Volume 9 Issue 6                                                    INTERNET EDITION                                                             June 2004.

We trust that this issue of the Internet Edition will continue to provide interesting reading. The name of this Internet based newsletter is in keeping with the content so, bearing in mind our disclaimers, the Internet links selected are usually complimentary to the featured article in regard to: (1) illustrations and, (2) additional important information. Please also bear in mind that many Internet links are of a temporary nature.



Anyone who wishes to apply for membership to the non-profit making organization, and who is prepared to abide by the rules of the Society and its aim of promoting the study and enjoyment of the hobby of numismatics, should contact the following address for an application form and details of subscriptions: 


Tasmanian Numismatic Society.

G. P. O. Box 884J

Hobart. 7001.



G'DAY, MIKE NOURSE (A.C.C. Member # 94)

As many of our T.N.S. members are aware, the 'Anchorage Coin Club' (A.C.C.) has been a sister club of ours since 1996 and we have featured articles from their 'ACCent' newsletter from time to time. Unfortunately, the 'ACCent' newsletter - online version - had to be curtailed last August as it had outgrown its available webspace. Like the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition', the 'ACCent' online version was previously published under a private arrangement by a dedicated volunteer member of the 'Anchorage Coin Club', Editor Larry Nakata with whom I had several great phone conversations when the opportunity arose over the years.

I have recently been in contact with Mike Nourse (A.C.C. Member #94) from Alaska Coin Exchange: http://www.alaskacoinexchange.com/Index.htm , who is a long-time member of the A.C.C., and renewed our Tasmanian  'connection'. Mike advises that the 'ACCent' newsletter may be resurrected later this year - with luck - if webspace can be organised on his site. We will keep our own members posted if this possibility finds favour with the A.C.C. Committee.

As a leading coin and stamp dealer in Anchorage who specialises in the complete range of U.S. and world coins, Mike is also known to dabble with some Oz bits and pieces that caught his attention due to the interest created by the coin exchange system we had established between our two clubs over the last 8 years. He has been a prolific writer for the A.C.C. over the years and we have had the opportunity to publish some of his work in August 1998.("Is It Time To Stock Up On 1900 Dollars?") He now has included a selection of extremely informative aricles, particularly about U.S. coinage, on his website.

For our own T.N.S. members who are now collecting U.S. Quarters (or any other series) I think these articles are a 'must read'! They may be directly accessed at: http://www.alaskacoinexchange.com/Articles/Articles%20Index.htm and, for those who may want to make business inquiries about stock availability etc. of other items, Mike may be contacted at:

Alaska Coin Exchange

P.O.Box 190655

Anchorage, AK  99519-0655

Ph: (907) 344-9856




It was great to hear from Chris Heath and Roger McNeice that their individual vacations had worked wonders for them in terms of relaxation.

Both our Vice-president and President have been up to their necks in their business committments and they both admitted the break was a matter of neccessity.

This year has been an extremely busy one for Roger - and his 2IC, Chris -  and the  success of the OZMINT and Tasmedals businesses and the number of new and prestigious medal issues - including the official (strictly) limited edition Tasmanian Bicentenary Medal - are proof of the effort.

Firstly, Chris took the opportunity to visit the Land of the Great White Cloud, New Zealand, to do some deep sea fishing and then Roger went on a sea-cruise into the South Pacific to blow away the cobwebs. The Editor hopes to catch up with our prodigals shortly and get a few of their holiday stories first-hand and find out about the other exciting new releases planned for the balance of this year.



 2004 Bicentenary of Tasmania Medal with Numbered Certificate - Individually packed in Plush Bag

(Actual size approx 50mm - Metal composition Pewter with Enamelled Obverse)

Limited Edition 500 only.


2004 Tasmanian Bicentennial $5.00 Coin

The following is an excerpt from the Royal Australian Mint's - MINT 'eSHOP' - advertising in regard to the recently released $5.00 NCLT Fine Silver Proof coin - which was issued to commemorate the Bicentenary of European settlement in Tasmania and was retailing at A$79.50 (incl GST).


Quote - "Tasmania holds a special attraction for all who visit her shores and this fine coin has been minted in her honour.

"If I was obliged to emigrate I certainly should prefer this place: the climate and aspect of the country almost alone would determine me...All on board like this place (Tasmania) better than Sydney." - Charles Darwin.

Struck to commemorate the Bicentenary of European settlement of the Island State, this $5 Fine Silver Proof Coin was designed by Vladimir Gottwald. The design captures the spirit of sea travel and exploration, the rich cultural heritage of Tasmania and the rugged beauty of her flora.

