The History of the Australian Passport
The words 'Australian Passport' replaced 'British Passport' on the cover of an Australian passport in 1949. In 1950, 30,000 Australian passports were issued. Fifty years later in 1999-2000, this number had risen to nearly 1,450,000. Their production accounted for 37 tonnes of paper, 95,500 metres of thread, 69,000 metres of gold foil and 1,100 litres of glue.
In the 2001-2002 financial year, 986,316 passports were issued. The horrific terrorist attacks in the United States led to a significant decline in passport applications during this period. For the first time since the mid-1990s, less than one million passports were issued.
On average, an Australian passport is issued every 27.5 seconds. Originally passports were hand written. Technology now plays a vital part in passport production. In 2001 the Australian passport is produced using leading edge scanning and character recognition technology.
Today's passports may look very different, but some of the key changes are less obvious at first glance:
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's goal is to be at the forefront of passport technology, security and customer service. We have developed new technology and processes to further improve all aspects of our products and service.
Since 1983, the department's partnership with Australia Post has enabled Australian citizens to apply for passports at most Australia Post outlets.
Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) is operated on behalf of the department by Centrelink and provides information to passport applicants.
Passport applications are now scanned directly into the passport system using Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR).
The department has patented the digital printing of passport photographs onto the glue side of the laminate—a key security feature.
Passports for the future
We are working towards new online services including downloadable passport renewal and application forms and a facility for Australian Citizens to apply and pay for their Australian Passport online.
Foreign embassies in Australia
Children's Passport in Australia
New Adult Passport in Australia
Lost or Stolen Passport in Australia
Replacement of Australian passport
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