• 50 Cents 2001, KM# 491.1, Australia, Elizabeth II, 100th Anniversary of Federation, Commonwealth of Australia
  • 50 Cents 2001, KM# 491.1, Australia, Elizabeth II, 100th Anniversary of Federation, Commonwealth of Australia
Description

The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia agreed to unite and form the Commonwealth of Australia, establishing a system of federalism in Australia. Fiji and New Zealand were originally part of this process, but they decided not to join the federation. Following federation, the six colonies that united to form the Commonwealth of Australia as states kept the systems of government (and the bicameral legislatures) that they had developed as separate colonies, but they also agreed to have a federal government that was responsible for matters concerning the whole nation. When the Constitution of Australia came into force, on 1 January 1901, the colonies collectively became states of the Commonwealth of Australia.

In 2001 there were many coins released into circulation by the Royal Australian Mint commemorating the Australian Centenary of Federation. A one dollar coin, ten 50 cent coins and nine 20 cent coins. Nine of the 50 cent coins depicted the coat of arms of each state and territory of Australia that were joined together in 1901 at Australia's Federation.

Obverse

Fourth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara.

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara was a wedding present in 1947 from her grandmother, Queen Mary, who received it as a gift from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland in 1893 on the occasion of her marriage to the Duke of York, later George V. Made by E. Wolfe & Co., it was purchased from Garrard & Co. by a committee organised by Lady Eve Greville. In 1914, Mary adapted the tiara to take 13 diamonds in place of the large oriental pearls surmounting the tiara. At first, Elizabeth wore the tiara without its base and pearls but the base was reattached in 1969. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara is one of Elizabeth's most recognisable pieces of jewellery due to its widespread use on British banknotes and coinage.

Engraver: Ian Rank-Broadley

ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 2001
IRB

Reverse

Australia coat of arms (the escutcheon is carried by a Red Kangaroo and an Emu) and the numeral 50.

The escutcheon is the focal point of the coat of arms, contained within is the badge of each Australian state, the whole surrounded by an ermine border representing the federation of the states:

· New South Wales: the cross of St. George with lion and stars;
· Victoria: an Imperial Crown and Southern Cross;
· Queensland: a blue Maltese Cross and Crown;
· South Australia: the Australian piping shrike;
· Western Australia: a black swan;
· Tasmania: a red walking lion.

In the top half, from left to right, the states represented are: New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. In the bottom half, from left to right: South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. Above the shield is the seven-pointed Commonwealth Star or Star of Federation above a blue and gold wreath, forming the crest. Six of the points on the star represent the original six states, while the seventh point represents the combined territories and any future states of Australia. In its entirety the shield represents the federation of Australia.

The Red Kangaroo and Emu that support the shield have never been designated as official animal emblems of the nation. They owe their unofficial recognition to the fact that they are native Australian fauna (found only on that continent), and likely chosen because they are the most well-known native Australian animals large enough to be positioned together in scale holding up the shield.

The Commonwealth coat of arms is the formal symbol of the Commonwealth of Australia. The first arms were authorised by King Edward VII on 7 May 1908, and the current version by King George V on 19 September 1912.

Engraver: Stuart Devlin

AUSTRALIA
50

Edge

50 Cents

4th portrait
KM# 491.1 Schön# 600.1
Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Circulating)
Material Cupronickel
Weight 15.55 g
Diameter 31.5 mm
Thickness 3 mm
Shape polygon
Sides 12
Alignment Medal
Mint
Royal Australian Mint (RAM)

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