Among the insignia of an independent country is its own coinage. This was included in the range of powers granted to the Federal Parliament under the Constitution approved by the Australian people and legislated by the British Parliament. Under placitum xii of section 51, the Parliament shall, subject to the Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace order and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to currency, coinage, and legal tender.
It was not until 1910 that this power was exercised. To mark 100 years of Australian coinage the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra has created the first coin with four heads to mark. The $1 coin design honours the four monarchs that have appeared on Australian coins over the past century.
Acting chief executive officer Graham Smith told the ABC the new coin commemorates a significant milestone in Australian history."Along with the new government and Constitution, the change in 1910 from the British monetary system to our own, heralded the unity and budding independence of our young nation," he said."This is what we are celebrating in 2010."
The coin features portraits of King Edward VII, King George V, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, and bears the 'C' for Canberra mintmark.
The ABC reported that a Melbourne coin collector, Bruce Mansfield, had lined up for 18 hours to be first person to strike the new coin. He says it was a lonely way to spend New Year's Eve but the wait was worth it.
"I haven't slept now for well over 24 hours, this is getting a bit of a dream now. I'm starting to get a bit shaky all over," he said. "I've achieved something that's been in the plan for two-and-a-half months. I've been getting a bit of ribbing but I'll take all the ribbing underneath the sun. I'm happy that I've done it."
The ABC reported that another 99 people were also able to strike a coin to mark the New Year.