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Official opening by Ian Sinclair



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OFFICIAL OPENING BY RT. HON. IAN SINCLAIR, MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS, OF THE' SECOND NATIONAL PHILATELIC CONVENTION AT CANBERRA ON SATURDAY, 6TH MARCH, 1982, AT 9.30 A.M.

It is appropriate that this important Convention is being held at this

time, . . for it also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the

Philatelic Society of Canberra. '

What this Convention brings together is both the trade and Australia

Post offering the opportunity for collectors and all those interested

in philately a chance to view a.:display. of stamps and of postal .

history. , as well as a national philatelic competition ..

I understand there is also to be a philatelic workshop and there will

be talks and films on a range of subjects over the next two days.

It is difficult to gauge just how wide an involvement there is

amongst the Australian people in the engrossing business and hobby^.. -

of stamp collecting. .

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Australia Post, for example, has a mailing list of over 300,000 for

its Australian Stamp Bulletin, and another 250,000 for its Junior

Stamp Preview, both of which publications are circulated on a request

basis and therefore giving an indication of just how many around

Australia and overseas wish to hear news of new issues and matters

of postal history. .

The trade estimates that somewhere between 1 million and lh million ' ' · J ■

Australians have, as they put it, "an interest in philately".

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The stamp trade, like most businesses, is cautious about revealing

turnover but it'is obviously a multimillion dollar business because

it supports more than 300 dealers around the country.

Australia Post itself, in 1980/81, sold over $33 million worth of

new stamps through its various philatelic marketing endeavours.

Another indication of the depth of interest in our stamps is taking

place at present with the sale of the first volume of one year's

stamp issues, that is, all the new Australian stamps for calendar

year 1981. ' ·

This is for sale at $23 a volume and already the first run of 150,000

has nearly sold out and the second print run of another 150,000 will

be on the market shortly, and the interest generated indicates that

all 300,000 copies will find homes in collections here and abroad.

Australia Post has also played a considerable part in promoting

interest in philately through its involvement in the Australia

Stamp Promotion Council which was set up with its assistance in

1974 and includes representatives of collectors and.of the trade

as well as Australia Post.

It has active Councils in each of the States as well as on a national

basis and is considered by the trade as being a successful and

worthwhile endeavour.

Its major promotion this year will be the annual National Stamp Week

exhibition to be held in Brisbane, and at other times it is actively

engaged in research into all the aspects of philately and of course

encouragement not only of collecting but of general public interest.

Here today we are witness to the Philatelic Society's involvement

in both the hobby and trading side of stamp collecting.

For my part I am encouraged by Australia Post's activities in

philately. It is a little more than 30 years ago that the Australian

Post Office set up its philatelic section and a. couple of..years

later opened its philatelic bureaus in the capital city G.P.O.'s.

Some idea of the growth of interest generated by: these., moves can

be gained from the fact that in early years sales were ranged

between 56,000 pounds to .125,000 pounds per year, depending on

the number of new issues and the values of new stamps.

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This demand has grown as I mentioned before to around $33 million

annually.

Both in its days as the Australian Post Office and in the past

six and a half years as the Postal Commission, there has clearly

been a sustained effort to improve philatelic services and to

especially upgrade existing items of philatelic stationery.

One especially pleasing area is the encouragement of an interest

in philately among children, both through the publication of the

Junior Stamp Preview and through promotions aimed at developing

the junior collector market.

There are two innovations in this area this year, these are: a

competition f6r.:.children of primary school age to design a Christmas

stamp with the three youngsters who design the three winning entries

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each receiving $50 and a plaque. The schools attended by each of

the winners will each receive $1300; and, the issue of an attractive

and free children's stamp album for the 1982 issues, and this album

is to be designed so as to present stamp collecting as an interesting

game as well as an educational hobby.

I am sure all in the trade will welcome these steps to encourage

young collectors, as will the Philatelic Society in promoting „

interest in stamps and in postal history. '

It is certainly a far cry from the youth of many of us when collecting

stamps. While of course an extremely popular hobby, it had nothing

like these encouragements and incentives. ' ’ . ■ . _

It is not only in this area that Australia Post plays a considerable

part in generating, interest in collecting in both the young and the

adult population with all the economic and financial effects that

flow to the private sector in the form of the stamp trade.

The Postal Commission also spends nowadays millions of dollars a

year with private printing firms and the graphic arts industry since

the production printing of stamps was ended by the note printing

division of the Reserve Bank. '

The whole topic of philately is a fascinating one in that it spans

the involvement of a large public body, Australia Post, and an

active and involved part of the private.sector. Above all, it brings

together people with such a range of varied interests and backgrounds

at conventions such as this. I therefore have great pleasure in

declaring the Convention open. .