Australia 2014 – Aurora australis
In August 2014, a year in which auroral activity reached one of its periodic peaks, Australia Post released a set of four stamps titled Southern Lights, featuring photographs taken by local photographers in Tasmania. Tasmania is the most southerly part of Australia and hence the closest to the auroral zone around the south magnetic pole.
The quartet of stamps came in two pairs: one pair with face values of 70c each and the other of $1.40 value each. The image on the 70c stamp at the left was taken by James Garlick in July 2012 at Goats Bluff on the South Arm Peninsula, and the one on the right by Ron Verdouw in June 2013 at Kingston Beach, 10km south of Hobart.
The $1.40 stamps feature images by Luke O’Brien (March 2013 at Coles Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula) and Ron Verdouw again (July 2012 at Margate, on the shores of North West Bay). Curved ‘star trails’ on each stamp are not part of the original photographs; they are artificial and were added by the designer, Lynda Warner of Hobart.
The four stamps were also issued in tête-bêche (head-to-head) arrangement as part of a mini-sheet (below) with a background photograph of the lights seen from Howden, on North West Bay, taken by Jonathan Esling in September 2012.
This was a well-designed and attractive set promoting the work of Tasmanian aurora hunters.