Apr 242015
 

Perth Mint employees who served during World War I have inspired two current members of staff to create a unique wreath to mark the 100th anniversary of the ANZACs.

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By Tracey Cobby and Debbie Philpot

After many years of researching World War I for the ANZAC Spirit – 100th Anniversary Coin Series we decided to create a personal tribute to commemorate this year’s ANZAC Day. We had both recently rekindled our love of knitting and crochet, and in the spirit of the Australian women who knitted over 1 million pairs of socks for the troops, it seemed fitting that we use this timeless craft to create a special woollen poppy.

Of the 416,000 Australians who served in the War, 22 Mint workers are commemorated on a plaque on the front of the main building. It appeared that our idea of single poppy could grow into a wreath and commemorate not only those 22 men – but all those that served during the 1914-18 conflict. Our one poppy grew to 24 – one each for the men on the plaque – and one each for the both of us, to remember all who served.

We now know that other Mint staff tried to enlist in the A.I.F., but were exempt from joining because they were in reserved occupations. The Mint’s Hugh Annan Corbet was a Major and a Military Censor for the Australian Army Intelligence Corps during this time.

Goss_MillerTwo Mint Clerks – Captain James Miller, 29 (left) and Sergeant Gerald Goss, 32 – were killed in action at Gallipoli. The men enlisted in September 1914 and served with the 16th Battalion, departing from Australia aboard HMAT A40 Ceramic on 22 December that year. They died within days of each other – Goss on 30 April 1915, Miller on 2 May. With no known grave, both men are commemorated at The Lone Pine Memorial situated in the Lone Pine Cemetery on Gallipoli.

A third Mint Clerk, Captain William Bryan of the 44th Australian Infantry Battalion, was killed in action in Belgium in June 1917 aged 36. He is buried in Bethlehem Farm East Cemetery, Messines.

LEST WE FORGET

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Apr 202015
 

The genesis of Mother’s Day occurred in ancient times with Greek and Roman festivals dedicated to mother goddesses. In the Christian church, the fourth Sunday in Lent – or Mothering Sunday – was traditionally a day when daughters working in domestic service were permitted to visit their mothers. By 1914, Mother’s Day was officially proclaimed in America, thanks largely to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, who a few years earlier had persuaded a local church to hold a service in honour of her own mother. The custom of giving a small gift or token of appreciation to mothers on their special day is popular all over the world. Like America, Australia and many other nations celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May.

Click image to view our Mother’s Day Gift Guide & Order Deadline Date

MothersDayGiftGuide

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Apr 172015
 

John Simpson Kirkpatrick – “the man with the donkey” – is one of the most potent symbols of Australian courage and tenacity on Gallipoli.

Simpson was 22 years-old when he landed at dawn on 25 April 1915 tasked as a stretcher-bearer. With the aid of a donkey brought in to carry water, he transported wounded men day and night from the fighting in Monash Valley to the beach on Anzac Cove.

Simpson-Donkey

Private John Simpson in Shrapnel Gully with a wounded soldier on his donkey. [Australian War Memorial – P09300.001]

On the morning of 19 May, just three and a half weeks after his arrival, he died while moving two injured men and was buried on the beach at Hell Spit.

There had been nothing remarkable to mark Simpson as a likely hero. Remembered as independent, witty and warm-hearted, he was a battler – an average bloke with an itinerant background. That he displayed such remarkable bravery and selflessness has made him an essential element of the Gallipoli legacy.

About John Simpson

  • John Simpson Kirkpatrick was born in 1892 in North-East England, and like his father before him, joined the merchant navy.
  • Jumping ship in Newcastle, NSW in 1910, he worked variously as a cane-cutter, station hand, coalminer, gold prospector and seaman on vessels around the Australian coast.
  • During his time in Australia, John wrote home regularly, sending part of his wages to his mother.
  • He enlisted in the Australian Army at Blackboy Hill Camp, Perth, dropping the name Kirkpatrick to avoid questions about his earlier desertion.
  • Private Simpson expected to be sent to England, but departed from Fremantle on 2 November 1914 aboard HMAT Medic, which joined the main troop convoy from Albany en route to Egypt.
  • Simpson loved animals and once on Gallipoli befriended a donkey often remembered as Duffy, although also known as Abdul or Murphy.
  • In the habit of taking breakfast as he strode up Shrapnel Gully in the morning, Simpson also whistled nonchalantly despite the deadly gunfire.
  • At almost the same spot where Major General Sir William Throsby Bridges, the founder of Duntroon, had been fatally shot a few days before, Simpson was killed by a burst of machine-gun fire that hit him in the back.
  • His dutiful donkey escaped unharmed.

