Of the more than 60,000 Australian men and women who lost their lives serving in the First World War, more than 46,000 died in France and Belgium. Approximately 11,000 of these have no known grave. Tens of thousands more were wounded, some more than once. For those who survived the Western Front, the sights, sounds, and smells of the battlefield would be remembered for the rest of their lives.
The 2016 1/2oz Silver Proof Three-Coin Set from The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series is dedicated to the remembrance of their courage and sacrifice.
Brothers in Arms
More than 1,000 Indigenous Australians, those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, served in the First World War. People of non-European descent were initially not permitted to enlist, and Indigenous Australians in particular were excluded. In fact, despite the fact that before the War all Australian males between the ages of 18 and 60 were required to serve in the Militia, those ‘not substantially of European origin’ were exempt.
Many men of non-European descent still managed to enlist however, and as a result it is impossible to say exactly how many Indigenous Australians served in the War. In 1917, as the number of Australian casualties increased, the government relaxed enlistment standards to enable those labelled ‘half-castes’ to join the Australian Imperial Force as long as they could provide certification proving that one of their parents was of European origin.
Those Indigenous Australians successful in their enlistment found that they were almost always accepted without prejudice, and were paid the same as other soldiers. On returning home to Australia after the War, however, they no longer enjoyed the same equality. In areas such as education, employment, and civil liberties, former Indigenous service men and women found that discrimination remained, or indeed had worsened during the War years.
Photographs from the Louis and Antoinette Thuillier collection, uncovered 95 years after the war, include images of Indigenous Australian soldiers alongside their white peers. The coin’s reverse depicts a representation of one of the original Thuillier photographs featuring a white Australian soldier alongside an unknown Indigenous Australian soldier, taken at the Thuillier’s farmhouse in Vignacourt.
Lost But Not Forgotten
On 19 July 1916, Australian soldiers from the 5th Australian Division and soldiers from the 61st British Division attacked a strong German front-line position near the French village of Fromelles. It was the first major battle fought by Australian troops on the Western Front, and was intended as a feint to prevent German troops from moving south to the Somme, where the Allied offensive had begun on 1 July.
The operation failed, and the loss of Australian troops was significant. More than 5,500 Australians became casualties. Almost 2,000 of them were killed in action or died of wounds and some 400 were captured. Fromelles remains one of Australia’s greatest military disasters.
When the battle had ended, the Australians began the grim and dangerous task of recovering the wounded from no man’s land. One of those charged with the recovery effort was Sergeant Simon Fraser, a 40 year old farmer from western Victoria and a member of the 57th Battalion. Shortly after the battle Fraser wrote home, detailing the battle and its aftermath.
For three days Fraser and his fellow soldiers ventured into no man’s land between the German and Allied trenches, searching for and retrieving the wounded troops. As he dragged one man to safety he heard another calling from the trenches, “Don’t forget me cobber.” On reaching safety, Fraser went back into no man’s land to save this second soldier.
The coin’s reverse depicts a representation of Peter Corlett’s 1998 ‘Cobbers’ sculpture of Sergeant Fraser carrying a fallen comrade, which can be visited in the Australian Memorial Park in Fromelles.
Australia’s First Anzac Day
Australia’s first Anzac Day took place on 25 April 1916, one year after the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops on Gallipoli.
The first anniversary was marked by a variety of ceremonies and services held across Australia, a march through London, and services and a sports day in the Australian camp in Egypt. For the remaining years of the War, Anzac Day was used on the home front as an occasion for patriotic rallies and recruiting campaigns, and parades of serving members of the AIF were held in most cities.
Today, Anzac Day is a day on which we remember all Australians lost in war and on operational service. The Anzac spirit embodies the qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice demonstrated during the Gallipoli landing. Anzac Day is a time for reflection and, as such, many different services and memorials are held every year across the country.
The coin’s reverse depicts an image of the Roll of Honour at the heart of the Australian War Memorial building in Canberra, which records the names of over 102,000 fallen members of the Australian armed forces.
Limited Mintage & Presentation
No more than 5,000 2016 Three-Coin Sets will be released. Each set is presented in superb display packaging and is accompanied by a booklet containing information and imagery from the Great War, as well as a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.
