Australian States – Queensland







Quick reference

General issues: British colony/Self government 1860-1901, Australian state 1901-1913

Country name on general issues: Queensland

Currency: 1 Pound = 20 Shilling, 1 Shilling = 12 Pence 1860-1913

Population: 18 500 in 1856, 605 000 in 1911

Political history Queensland

Postal history Queensland

Please click on the image to enlarge

Queensland is located in northeast Australia. Prior to colonization, the Queensland mainland was inhabited by Aboriginal peoples, who lived in small bands. The islands in the Torres Strait were inhabited by the Torres Strait Islanders – a people of Melanesian origin. The Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon was the first European to explore the coast of Queensland in 1606. The Dutch, however, did not claim Queensland. In 1770, the British explorer James Cook explored the Australian east coast, including Queensland, and claimed eastern Australia for Great Britain as New South Wales. The colony of New South Wales was formally established in 1788 – then including Queensland.

In 1824, the first settlement in Queensland was established near the present Brisbane. This first settlement was a penal colony – as were most of the early settlements in Australia. Free settlement was allowed from 1842. Settlers first came from earlier settlements to the south, in today’s New South Wales. From 1849, the first immigrants arrived directly from the British Isles to Queensland. As settlements expanded, the settlers came into conflict wih the Aboriginal population. The confrontation was more intense in Queensland than in other parts of Australia. Eventually, the Aboriginal people would be all but decimated in the so called ‘Frontier Wars’.

Queensland was established as a separate colony in 1859. In 1879, Queensland annexed the islands in the Torres Strait. In 1884, the southeastern part of New Guinea was annexed to forestall German annexation. The British, however, took over New Guinea from Queensland in the following year to establish the colony of British New Guinea. In 1901, Queensland joined the federal dominion of Australia – officially the Commonwealth of Australia. During WWII, Queensland was a target of the Japanese air force – and a major staging ground for Allied operations in the Pacific theater of war. Queensland is an Australian state until today.

Around 1900 Queensland was a predominantly agricultural state. Here wheat is being planted with horse drawn wheat planters.

Around 1900 Queensland was a predominantly agricultural state. Here wheat is being planted with horse drawn wheat planters.

Economically, the first activity to be developed was the production of wool, soon to be followed by cattle farming. Gold was found, in 1858, and led to a gold rush. Although on a much smaller scale than in New South Wales and Victoria, the gold rush attracted more immigrants and the economy boomed until the late 19th century. In the late 19th century agriculture was diversified to include sugar cane production, wheat production, and dairy farming. Mining – other than gold, mainly coal – was also developed in the late 19th century. Manufacturing was developed in the 20th century, but has remained limited, with a focus on first stage processing of the available natural resources. In the second part of the 20th century, services have developed to become the most important sector in today’s Queensland economy – tourism being a leading sub sector with the Great Barrier Reef as a major attraction. Queensland is the third state in Australia in terms of GDP.

The Aboriginal peoples, in modern day Queensland, account for 3% of the population. Immigrants, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, came predominantly from neighboring Australian states and from the British Isles. Population growth would remain moderate until the 1970’s, when immigration numbers surged – both interstate immigration and immigration from abroad. Queensland, today, is the third most populous state in Australia.

Postal history Queensland

Postal history Queensland

1903 – Issued to commemorate the establishment of the Australian Commonwealth.

The first stamps used in Queensland were the issues of New South Wales. These were superseded by the issues of Queensland in 1860. The first Queensland issue is of the ‘Chalon Heads’ type, engraved after a portrait of Queen Victoria by Alfred Edward Chalon. The Chalon Head type is a frontal view portrait – to my knowledge the only frontal view portrait of Queen Victoria used for definitives.[1]For more about the Chalon Heads, please refer to the profile of Nova Scotia. Chalon Heads were issued with a number of different frames until 1886.  From 1879, more common profile view portraits were used. All stamps issued by Queensland show portraits of Queen Victoria. Subsequent to Queensland’s entry in the Second Boer War, in 1900, stamps were issued to support the Patriotic Fund – a fund set up to assist those serving in the army.  The stamps were issued in denominations of one and two pence, but sold for one and two shillings respectively. In 1903, a stamp was inscribed ‘Commonwealth’ to reflect the establishment of the Australian Commonwealth – of the six Australian states, only New South Wales has issued a similar stamp. The stamps of Queensland were superseded by the issues of the Commonwealth in 1913.

Stamps of Queensland were used in British New Guinea between 1884 and 1891, after annexation of south eastern New Guinea by first Queensland and then Great Britain.

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