Sep 232015

Just 18 years old, the colony of South Australia fabricated Australia’s first gold coin on this day in 1852.

Strictly speaking it isn’t a coin, but a coin-shaped ingot or token guaranteed by the colony to be worth one pound.

It came about after an estimated 8,000 men left Adelaide to join the Victorian gold rush – taking with them most of the city’s sovereigns. As the first successful miners began to return with their finds, a means of turning it into coins was quickly required

With the local economy on the brink, the Adelaide Assay Office was hastily established under the Legislative Council’s Bullion Act of 1852. At first it made irregularly-shaped ingots, but on 23 September it began production of 22-carat Adelaide Pounds.

Images courtesy of – click to magnify.

The initial die cracked almost immediately. No example of the type one is known today without some evidence of the die crack. The example pictured was made with the second die cut by local die sinker Joshua Payne. Nearly 25,000 of these ‘coins’ were struck, but not many survive today and most that do have been mounted for jewellery.

The reverse portrays a crown and the year-date 1852 inside a dentilated inner circle with an inscription around the outer circle. Fleur de lis are positioned either side of the word ADELAIDE.

Unfortunately, by infringing upon the Royal prerogative to coin gold, the Adelaide Pound was technically illegal. Its creators felt the time involved in gaining permission from London to establish a mint was too great a risk to the economy. By the time approval was received, production of the Adelaide Pound had ceased anyway thanks to a shipment of sovereigns.

Nevertheless, it was the first ‘coin’ produced in Australia from Australian ore with an entirely Australian design. It is hardly surprising surviving examples are keenly sought by enthusiasts the nation over.


Sep 162015

On 16th September 1770, Captain Cook’s expedition to Australia witnessed the Aurora Australis, becoming the first Europeans to note the astonishing light show.

Aboard HMS Endeavour, botanists Joseph Banks wrote in his journal:

“About 10 O’Clock a Phaenomenon appeard in the heavens in many things resembling the Aurora Borealis but differing materialy in others: it consisted of a dull reddish light reaching in hight about 20 degrees above the Horizon: its extent was very different at different times but never less than 8 or 10 points of the compass. Through and out of this passd rays of a brighter colourd light tending directly upwards.”

Unknown to Cook and his fellow explorers, the lights are created when energetic particles, principally electrons, strike the upper atmosphere and travel along Earth’s magnetic field lines. (The same principle operates in a flourescent tube or neon light.)

Glow in the dark coin

Australian Antarctic Territory Series – Aurora Australis 2013 1oz Silver Proof Coin

The reverse of this 2013 silver coin from the popular Australian Antarctic Territory Series features a representation of this natural wonder also known as the Southern Lights. Coloured with glow-in-the-dark ink, the portrayal of Aurora Australis glows in the dark!


Sep 092015

Queen Elizabeth II today becomes Britain’s longest serving monarch.

Celebrating her historic achievement, this souvenir Stamp & Coin Cover incorporates an Australian $1 coin issued by The Perth Mint and two Australia Post stamps featuring famous photographic portraits of Her Majesty:

  • Cecil Beaton photographed Her Majesty on the royal family’s return to Buckingham Palace after the coronation service in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. The dramatic depiction of the young Queen against a painted a backdrop of Henry VII’s Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey was a significant departure from previous coronation portraits.
  • Peter Grugeon took the portrait of the Queen at a sitting on 1 January 1975, in the period leading up to her Silver Jubilee in 1977. Photographed in Buckingham Palace, the portrayal shows Her Majesty wearing the Grand Duchess Vladimir tiara and Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee necklace.

Highly collectable, the Stamp & Coin Cover also bears a postmark in the shape of the Garter Star which incorporates the words First day of issue | 9 September 2015 | Elizabeth, SA 5112.


An affordable Australian tribute dated for the day on which The Queen set a new record, it would make a superb addition to any collection of Royal memorabilia.


Aug 192015

Born on this day 19 August in 1921, Gene Roddenberry led a life as colourful and exciting as almost any high-adventure fiction. A decorated B-17 pilot who later flew for Pan American Airways, he possessed a passion for literature and futurology – which laid the foundations for his greatest achievement, the legendary science-fiction series, Star Trek.


Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek
(Image courtesy

Born in El Paso, Texas, Roddenberry spent his boyhood in Los Angeles, studied three years to become a policeman and then transferred his academic interest to aeronautical engineering and qualified for a pilot’s license. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps in the autumn of 1941 and was ordered into training as a flying cadet when the United States entered World War II.


Emerging from Kelly Field, Texas, as a Second Lieutenant, Roddenberry was sent to the South Pacific where he entered combat at Guadalcanal, flying B-17 bombers out of the newly-captured Japanese airstrip, which became Henderson Field. He flew missions against enemy strongholds at Bougainville and participated in the Munda invasion. In all, he took part in approximately 89 missions and sorties. He was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.

While in the South Pacific, he also began to write. He sold stories to flying magazines, and later poetry to publications, including The New York Times. Upon his return from combat, he became a trouble-shooter for the Air Force working out of Washington, D.C., investigating the causes of air crashes. At war’s end, he joined Pan American World Airways. During this time, he also studied literature at Columbia University.


Gene Roddenberry and actor Jonathan Frakes who played Commander Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
(Image courtesy

It was on a flight from Calcutta that his plane lost two engines and caught fire in mid-air, crashing at night in the Syrian desert. As the senior surviving officer, Roddenberry sent two Englishmen swimming across the Euphrates River in quest of the source of a light he had observed just prior to the crash. Meanwhile, he parleyed with nomads who had come to loot the dead. The Englishmen reached a Syrian military outpost, which sent a small plane to investigate. Roddenberry returned with the small plane to the outpost, where he broadcast a message that was relayed to Pan Am, which sent a stretcher plane to the rescue. Roddenberry later received a Civil Aeronautics commendation for his efforts during and after the crash.

