World Coins

Royal Australian Mint marks the telegraph on dollar coin

Australia celebrates a milestone in communication technology in that country with a 2022 dollar issued only for collectors.

Images courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint.

Australia celebrates a milestone in communication technology with a new aluminum-bronze dollar issued only for collectors.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the first telegraph being sent from Australia, the Royal Australian Mint on Aug. 3 released a dollar that depicts the Overland Telegraph Line running through the center of Australia, from Port Augusta to Darwin.

Historian Derek Pugh, author of Twenty to the Mile, wrote that “the Overland Telegraph Line was the internet of the day, allowing rapid communication with the world. It provided almost instant access to information and broke the tyranny of distance.”

The RAM calls the Overland Telegraph Line the greatest engineering success of the 19th century, which allowed Australia to join the modern world.

The 1872 opening of the Overland Telegraph connected Australia with the rest of the world, making electronic communication to London within seven hours a daily occurrence. The isolation of Australia diminished and life in Australia was changed forever.

Leigh Gordon, CEO of the Royal Australian Mint, said, “The Overland Telegraph was one of Australia’s significant innovations, changing the way Australian’s communicated with the rest of the world. Memorializing this magnificent feat on a coin will ensure it is remembered by generations to come.”

Design, specifications

The aluminum-bronze coin lists the 13 cities and towns on the Overland Telegraph Line and includes a Morse code message — translating to “39,000 poles and 2,839 kilometers” (about 1,764 miles) — the length of the line and the number of poles used to construct it.

The anniversary date of the Telegraph Line — 1872 to 2022 — is also in Morse code.

The 150th Anniversary of the Overland Telegraph Line coin weighs 9 grams and measures 25 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 15,000 pieces and is presented in a colorful card. It’s available for $15 Australian plus shipping, from the Mint’s eShop,

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