In tribute, Colonel (later General) John Monash, Australia’s greatest commander of the First World War, wrote:

“Private Simpson and his little beast earned the admiration of everyone at the upper end of the valley. They worked all day and night throughout the whole period since the landing, and the help rendered to the wounded was invaluable. Simpson knew no fear and moved unconcernedly amid shrapnel and rifle fire, steadily carrying out his self-imposed task day by day, and he frequently earned the applause of the personnel for his many fearless rescues of wounded men from areas subject to rifle and shrapnel fire.”

2015 Gallipoli Stamp and Coin Cover

JohnSimpsonPNCThe Perth Mint and Australia Post are pleased to commemorate Private John Simpson and his donkey on this 2015 Gallipoli Stamp and Coin Cover. As well as a $1 Australian aluminium bronze coin bearing a portrayal of the unassuming hero, it features an official Australia Post 70c stamp with a first day of issue postmark imposed on the shape of a medical cross.

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Apr 152015
 

Dorothea Mackellar’s My Country is one of Australia’s most widely recited and beloved poems. Reflective of the author’s great love of the Australian landscape, the poem has become one of the most recognised and celebrated pieces of Australian poetry ever written.

In tribute to Dorothea’s iconic poem and as homage to the stunning Australian landscapes she evoked, The Perth Mint is delighted to issue four beautifully illustrated silver coins each inscribed with famous lines from My Country.

Sunburnt-Country_ani

Dorothea Mackellar (1885 – 1965)

Dorothea Mackellar was born in 1885 at Point Piper, Sydney, the third of four children and only daughter of Doctor Charles Mackellar and his wife Marion. From an early age, Dorothea had a keen interest in poetry and story-telling, and had many of her poems and novels published throughout her lifetime.

Dorothea-Mackellar

Dorothea Mackellar OBE

In 1904, after spending an extended period abroad in London, and feeling homesick for Australia, Dorothea began writing My Country. Several re-writes later, the poem was published in The Spectator in London in 1908, under its original title, Core of My Heart.

Inspired by her experiences on the family’s rural properties near Gunnedah and the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, Dorothea’s poetry reflected a love and appreciation for the variety and beauty of the Australian bush and country living, and My Country was no exception.

The poem presented a contrast between the English and Australian landscapes at a time when many Australians still considered themselves to be British. The poem’s first stanza acknowledged this feeling, but Dorothea left no doubt as to where her personal preference lay. Revealing her sense of great national pride, it was the second stanza that would resonate most powerfully with Australian audiences for more than 100 years.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

(Mackellar, Dorothea 1907 – 1908, ‘My Country’ (Ref: A1605001). State Library of NSW.)
 

2015 Sunburnt Country 1oz Silver Rectangle Coins

The four rectangular coins are inspired by Dorothea’s ‘sweeping plains’, ‘ragged mountain ranges’,  ‘drought and flooding rains’, and ‘jewel-sea’, which are artistically represented on the reverses with well-known Australian animals. Each coin is inscribed with the immortal words I LOVE A SUNBURNT COUNTRY,  together with the appropriate line from her second verse.

Issued as Australian legal tender, each coin has a maximum mintage of just 5,000.

This month, we’re pleased to present the magnificent 2015 Sunburnt Country 1oz Silver Four-Coin Set, which has an Issue Limit of just 750.

SunburntCountryCoinSetiAlso available in individual presentation packaging with an Issue Limit of 4,250 is the 2015 Sunburnt Country – A Land of Sweeping Plains 1oz Silver Coin. (The remaining three coins from this delightful series will subsequently be released individually on a bi-monthly basis.)SunburntCountryKangarooCoin

Dorothea was extremely humble about her talent. She “never professed to be a poet. I have written—from the heart, from imagination, from experience—some amount of verse’.* These coins reflect the significance of My Country and just how much her unforgettable words are treasured in Australian hearts.

*Ref: Australian Dictionary of Biography.

© 2015 DME

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Apr 142015
 

Scottish actor, screenwriter and Oscar-winning director Peter Capaldi was born in Glasgow on 14 April 1958.

He is best-known internationally for playing the Twelfth Doctor in TV’s longest-running sci-fi series, Doctor Who.

Happy birthday, Peter!

Twelfth-Doctor-Who_coin

Doctor Who – Twelfth Doctor 1/2oz Silver Proof Coin

Struck from 1/2oz of 99.9% pure silver, this officially licensed coloured coin is the perfect way to celebrate Peter Capaldi’s famous on-screen character.

Presented in classic presentation packaging with a numbered certificate, no more than 4,000 of these coins will be released.

Issued by NZ Mint and Struck by The Perth Mint

BBC_logoDOCTOR WHO logo © 2012 & ™ BBC. Licensed by BBCWW Ltd.

 
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