Fleetwood – 1979 / 1980 / 1981 – AAT Ships

What a SENSATIONAL issue this was. The Fleetwood covers for this issue are among my all time favourites. The artist, Ray Honisett, is extremely talented and designed many stamp issues for Australia Post over the years.

The AAT ship stamps were issued over 3 years, but let’s deal with them all together here. There were 16 stamps in total (5 in 1979, 5 in 1980, and 6 in 1981) – quite an achievement on the part of Ray Honisett when you consider how incredibly detailed his paintings are. Not to mention the fact that not all the designs were used on stamps; there were lots of other images created for the series by Ray, some of which ended up as the 19 Fleetwood cover designs (one for each of the 16 stamps, and one for each of the 3 full yearly sets).

5 released 29 August, 1979 (Below)
5c M.V. Thala Dan
20c R.R.S. Discovery II
25c S.S. Endurance
30c S.S. Fram
55c S.Y. Discovery

Proof cards:

5 released 21 May, 1980 (Below)
1c S.Y. Aurora
15c S.Y. Nimrod (Morning)
22c R.Y.S. Terra Nova
35c M.S. Nella Dan
$1 H.M.S. Resolution

6 released 9 September, 1981 (Below)
2c R.Y. Penola
10c H.M.S. Challenger
15c S.Y. Nimrod
40c M.S. Kista Dan
45c L’Astrolade
50c S.S. Norvegia

Fleetwood covers tend to yellow with age, especially if not stored properly, so watch out for that. In terms of postmarks i’ve seen various including the Arrow postmark from the Philatelic Bureau in Melbourne, also a normal GPO Melbourne CDS, and even postmarks in Antarctica including Casey, Davis, Mawson & Macquarie Island. If you want every postmark on every cover there are a lot of different covers to find. I’m not even sure if every cover was produced with all 5 postmarks but if that’s the case then there are still some covers I don’t have myself. There may be more proof cards for this series that I have not seen yet.

There was a black display folder released by Fleetwood for at least part of this series, but I don’t own one so can’t show it here. I do have a couple of cover inserts though, they look like this:

Some more information about the artist Ray Honisett from the Unicover website:

Ray Honisett
Australian 1931 –

Ray Honisett is Australia’s premier stamp designer, and is an artist of international reputation. The creator of forty Australian stamps, he is a winner of the coveted International Philatelic Gold Medal and is a Fellow of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. A native Australian, Honisett moved to England as a young man but returned to Australia in 1962, and has been busy ever since — with his teaching, his painting and his extraordinary stamp designs.