25 July 2001

Launch of Centenary of Federation Northern Territory Coin Sets, Darwin

Distinguished Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys & Girls

As the Federal Minister responsible for the Royal Australian Mint, I am honoured to be here in Darwin to officially launch the Northern Territory commemorative coins and coin sets in the Mint's Centenary of Federation Coin Program.

Coins have been used for thousands of years to represent on their surface events of special significance. In ancient times, royal families used coin designs to spread messages of victories, marriage and news affecting the population at large. Amazingly, many of these coins have survived until today.

So, why did our ancestors communicate through coins? I suspect that it was because coins were items of every-day use available to, and handled by almost every member of the population - their electorate so to speak, although in those days, elections were not exactly on the agenda.

Ancient coin designs convey to us the events of yesteryear - opening a gateway into the past. And today's coin designs allow us to share with future generations what we value today, what we celebrate and what important developments shape us. And so we continue to create history...

The Royal Australian Mint decided that on coins dated 2001 there is no event more worthy of commemoration than that of our nation's 100th birthday - that is what we want future generations to remember about us as we go about our business in 2001.

As you've heard, throughout the year the Mint will release a 20c student-designed coin and a 50c Coat of Arms coin for every State and self-governing Territory.

Today we launch the coins dedicated to the Northern Territory, so let me describe them for you.

The 20c coin was designed by Lisa Brett from Leanyer Primary School in her interpretation of what is special about the Northern Territory.

Lisa has skilfully drawn a pair of brolgas, performing the graceful, intricate movements for which they are so well known.

The water depicted at the base of the design represents the wetland environment that is home to the brolga, while the hills and open skies that form the background depict the beauty of the Northern Territory landscape.

Coinage is crucial in reflecting the mood of a nation and reminding it, each and every day, of who it is and where it has been.

So it will be Lisa's designed 20c piece, which Australians will use now, and in the future, when putting coins into a parking meter, picking up a newspaper or buying a loaf of bread.

Lisa, you have done an exceptional job of which you should be proud. I would like to congratulate you personally and on behalf of the Government of the Commonwealth on this achievement.

As a special touch, Lisa's initials have been incorporated into the design as evidence of her contribution to our nation's celebrations.

The second coin to be released is a 50c piece that will bear the design of the Coat of Arms of the Northern Territory.

These two coins will appear in the special collector Three Coin Sets, the third coin being the $1 featuring the Centenary of Federation logo.

Now, I would like to ask Lisa to join me in unveiling her 20c coin design.