Subscription With Free Billy Tin Storage Case
A limited number of 2,500 subscriptions are available for collectors who wish to guarantee availability of all five Three-Coin Sets issued between 2015 – 2018. Subscribers will receive a limited edition replica billy tin in which all 15 1/2oz silver coins can be housed.
Download your Subscription Order Form.
The Australian War Memorial logo is a registered trademark of the
Australian War Memorial TM & © 2016
Pillars of Australian culture and society, Anzac Day and the Returned & Services League (RSL) are both 100 years-old in 2016. Marking this shared milestone, these coins from The Perth Mint were developed under license with the Australian War Memorial (AWM) and the RSL as official numismatic tributes through which the community can honour the service and sacrifice of our Defence Force personnel.
The Australian War Memorial logo is a registered trademark of the
Australian War Memorial TM & © 2016
RSL Centenary Coin Series
2016 1oz Silver Proof Coin
The emblem and logo of the Returned & Services League of Australia Limited (RSL) are owned by the RSL and may only be used with the written consent of the RSL.
Anzac $1 Coin Series
2016 Aluminium Bronze Coin in Card
Two-up is a true blue Aussie game of chance which took off on the gold fields during the 19th century. It is most strongly associated, however, with the ‘diggers’ of World War I, who played it extensively in the trenches and while on troop ships to relive the monotony.
Essentially, two coins (usually pennies) are placed tails up on a flat board called a kip or paddle. A spinner is called to toss the coins (at least 10 feet in the air) and bets are taken on which way the coins will land.The two-up custom continued with Australian soldiers during the Second World War and currently it is permitted to be played publicly on Anzac Day in pubs and clubs around the country in honour of these military traditions. After the sombre proceedings of dawn services and other acts of remembrance, games take place in the spirit of mateship and larrikinism for which our hero diggers are famed.
This traditional Two-Up Set available from The Perth Mint features two Australian pennies, portraying the famous leaping kangaroo design, and a typical wooden kip, made from plantation pine.
Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AO, Governor of Western Australia, has welcomed the release of three Australian numismatic tributes marking Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday.
“The celebration of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday is a remarkable moment in history and The Perth Mint has created exceptional coin tributes for the occasion,” Her Excellency said.
“I am particularly delighted to see the craftsmanship showcasing branches of the golden wattle, our national flower which was depicted in the brooch presented to the Queen during her coronation tour of Australia in 1954, and the St Edward’s Crown symbolising our historical links with British constitutional and parliamentary heritage.”
The superb releases are the latest in a long line of Buckingham Palace-approved coins issued by The Perth Mint celebrating personal milestones of members of the Royal Family. Click here for more details.
This celebratory 90th Birthday Stamp and Coin Cover features a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Australian Golden Wattle diamond brooch – said to be one of her personal favourites. Made from gold and 150 white and yellow diamonds, the brooch was a gift from the people and government of Australia during the Queen’s 1954 Royal Visit – when she became the first reigning monarch to step foot on Australian soil.
As the spotlight falls on Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, here are nine more ‘Australian’ facts about The Queen, one for each of her nine decades.
- When in Australia, The Queen’s official title is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.
- While travelling in Australia, The Queen uses a special Australian standard featuring the heraldic badges of each Australian state and the seven-pointed Commonwealth Star.
- Her Majesty’s wedding cake was made using ingredients donated by Australian Girl Guides in 1947.
- The Queen made a unique broadcast to people in remote communities over the Flying Doctor radio network from Alice Springs in 1963.
- The Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct was awarded to service personnel who disarmed a WWII German sea mine which washed up on the beach at Surfers Paradise in 1966.
- The first Royal ‘walkabout’ took place during The Queen’s Tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1970.
- The only time the Queen had to interrupt an overseas tour was in 1974, when she was called back from Australia to the UK due to a snap election.
- The Queen has been to Australia on 16 occasions, visiting every state, the two mainland territories, as well as the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island.
- In 2011, she joined tens of thousands of people at a big Aussie barbecue in Perth prior to leaving the country for possibly the final time.