coin celebrates 60 years since the end of World War II, a conflict in which Australia was heavily involved, both in Europe
and at home. This twenty cent coin is entitled Coming Home and represents the feelings of all Australians on receiving news
that the war was over and everyone who was still involved would be returning home. The image sculpted into this coin is based
on a photograph featuring a young girl meeting her father for the first time on his return home from war. Along with her
mother, the family embrace with smiles on their faces. In 1939, World War II began as Germany invaded Poland, resulting in
Britain and France declaring war on Germany. The move was not totally unexpected and throughout the 1930's tensions were
running high between various countries around the world. Not only was Germany planning to expand through Europe by means
of military conquest but so was Italy. Meanwhile Japan were intending to conquer Asia and the Pacific. Australia's involvement
came fairly early on, and as soon as Britain declared war Australia stood up in support of the British Empire. Throughout
the war over a million Australians took part, either overseas or as part of operations based at home, and this included both
men and women. Of this number 32,429 died and 66,563 were wounded, and 20 men were awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery
(Returned Services League, 2007)
The war against Germany and Italy resulted in Australians fighting all over Europe, the Mediterranean, and North Africa.
They were simultaneously fighting the Japanese in South-east Asia and the Pacific as well as protecting the Australian mainland.
This was the first time that the mainland had come under direct attack as the north-west was targeted by Japanese aircraft
bombers, and Sydney harbor targeted by submarines. Although willing and ready to show their support where needed, Australia
was not particularly well prepared for war. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) was the first to get involved in Italy; this
was followed by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in the Battle of Britain. The Army entered into combat in the Mediterranean
and North Africa. When Darwin was bombed in 1942 the RAN returned to defend the mainland, and both army and RAAF presence
increased. During this time women were permitted to take on war work and became more actively involved as nurses and doctors,
as well as members of the military in the air force, navy and army. 30,000 Australians were held as prisoners of war with
well over half of these captured by the Japanese who treated them terribly and led to the deaths of more than a third of
those captured. Germany surrendered in May 1945, but for Australia World War II was not over until the Japanese surrendered
in August 1945.
This coin was released for general circulation and was also included in the 2005 Six Coin Year Sets, which, in this particular
year, celebrated 60 years since the end of World War II. There were four sets released by the Royal Australian Mint containing
this coin, each with a different finish. These were a 6 coin uncirculated
coin set, the year's proof set, a silver proof set, and a gold proof set. The 2005 Six Gold Coin Proof set had a limited
of just 629, whilst the silver proof set was higher at 6,200, and the proof
set higher again at 46,404. In each of the sets the coins were displayed in a beautiful presentation case with a
booklet of information and certificate of authenticity included. The other special commemorative coins that featured in this
set were a one dollar coin named Peace and a fifty cent coin named Remembrance.
The reverse of this twenty cent end of war commemorative coin was
designed by Vladimir Gottwald who used an image from a famous photograph from the period of time after the war. A nationwide
hunt was conducted in order to find the girl in the picture; she was identified as Jacquie Dowling who, in the photograph,
along with her mother was welcoming home her father who had been a prisoner of war for a number of years. The
surrounding the iconic image reads WORLD WAR 1939-1945 COMING HOME. At the bottom of the coin is the denomination 20
cents. The obverse of the coin features the Ian Rank-Broadley portrait
of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the surrounding
ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 2005.
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