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200 free coins to celebrate 200 years of Australia's first charity

Friday 26 April 2013

The first 200 people to donate $200 online to The Benevolent Society will find themselves with money in return - a special new collectible $1 coin celebrating 200 years of the Society.

The Benevolent Society, Australia's first charity, has been on the forefront since 1813 on social issues such as free maternity care and legal aid, as well as campaigning for the end of child labour and the introduction of the old age pension. It is only fitting that this pioneering organisation has now been recognised on an Australian legal tender coin on its 200th anniversary.

The new collectible coin has been launched by the Royal Australian Mint and The Benevolent Society underneath the looming, yesteryear facade of the Novotel Sydney Central, which was once a refuge for thousands of Sydneysiders who fell on hard times, with some of the important people that help make it all happen - staff and volunteers.

"The Royal Australian Mint has a proud tradition of recognising the different attributes that have helped make our society what it is today, and The Benevolent Society is an important part of that social tapestry," said Royal Australian Mint CEO Mr Ross MacDiarmid.

"Each person that has been offered a helping hand by The Benevolent Society over the past 200 years, including those that are here with us today, is part of the story that is reflected by this $1 coin."

The Society has provided help and support to millions of Australians since it was established on 8 May 1813 and the coin design features that same logo that appeared 200 years ago. Today the organisation continues to help people change their lives through support and education, and continues to champion social issues to contribute to future change.

"The Benevolent Society is honoured to have been chosen by the Mint to appear on an Australia coin in recognition of our 200th anniversary," said The Benevolent Society CEO Anne Hollonds.

"It feels quite surreal, to be standing under the eaves of our old Thomas Street Asylum, which helped thousands of families doing it tough in the 1900s, and celebrating 200 years of support and campaigning which have helped make Australian society what it is today."

"In celebration of 200 years of The Benevolent Society, one of these commemorative $1 coins will be given to the first 200 people to donate $200 to The Benevolent Society online so they can have a tangible reminder of the help they have provided."

To donate, please visit The Benevolent Society website www.benevolent.org.au

For more information about or an image of the 2013 200 Years of The Benevolent Society $1 coin please visit www.ramint.gov.au or contact below.

Michelle Nakamura, Royal Australian Mint, 0418 164 769

Liz Fowler, The Benevolent Society, 0410 003 934