Oct 092015

It was during our first visit to Australia back in the 90s that we travelled to Cairns in Tropical North Queensland. The hotel location provided easy access to Mount Whitefield Regional Park and its walking tracks through the rainforest. As visitors from overseas we were particularly intrigued by a sign indicating the area was home to Southern Cassowaries, and eager to experience unique Aussie wildlife, set off in determined mood to see the mystery bird.

Sweating all day in the oppressive heat (later described as “unusually cool” for the time of year), we covered many kilometres in search of the apparently aloof creature. Despite being stopped in our tracks by a giant lizard, we headed home disappointed that our much anticipated meeting had failed to materialise.


What had we been thinking!! That night, over a well-deserved ice-cold beer (or two), we read hair-raising tales about the dangers of spooking a Cassowary. According to the info at hand, a bird that feels threatened may defend itself by charging and kicking with dagger-like claws, literally opening us up to the possibility of disembowelment!

(If you ever get yourself into a face-off with an irritable Cassowary, the literature advised holding a backpack between your torso and the bird while slowly backing away).

Having subsequently witnessed a Southern Cassowary at the zoo, this is a truly striking animal. Related to other flightless birds like the emu, ostrich and kiwi, it can tower up to two metres tall and weigh as much as 70kg – making it Australia’s heaviest bird. Possessing a vivid blue head, drooping red wattles and a ‘casque’, or horn-like structure on top of its head, the species’ extraordinary appearance is strongly suggestive of its dinosaur ancestry.

Unfortunately, the Southern Cassowary is now in serious difficulty. Degradation and fragmentation of its habitat as well as vehicle strikes and dog attacks mean that it’s a threatened species at State and Federal levels, and also listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. What many probably don’t realise is that Queensland numbers have fallen to only two or three thousand.

Endangered and Extinct – Southern Cassowary 2016 1oz Silver Proof Coin

That memorable day in the tropical rainforest makes this new release from the Endangered and Extinct Series one of significant personal interest. Depicting a vivid portrait of a Southern Cassowary with a chick, its low mintage of just 5,000 means more of these coins exist than there are birds in the wild – alarming!

Looking back, it’s a relief our paths never crossed. Today it seems more appropriate to appreciate Australia’s rare Southern Cassowary through the medium of this stunning silver coin.


Endangered and Extinct – Southern Cassowary 2016 1oz Silver Proof Coin

written by Stephen Ward


Sep 012015

Platypus_anagramThe platypus is one of Australia’s most curious and fascinating native animals. This small, amphibious mammal has a tail like a beaver, a body like an otter, a beak like a duck, and it lays eggs like a reptile!

Solve this month’s anagram for your chance to win this stunning Discover Australia – Platypus 2013 1oz Silver Proof Coin.

Clue: Platypus capital of the world


How to enter: Email your answer to anagram@perthmint.com.au marking your reply ‘September 2015 Anagram Competition’ in the subject line. Please include your name, address and telephone number. Entries close on 1 October 2015. Eligible entrants will be included in the free draw and the winner will be notified by telephone or email. Terms and conditions.

See us on Facebook and Twitter for notification of anagrams and other great coin competitions.

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Last month’s winner: Congratulations Roger Corben of NSW for the correct answer of ‘Sandstone monolith’.

Jul 072015

This month the Star Trek coin program celebrates the 24th century adventures of Deep Space Nine. Fans will be delighted at the designs of the two silver proof coins featuring Captain Benjamin Sisko and the Deep Space 9 space station.

Stunning new silver releases reflect worldwide interest in the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s timeless classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The superb issues include a 2oz antiqued release featuring an embedded clock!

Outstanding high relief coins come aplenty with 2015 additions to the gold and silver Wedge-tailed Eagle series and the iconic Australian Kangaroo.

More famous native animals – a kookaburra, kangaroo and koala – are portrayed in colour on this year’s Australian Outback 1/2oz silver coin collection.

An addition to Sunburnt Country, another coloured Australian series, symbolises the Great Barrier Reef with the inscription “I love her jewel sea” from Dorothy Mackellar’s beloved poem, My Country.

July also marks the release of the fifth coins from the popular Disney Princess series. This month it’s the turn of Jasmine, the star of Alladin.

Finally, the 2015 0.5g gold Mini Koala makes an adorable gift or personal keepsake.



Jun 172015

This month’s release of Muttaburrasaurus makes now the perfect time to acquire all five releases from the Australian Age of Dinosaurs coin series.

With designs and accompanying Certificates verified by the Queensland-based Australian Age of Dinosaurs initiative, this series reflects the latest specialist knowledge about five famous dinosaurs that once inhabited the evolving Australian landscape.

Each struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver and issued as Australian legal tender, the coins in this series portray the extraordinary Australovenator, Diamantinasaurus, Leaellynasaura, Minmi and Muttaburrasaurus on dramatic coloured backgrounds.


No more than 5,000 of each coin will be released, making the Australian Age of Dinosaurs series an exceptional acquisition for anyone interested in the discovery, conservation and research of Australia’s dinosaurs.

More: Australian Age of Dinosaurs Five-Coin Series


Jun 082015

Guinness World Records certifies that the world’s most dangerous ants are Australian.

Almost all the 90 or so species of bull ant are endemic to this country. Also known as bulldog ants, sergeant ants, jumper ants and by other worrisome names, they’re easily provoked into angry and aggressive behaviour.


Bull ants often have bright red or orange colouration. The can grow up to 40mm long, have large eyes, impressive jaws and a very venomous sting.

Bull ants live underground, but exit en masse to deter intruders from getting too near the entrance to their nest. With well-developed vision, bull ants are known to track and chase interlopers. The jumper ant species is so bold that it leaps at victims!

Anything not smart enough to get out of the way can expect to be grabbed by a bull ant’s jaws, or mandibles, before being injected repeatedly by the sting on the end of its abdomen.

While it’s usually other insects on the receiving end, humans need to be cautions in the vicinity of bull ants. Their sting is extremely painful and can cause dangerous allergic reactions in some people. “On a few occasions this sting has been enough to kill adults within 15 minutes,” cites Guinness World Records.

Deadly and Dangerous – Bull Ant 2015 1oz Silver Proof Coin

The tenth coin in the Australian Deadly and Dangerous Series features a head-on image of a menacing-looking bull ant in superb colour. Housed in a high-gloss timber display case, just 5,000 of these antagonistic coins will be released.