The centrepiece of the coin is a commanding image of the Lady Nelson, sails full against the ocean breeze, cutting through the ocean. Other highlights include a map of the State and meticulously rendered Leatherwood blooms which are native to the island. This precious coin is presented in a beautifully crafted Tasmanian Oak box. Demand for this special release is sure to be high with a very limited mintage of just 7,500.



Details: Denomination $5.00  Metal 99.9% Fine Silver  Mass 36.31g  Diameter 38.74mm  Finish Proof  Mintage 7,500  Designer Vladamir Gottwald.

Reference: Royal Australian Mint - MINT eSHOP http://mintissue.ramint.gov.au/mintissue/product.asp?code=800092


It is somewhat regretable to learn that the Royal Australian Mint apparently overlooked making an allocation available for Tasmanian dealers to cater for those numismatists who normally obtain their new releases from local sources. A small trickle has made its way into the state from secondary suppliers and we have seen in the May issue of the Numi$News that some stock was still available in Sydney at Mint price from a T.N.S. recommended dealer, however, it would be wise to phone/fax at your earliest opportunity.

M.R. Roberts' Wynyard Coin Centre

7 Hunter Arcade, Sydney, N.S.W. 2000

Phone (02) 9299 2047 - Fax (02) 9290 3710






1942 - 1968 (Part 2) 

by Graeme Petterwood T.N.S. Member #332.

In our last issue, we studied the banknotes that had been used during the period 1942 - 1945 in the former Netherland Indies and the conclusion of this article takes us up to 1968 when the archipeligo of islands was finally consolidated as Indonesia.

In recent years, world events have again changed the face of the East Indies and surrounds - including Indonesia - and, no doubt, as time goes by, new or altered regional currencies will appear for our numismatic interest.


Captured by the Japanese, the area was inundated with Japanese Invasion Money (J.I.M.) that achieved acceptance from the Indonesian people who had been freed from the Dutch colonial rule and who now wanted independance. After the surrender of Japan, Indonesia's dreams were realised and they took advantage of the power vacumn.

On August 17th. 1945,  just a few days after the capitulation of the Japanese Armed Forces, the Republic was proclaimed - but it took until 1949 before it became a reality due to the reluctance of the Netherlands to relinquish the resource rich Indonesian islands 

During this time of conflict the J.I.M. still circulated as currency along with Dutch Guilders in areas occupied by the two factions.

The first note issues, from the authority of the  Republic of Indonesia, occured in 1961 with the release of a One Rupiah and a 2½  Rupiah note showing rural and cultural scenes. Another  2½ Rupiah note was issued that same year, in the former colony of Borneo, bearing the likeness of  President Sukarno. A second similar issue of One and 2½ Rupiah was also made in 1964 with the Sukarno portrait.

During this period, the Netherland Government was finding it increasingly difficult to resist the pressure from the Indonesian forces and it became obvious that several of their other former possession would fall under Indonesian jurisdiction. The situation was viewed with some alarm by the world community as the political climate at that time was under threat from pro-Communist  powers and many felt that Indonesia was destined to follow down the same path.

The inevitable collapse of Dutch and also Portuguese interests in the East Indies allowed the rapid Indonesian expansion, accompanied by military muscle, to occur.


Netherland Homeland Muntbiljet dated 8 August 1949 featuring Queen Juliana - who passed away in March, 2004

A similar series was issued in Dutch New Guinea (West Irian) in 1950, with appropriate o/p's and design variations, prior to the 1963 Indonesian take-over.


In 1963, a rural/cultural style 10 Rupiah was produced under authority of Bank Indonesia and in 1964 a fairly substantial range of notes were produced in denominations from 1 Sen - 10,000 Rupiah. Notes from 5 Sen to 50 Sen featured a uniformed man and woman Indonesian soldier - but not bearing arms.

Formatted in similar style to the Green-Blue 1 Sen which featured a straw-hatted rural worker, the military style notes also featured a similar reverse in the same colour as the obverse. The 5 Sen (female) was in Lilac-Brown, the 10 Sen (female) was in Blue-Black, whilst the 10 Sen (male) was Red on Green and the 25 Sen (male) was Purple on Pink. The other notes in this series were 25, 50, 100, and 10,000 Rupiah all with typical Indonesian rural and cultural themes.




The 1964 issue featured rural and military themes.


The final series of notes to feature in this  brief article were released in 1968. The denominations were 1 Rupiah(Red),  Rupiah (Dk.Blue), 5 Rupiah (Dull Lilac), 10 Rupiah (Lt.Brown), 25 Rupiah (Green/Brown), 50 Rupiah (Violet/Dk.Blue), 100 Rupiah (Deep Red), 500 Rupiah (Dk.Green), 1000 Rupiah (Orange/Dk.Brown - as sample shown), 5000 Rupiah (Blue-Green) and 10,000 Rupiah (Red-Brown/Violet) all featuring the effigy of General Sudirman as an obverse and various rural and semi-industrial themes as reverses.



