"The functions of the Mint are the execution of orders by the Treasury for Australian coinage and at a later stage, of foreign orders; the design, engraving and production of medals, dies, plaques and like items; the security of coin and of the base and precious metals used in production; the fabrication, packaging and issue of sets of coins to collectors; the establishment and maintenance of a coin museum and technical library; and the provision of facilities for members of the public to inspect the minting process." Royal Australian Mint, First Annual Report 1964-65, p.3.

"Planning of the Royal Australian Mint was based on the intention to cater for all Australia's current needs for coinage and provide for essential expansion in the future. Planned output is 300,000,000 yearly of an 80-grain coin, working one shift of an eight hour day.

At the invitation of the Australian Government, the then Assistant Director of the Bureau of the Mint of the United States of America visited Australia in 1959 and made a a valuable report on a suitable layout; in the following year the superintendent of the Melbourne mint, the chief design architect of the Australian Department of Works, and the chief engineer of Austral Bronze Co. Pty. Ltd., made a survey of mints overseas and reported to the Treasury.

Sketch plans and cost estimates were approved and in April 1962 the Government approved the construction time-table which provided for completion by the end of 1964.

Contracts for earthworks were let towards the end of 1962; … the whole complex was completed as planned and the machinery and equipment were installed in time for testing to be completed and modified production commenced early in 1965; full production at the planned rate of 6,000,000 coins weekly was achieved shortly afterwards. By the end of June 1965, 65,070,000 one-cent coins had been made and packed.

The transformation, in just two years, of a sheep paddock into a completed Mint in full production was no mean feat. Staff had to be recruited from all over Australia … In particular, credit must be given to the hard core of officers from the Melbourne and Perth branches of the Royal Mint.

It has been quite a task to get the majority of Canberra positions filled; the lack of other engineering factories in Canberra and its environs, and distance from major manufacturing establishments have accentuated the difficulties of recruitment … Turnover of process workers has been heavy; of fifty-six appointments as Assistant (Mint) made to 30 June 1965 wastage amounted to no less than thirty-two"

Royal Australian Mint, First Annual Report 1964-65, pp.5-13.

More Information