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Australia Coal Mines Historic Site

2011 Proof Five Dollar reverse 2011 Proof Five Dollar obverse

2011 Proof Five Dollar

Mintage:1,641
Reverse Designer:Vladimir Gottwald Obverse Designer:Ian Rank-Broadley Size:14mm Weight:1.24g Edge:Reeded Composition:99.9% Gold

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Sales History

This Five Dollar Solid Gold coin focusing on Hyde Park Barracks is part of the Colonial Heritage series. The coin forms part of a set of six which also includes Port Arthur Historic site, Cascades Female Factory, Freemantle Prison, Hyde Park Barracks and Old Government House. The reverse was designed by Vladimir Gottwald and features the artists drawing of the Coal Mines Historic Site viewed from inside one of its corridors. It contains the legend COAL MINES HISTORIC SITE 1/25 OZ.9999 Au. The obverse contains an Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Queen Elizabeth II right-facing with tiara and earrings. The legend ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 2011 5 DOLLARS encircles the image.

The Coal Mines Historic Site was originally a convict station. Based in Tasmania, Australia, it served as somewhere for the worst offenders to be placed from Port Arthur. It is located in bushland north of the Tasman Peninsula, beside the quiet waters of Little Norfolk Bay. This penal colliery operated from 1833 and was one of several along the Tasman Peninsula that used hard labour to extract natural resources. In 1841 the operation was mechanised and a steam engine was installed to pump water from the mine shafts. Long jetties were constructed to enable ships to transport the coal and a tramway system took the coal from the mineshafts to the Bay. Records show that over 60,000 tonnes of coal was produced from the site which now had a depth of over 300 feet (Australian Government, 2013) . Two working shifts of eight hours were operated for the convicts in the mines. There was also a Lime Kiln which remains visible even now. The station had a very hard line with the prisoners and there are many stories told about their lives. For additional punishment, there were solitary cells, but the main prisoner accommodation included dormitories and separate apartments. The station also had a reputation for homosexuality with many reports of such behaviour. The public and ultimately the British Government were appalled to the extent of its closure in 1848 on 'moral and financial' grounds. The station was still run privately until 1877. The Coal Mines Historic Site became a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 14th December 2001 and was included on the National Heritage List on the 1st August 2007. The site is of great cultural significance in showing Australia's convict history in its true light. Visitors to the site will be faced with understanding the harsh and grim realities of its history.

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