The Commons Masthead

Freshly Mint-ed: celebrating 50 years of the Royal Australian Mint

Amanda Whitley

When you open your wallet to fish coins out for parking, how often do you think of the place where they were made? Because chances are, every single circulating Australian coin was manufactured right here in Canberra, at the Royal Australian Mint. In fact, the total number of circulating coins made by the facility is enough to wrap around the equator almost eight and a half times. That’s a lot of spare change.

This year is a big one for ‘the Mint’, as it’s affectionately known, with 2015 marking its 50th or Golden Anniversary. To celebrate, Canberrans will have a chance to see close-up where Australia’s coins come from at an Open Day this Saturday 21 February.

This family-friendly day will have a range of indoor and outdoor activities for everyone, giving a unique insight into the facility that has created around 15 billion circulating coins since 1965.

If you’ve ever been curious to see how coins are made, you can tag along on an Up close Factory Walk-through into secure production areas of the Mint while coin-making is in progress. It’s been several years since the last time the public was invited onto the factory floor and much longer since the last time the presses have been running while visitors are inside.

You’ll get up close and personal to Titan – a three metre tall, six-axis robot who works in the Mint’s circulating coin production area. This 4.6 tonne charmer is a bit of a show off, and when he’s not busy working he enjoys dancing, stretching and showing off his large reach and flexibility.

It’s an absolutely fascinating facility…and the Open Day walk-throughs will take you beyond the part of the Mint that you can see via the public viewing windows. Visitors can see special edition coins being made – these are the special shaped, the coloured, the collector pieces – they really are works of art.

50 years of manufacture means there’s a lot of amazing facts and figures to learn. At the Open Day, you’ll be able to tour the redeveloped Visitor Gallery and discover the National Coin Collection to learn about the history of coinage in Australia – from the time of the First Fleet up until today.

So, if the last time you visited the Mint was on your school excursion, the Open Day is a perfect time to reacquaint yourself. The newly refurbished viewing gallery has a heap of new interactive elements to help visitors get a deeper understanding of what goes on inside its walls; from touch screens which explore the various parts of the production areas, to displays that test your powers of observation. It’s a lot of fun for all ages.

And no birthday would be complete without a bit of party fun – there’ll be face painting, balloon art and fun for the kids with the Gecko Gang, and displays from ACT Policing and Emergency Services.

So this Saturday, re-visit this important part of Canberra – and Australia – and get along to the Royal Australian Mint Open Day. No party hat required 😉

the essentials

What: Royal Australian Mint Open Day
When: 8.30am–4pm on Saturday 21 February
Where: Denison Street, Deakin
How much: Free entry. Factory walk-through is $5 per adult. Kids 16 and under are free.
Web:www.ramint.gov.au

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

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