The Royal Australian Mint acknowledges the contribution of the convicts to Australia’s history, heritage and folklore, with the 2018 Mintmark Suite of uncirculated and proof coins that will appeal to collectors, proud descendants and history buffs alike.
Almost 20 percent of Australia’s current population is descended from convicts, who were transported between 1788 and 1868.
HISTORY AND SIGNIFICANCE
In 2018 we mark the 230th anniversary of the First Fleet’s arrival and the 150th anniversary of the voyage of the Hougoumont, which bore the last of the convicts transported to Australia. Between 1788 and 1868, 162 000 convicts arrived in Australia. Some were hardened criminals, whilst others were victims of poverty and desperation, or political rebels.
From a hard life of labour, symbolised by the Broad Arrow and the chain which is featured in the coin design, many convicts went on to gain their freedom and make new lives in Australia. Some went on to build extraordinary lives of fame, fortune or infamy, and the packaging of these coins features individual characters who made their mark on our historical past. The actions of the convicts, and their interactions with Indigenous Australians, helped create the history of Australia.
In times past, the descendants of convicts were reluctant to acknowledge their ancestors but since the Bicentenary celebrations of 1988, which brought renewed interest in Australia’s convict history, having a convict ancestor is now seen as a badge of honour.
FEATURES AND DESIGN
• Commemorates the 80 years of Australia’s convict era, 230th anniversary of the First Fleet’s arrival and 150th anniversary of the voyage of the Hougoumont
• Coin’s reverse features a stylistic illustration of Australia in the shape of a tree, with the chain and Broad Arrow at the roots
• Four-coin uncirculated set features ‘C’ mintmark, ‘S’, ‘B’ and ‘M’ privy marks
• Silver proof coins include a ‘C’ mintmark
• Gold proof coins include a ‘C’ mintmark
• Coins’ obverse features Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II effigy sculpted by Ian Rank-Broadley
• Australian legal tender