Australian Coin History

  • Shells could be used in barter and trade
    Indigenous Currency

    The first Australians used a barter system, with items such as tools, food, ochres, shells, raw materials and stories.

    Shells could be used in barter and trade
  • Businesses would create tokens for use when there weren't enough coins
    Early Settlers' Currency

    A varied collection of international coins, tradesmen's tokens and promissory notes were used by European settlers, while soldiers participated in the notorious rum trade.

    Businesses would create tokens for use when there weren't enough coins
  • Holey Dollar
    The First Official Currency

    Spanish dollars were converted into two Australian coins known as the 'dump' and the 'holey dollar' in 1813. In 1825, the British government made the English Pound the only form of legal currency in Australian colonies.

    Holey Dollar
  • Sovereign
    Gold Currency

    Great fortune was found in Australian soil during the gold rush in the 1800s. Gold was turned into ingots and tokens for trading, and in 1855 an official mint opened in Sydney to turn the gold into coins called sovereigns.

    Sovereign
  • Australian Penny
    Commonwealth Currency

    In 1910, nine years after Australia federated as a nation, a national Australian currency was formed, based on the British money system of pounds, shillings and pence.

    Australian Penny
  • Australian 20c coin
    Decimal Currency

    On 14 February 1966, Australia introduced the decimal currency system of dollars and cents that is still in use today.

    Australian Coin History downloadable factsheet.

    Australian 20c coin