History of The Philatelic Association of NSW

Philas is a non-profit Australian philatelic organisation dedicated to promoting stamp collecting, supporting youth philately, advancing collector skills, and aiding affiliated stamp clubs in NSW.

Before Philas House

Philatelists in New South Wales had long dreamed of forming an Association and establishing a central philatelic headquarters – a home for philately – in the State. After the highly successful ANPEX 70 exhibition was held in Sydney, the meeting that founded the Philatelic Association of New South Wales (PHILAS) was held on Commonwealth Day (which was once Empire Day), 24th May 1971, and a Constitution was approved. Executives from the Exhibition Organizing Committee administered PHILAS until the first Annual General Meeting was held in August 1971, when delegates from NSW Philatelic Societies and Stamp Clubs stood for democratic election.

The new executives were homeless, had a sound Constitution, a few assets in the form of display frames stored in private homes, and about $25,000 in the bank – the profits from ANPEX 70.

Purchase of Philas House

The first foray into the market for a home, in Darley Street, Darlinghurst, was fruitless, because of difficulties with the development of the site. This was sold, and the hunt was on again. Thanks to the campaign, Buy a brick for Philas House, enough money was raised to put a deposit on the former Commonwealth Police Headquarters at 17-19 Brisbane Street, Darlinghurst, in 1977.

This was a joint purchase of the building, with the NSW Golf Association and the Ladies Golf Union. The building was Strata Titled, with PHILAS having the Ground and First Floors and the loading dock. The Ground Floor was fitted out for a Library, work areas, and office space. The First Floor was set up as a meeting room, with double-strength lighting, wall display frames, and tables and chairs. The Ground Floor Library area and the First Floor were carpeted, and both floors were air-conditioned.