NotesW.J. Taylor/Kangaroo Office Pattern Coins, circa 1855
As a speculative venture W.J. Taylor, a principal of the Kangaroo Office and a well-known medallist of London, prepared patterns for a proposed coinage for the Colony of Victoria, based upon traditional denominations. Whether or not these patterns were ever submitted to the Colonial Government is not known, but nothing came of the venture. Some examples of Taylor's patterns in various metals are displayed.
The Years of Expansion: Essays, Patterns, Emergency and Regular Coinage Issues of Colonial Australia
From as early as 1821, discoveries of gold had been made from time to time, but had not been made public knowledge by government which, in these early years, was concerned at the effects which this might have upon convict discipline and the economy of the Colony. By 1851 immigration had virtually ceased, and there was a significant population drift of able-bodied men to the goldfields of California. Faced with economic stagnation, the government of the day made public the news of the discovery of gold at Ophir by Edward Hargreaves, in March 1851. The gold rush era in Australia had begun, and was to have far reaching effects upon the country's economic, social and political development over the next half century.
The major effects of the discovery of gold were most evident in the new Colony of Victoria. Within a few months, major fields at Ballarat and Bendigo had been opened; reputed to be the richest alluvial fields in the world. Their fame was world-wide, and attracted many thousands of immigrants from all nations seeking their fortunes. Important gold discoveries were later made at Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie in Western Australia, and at Gympie in Queensland. Many lesser but important finds were made in other parts of Australia. During the gold rush era which lasted into the early years of the 20th Century, Australia produced about 40% of the world's output of gold.
The necessity of producing coinage locally to meet economic growth requirements arising from the discovery of gold was recognised in New South Wales from the outset, and a Petition was addressed to the Imperial Government by the Colony as early as 1851 for the establishment of a Branch of the Royal Mint at Sydney. Branch mints were subsequently established at Sydney in 1855, at Melbourne in 1872, and at Perth in 1899 for the issue of the standard Imperial gold coinage. Apart from these regular, authorised issues, economic conditions in the early years of the gold rush era caused the introduction of an official emergency gold coinage in South Australia in 1852. In Victoria, speculative attempts were made in 1853 and 1855, to introduce local coinages. Some examples of these Colonial issues are displayed.
- From Sydney Mint Museum label written by curator, Major HP (Pat) Boland, c1982