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Australia Camels

1997 Proof Five Dollar reverse 1997 Proof Five Dollar obverse

1997 Proof Five Dollar

Reverse Designer:Wojciech Pietranik Obverse Designer:Raphael Maklouf Size:39mm Weight:35.79g Edge:Reeded Composition:92.5% Silver
7.5% Copper


Sales History


This commemorative coin celebrates the role played by camel trains as a form of transportation that opened up possibilities and opportunities for the continued development of Australia as a nation. It is a five dollar proof coin struck into sterling silver by the Royal Australian Mint. The camel train coin is one from a set of five that makes up the Masterpieces in Silver collection named 'Opening of the Continent.' (Coin Web, 2013) Each coin represents a different form of transportation creating a network that connected the wide-spread colonies from across the land, enabling the progression of industry, agriculture, trade and general cultural development. Other transportation networks that are remembered and celebrated within this collection are the Paddle steamer, Bullock Team, Steam Train and Steam Traction Engine.

The obverse of each of the coins was designed by Raphael Maklouf and features his traditional portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This is complimented by the legend surrounding the portrait, which reads ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 1997. The reverse of this particular coin from the collection bears the image of camels walking in a linear fashion with a man riding the leading camel followed by others laden with goods. As you can see using the zoom feature with the image to the right, there is a very small token kangaroo hidden in the background. The only legend on the obverse, designed by Wojciech Pietranik reads 5 DOLLARS. The collection had a limited mintage of 10,000, was packaged in a cushioned black box and came with a 1997 Masterpieces in Silver Certificate of Authenticity.

The Camel train or camel team first started to be used as a form of transportation in South Australia in the early 1900's after being used very successfully for a number of years in and around North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula for a number of years. (Wikipedia, 2013) As the colonies began to develop and move inland they required some form of network of transport that would allow them to successfully transport goods from one place to another. The camel trains played a valuable role in many of the major events and developments that helped the early settlers and colonies to improve the standard of life and create the thriving nation that Australia is proud to be today. In the late 19th and early 20th century the camel trains were one of if not the most effective way of transporting heavy equipment and goods that there were required further inland. In these early times the outback remained to be thick bush and camels were able to sustain these harsh conditions very well. Sometimes each camel would be laden with goods either for trade or to supply a colony or workers. Other times they would be used to pull something extremely heavy such as a house. The major developments to which camel trains contributed include the mining industry, the sheep industry, the Overland Telegraph Line and the Trans-Australia and Central Australia railways. (Museum Victoria, 2013) When "The Ghan" railway was completed they adopted a camel and rider as the logo in order to commemorate the important service that the camels provided.

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