Hurley’s Journey 1914-16: Photographing the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Five new Australian stamps released

June 20th, 2016

Many of the stamps developed by Australia Post for the Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT) stamp issue program have featured famous expeditions and those associated with them. is glad to inform all philately enthusiasts that Australia Post has prepared for releasing its latest AAT stamp issue, which highlights and celebrates Frank Hurley's incredible photographs of the ill-fated 1914–16 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by British explorer Ernest Shackleton.

This stamp issue features the work of one of Australia's most celebrated documentary photographers, James Francis (Frank) Hurley (1885–1962). In the early 20th century, he visualized a largely unknown Antarctica for a fascinated public. While the stamp issue is part of the AAT program, the geography of its narrative is not part of what later became the Australian Antarctic Territory.

Hurley's passion for photography was matched by his desire for adventure. His photographs illustrate not only his technical and aesthetic skills under extreme conditions but also his talent for conveying the experience of being there. He achieved this through a practice that included straight and modified photographs, multiple-exposure stills, moving pictures and early colour photography.

A pioneer of polar photography, Hurley was invited to join Ernest Shackleton's British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which set out to cross Antarctica by foot in 1914, from Vahsel Bay, on the Weddell Sea, to the Ross Sea. This stamp issue tells the tale of that ill-fated journey through the lens of Hurley.

Despite having to abandon much of his specialist equipment and many glass-plate negatives when the ship, Endurance, was sent to its icy grave in October 1915, Hurley photographed the unfolding calamity. Left with only a pocket camera, a few rolls of film and 120 remaining glass-plate negatives, Hurley visualized a compelling narrative of extreme misfortune, remarkable endurance and survival against all odds.

Australia Post for the Australian Antarctic Territory: Hurley’s Journey 1914-16: Photographing the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition Souvenir Sheet