Check with the number '2', minted and issued by Phoenix Foundry Co Ltd, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, 1871-1906. It was probably used as a factory pass.

Physical Description

A copper piece (32 mm diameter) featuring a phoenix and locomotive. It has been cleaned and varnished

Obverse Description

A Phoenix rising from the flames

Reverse Description

A steam engine and two carriages stamped 2; around, PHOENIX FOUNDRY CO. LIMITED BALLARAT


The Phoenix Foundry at Ballarat was founded in 1854 by Richard Carter, George Threlfell, Robert Holden and William Henry Shaw, all gold rush immigrants who had variously trained as blacksmith, iron founders and engineers in Belfast and Lancashire. It was the first engineering works established at Ballarat to repair and manufacture machinery for the goldmines, producing stamp batteries, pumps, steam engines and amalgamators for an industry that was become increasingly mechanised and captial intensive by the late 1850s. In November 1870, it became the first engineering firm in Victoria to be floated as a public company. To offset a temporary downturn in the local mining industry during the early 1870s, the Phoenix Foundry Co Ltd, tended for Government contracts to build locomotives and rollingstock for the Victorian Railways. The first of over 350 locomotives built by the firm rolled out of the works in February 1873. By the late 1880s, the firm was producing a locomotive a week, operating the largest manufacturing works in regional Victoria. The company continued to build mining machinery, particularly during the recession of the 1890s when Government contract work dried up. It was eventually forced to close in 1906, following the development of the Government railway workshops at Newport and a further decline in mining.

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