Friday, August 19, 2016

Australia 2016 - 50 Years of Play School

ISSUE DATE: 26 July 2016
STAMP SIZE:26 x 37.5 mm
STAMP DESIGN: Australia Post Design Studio

On the morning of Monday 18 July 1966, the first Australian episode of Play School appeared on the nation’s screens. The ABC had been screening the British program of the same name (which began in 1964 and ceased production in 1988) for two months prior. Fifty years later and Play School is Australia’s longest running children’s television program. Generations of Australians have taken a look through the Windows and sung along to the iconic theme song, “There’s a Bear in There” by Richard Connolly and Dr Rosemary Milne. The 50 Years of Play School stamp issue celebrates half a century of this icon of Australian television.


Ninety-one presenters have been part of the program over this time, many of them professional actors and many becoming much-loved audience favourites. 

They have sung songs, dressed up, played games and made craft around a daily theme, then checked the time on the Play School clock before story time. Lorraine Bayly, Dianne Dorgan, Kerry Francis, Anne Haddy, Donald MacDonald and Alister Smart formed the initial cast of presenters in 1966. 

Dianne Dorgan and Don Spencer also appeared on the British version of the program (and Lorraine Bayly appeared as a guest storyteller in 1972). Benita Collings featured in a record 401 episodes between 1969 and 1999.


The presenters, talking directly into the camera to their audience, interact with a cast of toys, including Big Ted, Little Ted, Jemima and Humpty, who have become icons in their own right and feature on the stamps. With the help of the presenters, the toys join in the activities and sometimes even embark on an adventure outside.



Stamp images and description thanks to Australia Post

Australia Post