Back in the States, Roddenberry continued flying until he saw television for the first time. Correctly estimating television’s future, he realized that the new medium would need writers and decided that Hollywood’s film studios would soon dominate the new industry. He acted immediately, left his flying career behind and went to Hollywood, only to find the television industry still in its infancy, with few openings for inexperienced writers. At a friend’s suggestion, he joined the Los Angeles Police Department, following in his father’s footsteps and gaining experiences which would be valuable to a writer.



Spock, Kirk, Bones and Scotty in Star Trek: The Original Series.

By the time he had become a sergeant, Roddenberry was selling scripts to such shows as Goodyear Theatre, The Kaiser Aluminum Hour, Four Star Theater, Dragnet, The Jane Wyman Theater and Naked City. Established as a writer, he turned in his badge and became a freelancer. Later, he served as head writer for the highly popular series Have Gun, Will Travel. His episode “Helen of Abiginian” won the Writers Guild Award and was distributed to other writers as a model script for the series. Next, he created and produced The Lieutenant series, starring Gary Lockwood and Robert Vaughn; it told the story of a young man learning the lessons of life while in the United States Marine Corps.

In 1964, Roddenberry unveiled his concept for a science fiction series – a show about a group of characters who would travel each week to worlds similar to our own. He set the show “somewhere in the future”— close enough to our time for the audience to be able to identify with the continuing characters, but far enough into the future for galaxy travel to be thoroughly established. Star Trek followed in 1966 – and the rest, as they say, is history.


As creator of the Starship Enterprise and its crew, which included the heroic Captain Kirk and the logical Vulcan, Mr. Spock, Roddenberry unwittingly unleashed a phenomenon in which Star Trek enthusiasts became a veritable cult, numbering physicists, aerospace engineers, housewives, senators, children, teachers and intellectuals among its devotees (affectionately known as “Trekkies,” and later, “Trekkers”).

The show went outside television to win science fiction’s coveted Hugo Award. When NASA announced its space shuttle program, fans wrote hundreds of thousands of letters demanding the first orbiter be named in honour of the beloved Starship. On 4 September 1986, fans presented Roddenberry with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the first writer/producer to be so honoured.

Gene Roddenberry passed away on 24 October 1991 – his legacy never to be forgotten. No one could have imagined the cultural impact that this weekly “space opera” would have on multiple generations of viewers. Interest has never waned as demonstrated by twelve Star Trek motion pictures, five additional television series and now the official coin program.

Credit: (edits by The Perth Mint).
TM & © 2015 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved


Mar 312015

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was formed on this day in 1921. It is the second-oldest independent Air Force in the world.

The RAAF traces its history back to the formation of the Central Flying School at Point Cook in Victoria in 1913. By 1914, it was known as the Australian Flying Corps (AFC).


Lieutenant Eric Harrison [Australian War Memorial A03916]

On 1 March that year, Lieutenant Eric Harrison made the first military flight in Australia using a Bristol Boxkite, registered CFS 3.

Military aviation came of age during World War I when Australia’s four AFC squadrons were primarily involved in reconnaissance. Many AFC veterans helped lay the groundwork for the future RAAF after the war.

During 1920, the AFC was replaced by the Australian Air Corps, which in turn became the Australian Air Force on 31 March 1921. King George V approved the prefix ‘Royal’ for what became only the second Royal air arm to be formed in the British Commonwealth, following the Royal Air Force.

In World War II, Australian aircrew fought throughout the world including Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, over the North Atlantic, the Indian and Pacific Oceans, India and Asia.

Today, the RAAF employs about 14,000 men and women, supported by 4,000 Air Force Reservists and 800 civilian public servants at a range of offices and 11 major bases across Australia.

100 Years of Australian Military Aviation 2014 1oz Silver Proof Coin

Commemorating 100 years of Australian military aviation, this 2014 release portrays an historic Bristol Boxkite, a pusher biplane in which early Australian aviators learned to fly. The design also includes a F/A-18 Hornet, an integral part of Australia’s modern air combat capability.



Jun 042014

Six months after its attack on Pearl Harbour, the Imperial Japanese Navy aimed to inflict another devastating defeat on the United States.

This time it intended to take the US base on Midway Atoll in the Pacific with a formidable strike force supported by four aircraft-carriers, while the main body of its mighty naval force lay in wait for the arrival of the heavily depleted American Fleet. Thanks to US intelligence, however, Admiral Nimitz possessed valuable details of Admiral Yamamoto’s plan.

On 4 June 1942, while Japan’s carrier-launched planes were inflicting heavy damage on Midway, the strike force suddenly learned of the approaching US Fleet. With their decks busy in the process of refuelling and redeploying aircraft, the Japanese carriers were struck with damaging consequences by about 35 Dauntless dive-bombers. As a result, all four Japanese carriers were abandoned and sunk, while USS Yorktown was also mortally wounded during the fighting.

Battle of Midway 1942 Silver Proof Coin

A turning point of World War II, the Battle of Midway was a decisive victory that permanently weakened the Imperial Japanese Navy. Commemorating the significance of the encounter, The Perth Mint issued this Battle of Midway 1942 1oz Silver Proof Coin in 2011. The coin’s reverse design depicts a struck image of USS Enterprise, a Yorktown class aircraft carrier, and a coloured composition of a Dauntless dive-bomber above Akagi, a Japanese aircraft carrier that was scuttled after being severely damaged during the battle.

Battle of Midway coin

Less than 500 of these coins remain available for sale at The Perth Mint out of a maximum mintage of 5,000. Each coin, which is accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity, is housed in a presentation display case and superbly illustrated shipper.