A new $5 coin honouring some of Australia’s World Heritage wonders has been created in honour of cultural conservation ahead of the 21st annual General Assembly and Scientific Symposium.
The collectable coin features images of all 20 Australian World Heritage Properties, including images of prehistoric rainforest wilderness and ancient Aboriginal settlements to unique landscapes and natural attractions, as well as convict sites and iconic 20th century buildings.
Designed by the Royal Australian Mint coin designer Tony Dean, the $5 frosted uncirculated coin was released on Thursday and will be considered legal tender.
The coin depicts a handprint, fan palm frond and a shell fossil to represent the natural and built icons and Australia’s Indigenous heritage.
It also features The Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Obverse, designed by renowned British engraver, Jody Clark.
The Queen’s image remains as part of legal Australian currency tender, as the Reserve Bank of Australia continues to decide whether to replace the late monarch with the face of King Charles III.
Outgoing RBA governor Philip Lowe said in November the bank is currently considering the design of the $5 banknote following the death of the Queen.
“We recognise that this is an issue that is of national interest and there is a long tradition of the monarch being on Australia’s banknotes,” Dr Lowe said.
“The monarch has been on at least one of Australia’s banknotes since 1923 and was on all our notes until 1953.
“Given this tradition and the national significance of the issue, the bank is consulting with the Australian government regarding whether or not the new $5 banknote should include a portrait of King Charles III.”
A decision is expected to be finalised within 18 months.
Her Majesty’s depiction stirred controversy after it was determined her memory would be honoured by keeping her image on the pink note for the foreseeable future.
At the time, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton suggested the decision was to “rewrite history” and demanded that the government commit to using the image of the King on the $5 note.
The Mint partnered with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) to produce the new coin in recognition of ICOMOS being held in Australia for the first time.
Convener of the ICOMOS General Assembly Professor Richard Mackay said the new coin’s role would encourage community awareness of the Australia’s natural heritage.
“This amazing coin highlights the diversity of Australia’s internationally-significant heritage and will encourage awareness of our unique biodiversity, deep Indigenous connections with Country and extraordinary cultural places,” he said.
“We are delighted that as cultural heritage experts from all around the world gather in Sydney, this coin celebrates our contribution to the world’s heritage.”
The $5 Australian Heritage Properties Sites coin is Australian legal tender and can be purchased through the Mint’s coin shop, call centre and authorised dealers from September 7.
Australia’s heritage sites depicted on the coin are:
Australian Convict Sites
Budj Bim Cultural Landscape
Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens
Sydney Opera House
Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Riversleigh/Naracoorte)
Fraser Island (officially K’gari)
Gondwana Rainforests of Australia
Great Barrier Reef
Greater Blue Mountains Area
Heard and McDonald Islands
Lord Howe Island Group
Macquarie Island, Ningaloo Coast
Purnululu National Park
Shark Bay (Western Australia
Wet Tropics of Queensland
Kakadu National Park
Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Andrew Leigh, said World Heritage status helped to protect and to publicise the existence of these extraordinary places.
“As Australians we’re fortunate to live in a country with so much natural beauty,” Dr Leigh said.
“By celebrating Australia’s World Heritage sites through this collectable coin the Royal Australian Mint is doing its bit to help the spread the word about our magnificent natural and built heritage.”
ICOMOS is a global organisation of cultural heritage professionals and acts as the principal advisory body on cultural heritage to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.