General Sudirman features on all denominations in the 1968 series of Bank Indonesia notes.

(Panglima Besar Jendral Sudirman was the first general of the Indonesia Army Service formed in 1945)


From 1975 onwards, Bank Indonsia issued a plethora of colourful notes that continued with the rural, industrial and cultural themes. Most modern notes from 1975 - late 1990's featured a person of note but the denominations also reflected the growing inflationary trends in the country's economy prior to the mega inflation that occured in the whole central Asian regions in 2000, - and we may select and deal with some of them at a later date.



A selection of low value Indonesian currency 1984 - 1992 featuring indigenous wildlife and shipping.

All notes are from the author's circulated currency collection. Not to scale.


Additional Reference:

'Standard Catalog of World Paper Money' (Volumes 2 & 3) Krause Publication.




by Graeme Petterwood (T.N.S. member #332)

During the St. Patrick's Day* festivities on March 18th. 2004 I was asked a few questions about Irish numismatics that were not easily answered at the time.

I knew I had prepared an article some years ago so I had a search through the archives and found that it had been purged and put on disc. I located it again from December 1999 in an endeavour to answer those questions. I trust I won't bore our previous readers of this repeated article as it is aimed at a new audience of Irish-Australians and any new collectors who are watching the disappearance of the old European coins and currency systems.

*(It might be something Irish - but St. Patrick's Day is to actually to celebrate the anniversary of the saint's death).

Chapter 1

Was St. Patrick a Frenchman? The story of the world’s most well-known saint is a strange mixture of possible truths, likely myths and manufactured facts, but what is true is that he did exist - and his story is interwoven with Irish history as much as it’s coinage is.

According to some historians, Patrick was born in Dumbarton, Scotland, or in Wales, or even at Boulogne in France.

Before he was named Patricius, by Pope Celestine, his name was believed to have been Succath and he was first brought to Ireland as a slave when he was a young man.

It is recorded that he was the son of a wealthy patrician family, and he was captured by Norse raiders and carried across the Irish Sea and sold to a tyrannical and barbaric Irish land-owner named Milcho. After six years as a swineherd - or perhaps a shepherd - Succath had a vision that told him to leave Ireland because his destiny was to be a great leader, so he walked from Milcho’s farm to the coast, talked his way onto a ship and eventually made his way home - to wherever that was.

When he was about 30 years old, Succath had another more powerful vision - to go back to Ireland and convert the heathen - so he walked to Rome, received a new name and the blessing of Celestine, and in 432 A.D. he returned to Ireland with a group of priests. After one false start in County Wicklow, he set about his task at Strangford Lough in County Down where he converted the district chief, Dicho, and his family.

It is believed that Dicho’s barn became Ireland’s first church, after Patrick baptized the family and celebrated Mass there.

Patrick carried no weapons - a fact that amazed the warlike Irish chieftans and helped him survive many dangerous encounters.

It is said that Patrick’s old master, Milcho, and his family, burnt themselves to death in their house rather than risk being converted by their former slave whom they were convinced had attained supernatural powers.

Patrick, himself, wandered around for over 23 years baptizing people, ordaining priests and building churches, such as his main one at Armagh, before he considered his work established enough to pass it on to others to continue.

He eventually passed away, reputedly at the age of 102, and was he buried in several places - part of him at his Armagh church where he had died, but most of him is buried somewhere in County Down.

It is said that his remains were buried wherever the ox-cart that was carrying them had stopped on the way back to County Down and Dicho’s barn where he had started his life’s work.


The name ‘Eire’ is one of three names that parts of Ireland were once known as - the other two were Banba and Fodhla.

The three names were those of the highly esteemed wives of kings, Eathur, Teathur and Ceathur, who were from a group known as Tuatha de Dananns, who were descendants of the Nemedians, who had fled to northern Europe years before after a disastrous war with their neighbours, the Fomorians.  Many members of both these groups were Patrick’s converts - but they still liked to have an occasional fight - and if there were no strangers around, any neighbours would do!

The story of St. Patrick and the early Irish is a nebulous, violent thing but, at least, the coinage of Ireland is real enough.

In the very early pre-coinage days the Irish used cattle, gold rings1  and barter as the usual methods of transaction, but, as time went by, a few Roman coins and then a mixture of Gaulish (southern European) and early British coins found their way to the east coast of the Emerald Isle with traders - and other invaders - who arrived in the second and third centuries A.D.

