I regularly feel the need to moan about the extremely numerous new issues emanating from Australia Post but its latest issues due on 9 September 2015 score very highly with me. The first is titled "The dogs that saved Macquarie Island" and is issued with the name of Australian Antarctic Territory printed on the stamps and is extremely appealing to dog enthusiasts as well as those who like to collect stamps depicting penguins or birds in general.
The issue draws attention to the role played by specially trained dogs in helping to eliminate introduced non-native species which were threatening the native local creatures of Macquarie Island. The programme involving the dogs eliminated all the feral cats on the island and then 12 "rabbit-detector" dogs including springer spaniels, Labradors and terriers were used to eliminate rats and rabbits from the islands. This UNESCO World Heritage site is now free of the devastation-causing pests for the first time in 100 years.
Some of the fine dogs are featured on the 4 stamps as well as the miniature sheet which contains all 4 designs. The designs also depict penguins which are among the native species whose survival has been helped by the work of the dogs and their handlers. A great set! Rating:-*****.
The set was designed by Simone Sakinofsky and lithographed by R A Print. My only question about this issue is why, if Macquarie Island is politically part of Tasmania, is the issue inscribed "Australian Antarctic Territory" when it is not part of that territory? Surely it should be a straight-forward "Australia" issue. Perhaps the presence of penguins in the design is thought to justify this as an issue of the AAT.
In Blog 625 I included illustrations of Australia Post's $19.95 "Long May She Reign" stamps also to be issued on 9 September 2015 along with a "prestige booklet" some of the details of which are depicted below. I have long given up collecting prestige booklets from Australia since they appear so frequently but I suppose this historic occasion is worthy of commemoration with a special item and this particular prestige booklet appears to be rather interesting. See also Blog 622.