The United Nation General Assembly’s proclamation that 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages is commemorated with Australia’s newest circulating 50-cent coin. Launching in Adelaide, the coin has been produced by the Royal Australian Mint and was developed in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).
The coin design incorporates 14 translations for the word “coin” from some of the many Indigenous languages in Australia; the design was developed in consultation with 14 Indigenous language groups from around Australia, including the traditional people of Adelaide, the Kaurna people.
“These coins are a celebration of Australia’s unique and diverse Indigenous languages, we hope the coins will serve as a tangible reminder of the important efforts being undertaken to preserve, protect and revitalise Indigenous languages in Australia,” the mint CEO, Ross MacDiarmid said.
The coins were unveiled by AIATSIS CEO and co-chair of the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages Steering Committee, Craig Ritchie, director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research at the University of Sydney, Professor Jaky Troy, Kaurna man, Jack Buckskin, and Royal Australian Mint CEO, Ross MacDiarmid.
Languages are central to the identity of Indigenous Australians and the second National Indigenous Languages Survey conducted in 2014 by AIATSIS recognised that remaining connected to Language strengthens well-being and self-esteem in Indigenous communities.
“Indigenous languages carry more meaning than the words themselves, so too does currency carry meaning beyond its monetary value. The release of these coins is another milestone in recognising the diverse cultures that shape our national story of over 60,000 years,” the AIATSIS CEO and co-chair of the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages Steering Committee, Craig Ritchie, said.
Only 120 Australian Indigenous languages are known to be spoken today, according to the most recent report of the Second National Indigenous Languages Survey published in 2014. This is in comparison to over 250 Indigenous Australian languages that were in known use in 1788.
The coin has entered circulation since the 8th April. For those looking to keep the coin, a frosted Uncirculated version is available for $10.00 and a fine silver Proof version is available for $80.00 from the mint’s website or Contact Centre (1300 652 020).
The mint is also holding coin swaps in Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, where the public can exchange cash or coins for the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages — 50-cent circulating coin, Uncirculating coins, and silver Proof coins:
Adelaide — Rundle Mall: 8.00 am to 2.00 pm
Canberra — Royal Australian Mint: 8.00 am to 2.00 pm
Melbourne — Federation Square: 8.00 am to 2.00 pm
Sydney — Centenary Square Parramatta: 8.00 am to 2.00 pm
Brisbane — South Bank: 8.00 am to 2.00 pm
For further details about the new coins and coin swaps, please visit here.
For further details about the languages featured on the coins, please visit here.
Press release courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint.