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Australia Bullocks

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 bullocks 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 bullock team 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, Camel Train, 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 bears the image of bullocks pulling a cart which is laden with goods. A man is leading them and they appear to be walking past a building with the sign 1881 School of Arts. 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 bullock team also known as the bullock-wagon or the ox-wagon was basically a team of bullocks, which were paired up and connected in a long line or train and used in order to pull a two wheel cart and later other four-wheeled vehicle. The first known use of such a form or transport occurred in 1670 and would have been used in countries such as South Africa and later Australia, New Zealand and America. (Wikipedia, 2013) In Australia they were used throughout the 19th century and bullock wagons are given a great deal of credit to the building of the early colonies as they were depended on significantly for the shifting and transportation of building materials. They were also used in order to send supplies that were needed to build the early roads and even the rail as well as assist in the trade of products such as wool to and from the more isolated colonies. Some explorers also used them during their travels inland as they were often cheaper, hardier and easier to maintain than horses. The use of bullock teams continued as late as the 1960's at which time they were used predominantly in the timber industry. At times that transportation was required through a part of the outback that is less than hospitable, the bullock team is probably the most effective and successful choice of transport due to their sheer power and strong grip on uneven surfaces. (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2013)

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