western Australia on November 6, 1912, is on a 1905 2p yellow (Wmk 13) stamp, and is  surcharged "ONE PENNY".

CV is $2.
1886 Scott AR2 1p bister "Victoria"
Wmk 1; "Postal-Fiscal"
Now we come to the "Postal-Fiscals". They are basically Fiscal stamps (Revenues) that were authorized for postal use for a period of time. I'm not particularly interested in the category, and don't collect them actively.

Scott has a note: "Beware of stamps with pen cancellations  removed, and fake postmarks added".

The postal use of this 1p telegraph stamp was authorized beginning October 25, 1886.

1882 Scott AR9 3p purple
Wmk 83; "Postal-Fiscal"
These 1882 types of stamps, either with Wmk 2 or Wmk 83, were authorized for postal use September 5, 1893 (Post and Telegraph Act).

They were invalidated for postal use January 1, 1901.

Deep Blue
1890-93 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has seven pages for the stamps of Western Australia. All the major Scott numbers have a space, with a minor exception.

The minor exception is the  "postal-fiscals" (eleven stamps) do not have a space in my Steiner classical page group. Since I'm not real interested in this category, I'm not that concerned about this. I have accumulated some "postal fiscals", however, so I have them on a supplementary page.

And also, no doubt, the collector will accumulate some "officials", which curiously SG does not give any separate catalogue numbers for (and less curiously, neither does Scott). These perforated official specimens deserve their own supplementary page.

1902 Scott 83 10p red "Swan"
Wmk 70, Perf 12 1/2
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page, has 27 spaces for the stamps of Western Australia. Coverage is 27%.

Big Blue's coverage begins with 1865, and there are often multiple stamps that are eligible for a space.

Because BB begins with 1865, the 1854-1861 stamps (29 major numbers - "Swan" wmk) are not represented.  But, truth be told, these early stamps are expensive.

There are only four stamps over CV $10+, one (1888 Scott 61 4p red brown) of which reaches the "most expensive" category @ $37+.

The checklist, because of the telescoped stamp spaces, is somewhat complicated. Some spaces have multiple choices (up to seven!), while other spaces exclude possibly eligible stamps because of BB's date specifications.


Half penny (Illus): 58,
One Penny (Illus): 29 or 30 or 35 or 36 or 44 or 49 or 54,
2p yellow: 31 or 37 or 46 or 50,
Three Pence (Illus): 40 or 53,
6p violet: 33,

1889 (Actually 1888)




77 or 91,79 or 93,80 or 94,81 or 95,82 or 96,83* or 97,(76 or 90),



A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1865 Scott 33 6p violet ($10+)
1888 Scott 61 4p red brown ($37+)
1902 Scott 83 10p red ($10+)
1905 Scott 94 5p olive bister ($10+)
B) *1865-85 - Because of BB's dates, some possibly eligible stamps are excluded from the checklist.
C) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
D) *1890-93 - - Because of BB's dates, some possibly eligible stamps are excluded from the checklist.
E) *1902-12: choices are wmk 70 vs wmk 13
F) *83 is 10p "red"($10+). BB's color specification is "red orange", which Scott 97 ($35) is. But, because Scott 83 is eligible under BB's date specification, and the fact that it is a lot less expensive, I included it. 

1902 Scott 85 2sh6p dark blue/rose "Victoria"
Wmk 70, Perf 12 1/2
"Official": "O S" Perforated
Out of the Blue
One of my major regrets when we visited Australia for six weeks in 2007 is that we never got to Perth.

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

Have a comment?


  1. Did any 1882 2p yellow swan issued 12 x 12 3/4 per with multiple crown?

    1. The short answer is no as far as I can tell. I'm afraid you do not give adequate information - do you actually mean the 1882 2p yellow issued in perf 12 or perf 14? Or do you mean the 1902-05 and 1905-12 2p yellow that can have various 12+ perfs? A standard catalogue should show you the watermarks possible and none are "multiple crown".

  2. yes ,it is ocher yellow 2p swan , i can't tell from which year,possible from 1884 and perfs 12+ and upright double crown.how can i send you an image from the back?

    1. None Publish.
      I have found some information from Stampboards about the watermarks, but i can't find which one i have because i can only see 2 crown 1 left and 1 right with no CC or CA .perf 12 x 12 1/2. so i need some help .if you know Allan from this Site,I had contact with him about some News Zealand stamps (HMS Vanguard).i had also mail some stamps to him.
      Best regards Christopher.

    2. Christopher - Well, if you cannot tell if it is Wmk 1 or Wmk 2, because you don't have the CC or CA visible, the only hope is the shape of the crown, which can be a bit different between Wmk 1 and Wmk 2.

  3. How much is the coat of arms one cent stamp worth