Brought to you by Newscorp Australia

Worms, bees, birds, flowers and veggies star in a new series to celebrate stamp collecting month

Donna Coutts, August 5, 2019 6:45PM Kids News

Print Article

Zara, Tom and Didi from Princes Street Primary School, Tasmania, in their school garden with a set of In the Garden stamps. Picture: Zak Simmonds media_cameraZara, Tom and Didi from Princes Street Primary School, Tasmania, in their school garden with a set of In the Garden stamps. Picture: Zak Simmonds


Reading level: green

August is stamp collecting month in Australia.

This year’s theme is In the Garden.

As well as inspiring people to start collecting stamps, the goal is to get people involved in sustainable* gardening.

To celebrate 2019 stamp collecting month, Australia Post has released a series of five special stamps about sustainable gardening. They were designed by children’s book illustrator Andrew Hopgood.

Stamp Collecting Month Ambassador is chef and kitchen garden champion Stephanie Alexander, who works to help children learn how to grow and cook good food. Every week, schoolkids in every state and territory of Australia garden or cook yummy meals as part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.

“The sustainable gardening theme provides students and teachers across the country with the opportunity to learn more about environmental sustainability, kitchen and edible* gardening, plant and animal life cycles, and biodiversity*,” Ms Alexander said.

Stamp Collecting Month

The series of five stamps was developed with the help of Australian school kids and their teachers, as well as a not-for-profit group called Sustainable Gardening Australia.

The stamps are each $1 and the illustrations are part of a sustainable garden scene. The stamp topics are: rainwater garden, nest box, worm farm, pollinators* and veggie garden.

The stamps are available to buy from Australia Post and you can also start to look out for them each time you get some mail.

media_cameraPart of the veggie garden stamp from the In the Garden series. Picture: Australia Post
The rainwater garden stamp as part of the In the Garden series. Picture: supplied media_cameraRainwater garden stamp.
media_cameraPollinators stamp.
media_cameraWorm farm stamp.
media_cameraNest box stamp.


  • Philatelist: a person who loves postage stamps; also used to describe a person who studies and collects postage stamps
  • Philately: the collection and study of postage stamps, pronounced fill-at-elly

There are at least one million stamp collectors in Australia. That’s a lot of philately going on!

The best thing about collecting stamps is there are no rules!

Instead of rules, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you get the most enjoyment out of your new hobby.

1. It could help to decide if you’d like to collect used stamps, new stamps or both. The great thing about used stamps is that you don’t need to spend any money to get started.

2. Decide if you’d like to collect every stamp you possibly can or if you’d prefer to choose a theme. Some theme ideas are: Australian stamps, overseas stamps, Christmas stamps, animal stamps, bird stamps or stamps with people on them.

3. Ask grandparents and parents if they have stamp collections they no longer want that could kickstart your own collection. Charity shops sometimes have old collections for sale.

Stamps, hobby story about stamp collecting. Nov.12, 1995. /Stamps /Hobbies media_cameraSome old or rare stamps can be very valuable.

4. Find a safe way to store your stamps. A clean shoebox with a lid is a good start. If you still really love collecting stamps after you’ve been doing it for a while, consider buying a stamp album to store your stamps in. Australia Post sells albums.

5. Handle your stamps with care. Tweezers are much better than your fingers so you don’t make your stamps dirty.

JUNE 29, 2001 : Philatelist Gabriele Woodbine, who turned her stamp collecting hobby into a business when she became a dealer and founded Gabriele's Philatec Services, 29/06/01. pic Tara Johns. Australia / Postage / Tweezers media_cameraTweezers and a magnifying glass can be handy for stamp collectors. Picture: Tara Johns

6. If you are collecting used stamps, consider leaving them on at least part of the envelope. If you do cut around the stamp, never cut ANY of the perforations* off the sides of the stamp, as this makes them worthless.

7. Never fold stamps.

8. Used stamps are usually stuck to the envelope with water-soluble* glue. New but used stamps need to be soaked for up to 30 minutes in very hot water to dissolve the glue. Old used stamps and some used stamps from overseas just need a soak in warm water for a few minutes. In both cases, carefully remove the stamp from the water with tweezers, peel off the envelope paper and leave the stamp to dry, face-up, on some blotting paper or a clean, dry piece of scrap fabric such as cotton.

The Penny Black was the world’s first adhesive* postage stamp used in a public post system. It was issued in the UK in 1840 and shows a profile image of Queen Victoria.

A Penny Black in mint* condition can be worth up to $900.

24 Jun 1998. The biggest known block of Penny Black stamps, post marked May 06 1840, which fetched a record $363,000 when they were auctioned at Stanley Gibbons in London. (AP PicJohn/Stillwell) rare postage stamp history britain magnifying glass media_cameraThe biggest known block of Penny Black stamps, postmarked May 06 1840, which sold for a record $363,000 when they were auctioned at Stanley Gibbons in London in 1998. Picture: AP


  • sustainable: doesn’t need outside inputs or make waste that it can’t use up itself
  • edible: can be eaten
  • biodiversity: the variety of plant and animal life in a setting
  • pollinators: insects and other animals that transport pollen grains from one plant to another to help the plant reproduce
  • perforations: holes
  • water-soluble: dissolves in water
  • adhesive: glue
  • mint: perfect


Reef survival gets stamp of approval

Kids need to learn cooking skills

Our insects are in big trouble

Bees know how to do basic maths


  1. Which month is stamp collecting month?
  2. How many stamps are in the In the Garden series and how much do they cost each?
  3. Who or what is a philatelist?
  4. Is it a good idea to fold stamps or cut the edges off?
  5. What is a Penny Black? How old is it?


1. Visual instructions
Show that you have understood the information about stamp collecting by writing a simple set of instructions (with an accompanying diagram for each step) that shows the process for removing a used stamp from its envelope and then how to store and handle the stamp. Your instructions should rely mostly on pictures with only as many words or numbers as are absolutely necessary.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity 
Curriculum Links: English

2. Extension
Watch the video explaining the sustainable garden scene featured on the In the Garden stamp collection. Make a list of all of the sustainable features included in the scene and write a phrase or sentence to explain how each feature helps the environment.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity 
Curriculum Links: English, Science

The glossary of terms helps you to understand and learn the ambitious vocabulary being used in the article. Can you use the words outlined in the glossary to create new sentences? Challenge yourself to include other VCOP (vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation) elements in your sentence/s. Have another look through the article, can you find any other Wow Words not outlined in the glossary?

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you collect stamps? Would you consider starting? Do you have a veggie garden at home or school? Would you like to start one?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

Extra Reading in environment