Stamp and cover illustrations: Peter Trusler, Melboume, Australia.
Scientific consultant: Professor Pat Vickers-Rich, Chair of Paleontology,
Typography: Sue Passmore, Australia Post Graphic Design Studio
On October 1st 1993, Australian Post issued the set of 6 stamps "Dinosaur Era".
These stamps depict 5 dinosaurs and a pterosaur (flying reptile).
These stamps were issued in several formats:
Mini-Sheet of all 6 stamps
Two stamps of the set were issued as
self-adhesive in a booklet of and boxes with rolls of 100 and 200 stamps each
The Mini-Sheet was surcharged with golden mark
at "World Philatelic Exhibition in Bangkok", Thailand that took place between October 1 and 10, 1993;
"Sydney Stamp and Coin Show" that took place between October 15 and 17.
The cover of the booklet with the self-adhesive stamps was surcharged at various philatelic
Turning back the clock to the late 1800s, the first Australian dinosaurs were discovered but
remained extremely rare among Australian fossils.
Between 1932 and 1981 no new dinosaur research was carried out, though in recent
years some exciting discoveries have been made.
Dinosaurs dominated Earth for more than 160 million years.
The stamps in the Mini-Sheet shows a scene from the early Cretaceous period
in Australia (more than 100 million years ago) -
a pterosaur and some of the warm-blooded dinosaurs that thrived in the Dinosaur Cove area under
the polar weather conditions.
Ornithocheirus pterosaurus on stamp of Australia 1993,
MiNr.: 1372, Scott: 1342.
Leaellynasaura dinosaur on stamp of Australia 1993,
MiNr.: 1370, Scott: 1343.
Flying reptiles or pterosaurs were not dinosaurs.
However, they lived at the same time and were warm-blooded the energy
demands of flight could never be met with a cold-blooded metabolism.
Ornithocheirus lived during the Late Cretaceous and is also found in
Europe, South America and Africa.
During the 19th century, in England many fragmentary
pterosaur fossils were found in the Cambridge Greensand.
First found in Australia in 1979, near Boulia in
It was a coastal species, and had a wing span of about 2.5 metres.
About the size of a chicken with a skull only 6 centimetres long, Leaellynasaura was a bipedal
Its eyes were exceptionally large, as was the part of the brain dedicated to processing visual signals
(the optic lobes).
It would appear to have been adapted for life in semi-darkness.
During much of the Cretaceous, when Leaellynasaura lived, Australia was far closer to
the South Pole than it is now, and would have been almost continuously dark for two or three months of
It has been suggested that this little dinosaur, too small to migrate, remained active throughout
the long winter.
Both stamps (Ornithocheirus and Leaellynasaura) were issued as
self-adhesive too, MiNr.: 1376-1377, Scott: 1348-1349.
This ornithomimosaur (ostrich mimic dinosaur), in 1993 it was known from two thigh bones discovered in 1992.
It probably looked something like a big emu, but with strong arms and a long, stiff tail.
It probably fed on both plants and small animals, and relied on its great
speed to escape predators.
Timimus dinosaur on stamps of Australia 1993,
MiNr.: 1373, Scott: 1345 and Australia 2013,
MiNr.: 4019, Scott: 3988.
In 2013, Timimus was featured on Australian stamp again.
In 1993, it was originally identified as an ornithomimosaur, but 20 years after, based on new fossils,
it is thought to be a theropod, possibly a tyrannosauroid.
To date of the stamp issue, only one specimens of the dinosaur was known: Timimus hermani
It was formally named and shortly described by Dr. Thomas Rich and his wife Patricia Vickers-Rich
Allosaurus dinosaur on stamp of Australia 1993,
MiNr.: 1371, Scott: 1344.
The fossils, two femora (thighbones), one from an adult and one from a juvenile, were found within a
metre of each other at the Dinosaur Cove East site, in the small "Lake Copco" quarry, at the southern tip
The generic name means "Tim's Mimic" and combines the name of both the discoverers' son Timothy Rich and
palaeontologist Tim Flannery with a Latin mimus, "mimic", a reference to the presumed affinity of the
species with the Ornithomimosauria.
The specific name honours volunteer John Herman who, for many years, assisted the Dinosaur Cove project.
AllosaurusAllosaurus was the big predator of the North American Late Jurassic, 135 million years ago, so it
is a surprise to find it in Australia some 10 to 20 million years later.
It grew to 12 metres long, and weighed up to two tonnes.
Minmi dinosaur on stamp of Australia 1993,
MiNr.: 1375, Scott: 1347.
This was a small (no more than 4 metres long), Early Cretaceous
ankylosaur (armoured dinosaur), which was first found near Minmi Crossing in Queensland.
It may have relied on its speed rather than its bony armour for protection from predators.
Muttaburrasaurus dinosaur on stamp of Australia 1993,
MiNr.: 1374, Scott: 1346.
All but the tail of this dinosaur has been found, near Muttaburra in Queensland.
Many of its bones were originally collected by local people, but after palaeontologists had excavated the remainder
of the skeleton, a public appeal was made for the return of bones and the skeleton was reconstructed. Muttaburrasaurus lived during the Early Cretaceous, 110 million years ago.
It was similar in general shape to Iguanadon and like its relative, a plant eater.
About 8 metres long, it probably walked and ran on its hind legs, but was able to move on all fours when feeding.
Its thumb claw was a flattened spike which may have been used for defence.
The broad head ended in a horny beak which was used to tear leaves, twigs and fruit from trees;
further back in the jaws were shearing teeth to slice up the food.
The top of the snout was expanded into a strange, hollow dome, similar to those seen in some duck-billed
Connected to the nasal passages, these are generally considered to have been resonating chambers, allowing
the dinosaurs to produce loud noises either as part of their mating ritual or to scare predators.
Muttaburrasaurus probably lived in herds.
The stamps designer, Peter Trusler, explains about his work on reconsruction of prehostoric animals.
Products and associated philatelic items
(clean and surcharged)
Surcharged at stamp shows in 1993
Surcharged in 2022 for "Impression Collection" of Australian post
Surcharged postmarks used golden ink, but it seems as black on the scan