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Land Rights News Central Australia: Land Rights News (April 2010)

Published: April, 2010

Stamp featuring Warlpiri man among top five in Australian history

Last year Australia Post invited the public to vote on their favourite stamps from 150 representing Australian culture and heritage, major events and significant achievements as 2009 marked 200 years of  postal services in Australia.

Known as “8 ½d Gwoya Jungarai, One Pound Jimmy”, the stamp (pictured above) was fourth of the top five stamps behind “2 pound Kangaroo and Map (1913-38)”, “5s Opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932)” and “2 1/2d Peace and Victory (1946)”. The fifth most popular stamp was “6d Kookaburra (1914)”.

The Gwoya Jungarai stamp cost 8 ½ pence, was designed by Frank Manley and based on a 1935 photograph that appeared in the Walkabout magazine.

Australia Post says Gwoya Jungarai’s nickname, One Pound Jimmy, is said to have been given to him because of his reliable response of “one pound” when asked the price of boomerangs and other artefacts he had for sale.

He died in 1965 aged about 70. The Sun reported on April 28 that year that: “When his features first appeared on Australian stamps, mail began pouring in to him from philatelists (stamp collectors) all over the world.”

The Sun report went on to say that many of the philatelists wanted Mr Jungarai’s autograph, but he was unable to write.

“But with the help of native welfare officers, Jimmy answered his fan mail – signing his name with his thumb print,” The Sun reported.

“One Pound Jimmy died on walkabout with relatives on Narwietooma cattle station, 120 miles west of Alice Springs.

“With few white-man’s luxuries packed into the saddle bags of his three old camels, Jimmy preferred to wander and hunt through the country where he had no need of postage stamps,” The Sun report concluded.

Land Rights News has attempted to find surviving relatives of Mr Jungarai without success so far.

We’d like to hear from any of his relatives or anyone with more detail on how he came to be on one of Australia’s most famous stamps.