This would have been the sort of polygot coinage that Patrick and his followers would have seen and used when they had the chance - although they were fed and housed by their converts in most instances. It is believed Patrick had considerable assets that he had inherited, but he was not backward in coming forward to accept gifts that he used, in turn, to help further his cause.


The early Danes and other Norsemen, who had settled around the coast and particularly near Dubh-linn (‘black pool’), were the minters of Ireland’s first coinage. The first Hiberno- Norse silver pennies2 were produced before the end of the 10th. Century and were very similar to other Anglo- Saxon coins in circulation at that time, but they soon became debased and cruder in design than the ‘English’ penny. By 1066, when the Norman invasion swept over England, the Irish coins were so thin they were not acceptable outside that country and the legends on the coins were blundered and meaningless.

In the early 12th. Century they had virtually become ‘wafer’ thin, and could not be struck in a normal fashion between the hardened dies and had to be impressed separately or as uniface only - these coins are known as ‘bracteates’3.

In 1169 the Anglo- Norman invasion of Ireland commenced under the direction of King Henry II and his army made up of Normans, Flemings and Welsh and in 1185 a very small issue of silver half-pence4  was produced, possibly in Dublin, in honour of the King’s son, Prince John, on his first visit to Ireland, after he had been appointed Lord of Ireland in 1172.           


 1. 2.                  3.        4.


Chapter 2

In our last chapter we told a little of the story of St. Patrick and his influence in the early part of Irish Christian history - an influence that has carried on until this day.

We then started to delve into the next great upheaval that had a huge effect on the politics and the coinage of Ireland. 

In 1169 the Anglo- Norman invasion of Ireland commenced under the direction of King Henry II , and we told how a very small issue of silver half-pence  was produced in 1185 to honour the first visit of his son, Prince John, who had been appointed ‘Lord of Ireland’ in 1172.

At age 19, John was not very impressed with the Emerald Isle when he landed at Waterford with his 400  young knights and army of cavalry and infantry. He insulted everyone and levied taxes on Anglo-Normans, Irish, and Welsh settlers and his retinue of like-minded courtiers turned powerful Irish friends of Henry’s into enemies very readily. Eventually the King recalled him and his cronies back to England in disgrace.

The death of Henry II, in 1189, saw John’s older brother, Richard ‘Coeur de Lion’, declared king.

We have all heard the stories of King Richard the Lion Heart - unfortunately they are not altogether true - prior to Henry’s death he imposed very harsh taxes on the country to finance his involvement in the 3rd. Crusade against the brilliant Saladin - who ultimately defeated him and sent him packing back to Europe.

On his way back to England, Richard was shipwrecked, captured by his European enemies and held for ransom as he tried to reach home disguised as a pilgrim, and he spent over a year imprisoned in Germany.

In the meantime, John was acting as regent and became responsible for the raising of the money needed to free Richard.

That part of the ransom money was diverted for John’s own use has been passed into English folk-lore as the story of ‘Robin Hood and his Merry men of Sherwood Forest’ - another mixture of fable and pure fiction, tinged with a little truth like the story of St. Patrick in Ireland. The huge sum was raised from taxes, and paid to the German Emperor for Richard’s release and eventually the king returned to be officially crowned at Winchester.

Before and after his Crusade exploits, Richard was continually arguing with relatives in France over lands he perceived were part of his inheritance from his father Henry II, and soon he went to war again to strengthen his claims - but, this time, with tragic consequences. He was mortally wounded by a crossbow bolt at Chaluz in the province of Limousin in 1199.

Prince John, who had been nick-named  ‘Lack-land’, was proclaimed King of England - and so began the reign of one of that countries most detested kings.

Between 1190 and 1199, a few silver farthings1 and another series of silver half-pennies2 of differing sizes had been minted bearing Prince John’s features within a circlet, and designating him as Lord of Ireland, were produced in Limerick, Waterford, Kilkenny, Dublin, Downpatrick and  Carrickfergus, even though John had kept well away from the place since the previous debacle.  Many of these coins also bore the names of the moneyers, or mint-masters, as well as the traditional holy cross3.

1.                          2.                            3.


In the north of the island, John de Courcy or Curcy, the Lord of Ulster, ‘a man of great stature and enormous physical strength’, had considerable land holdings in that area, and he had also started issuing silver farthing4 and half-penny5 coins from the towns of Carrickfergus and Downpatrick during 1185 - 1205.

John de Courcy’s coins bore both his name and that of St. Patrick - the half-pennies showing the symbolic crozier and the farthings all with various styles of crosses on both sides of the coin.

4.                                                                        5.


After the death, in 1176 at Dublin, of former viceroy, Richard de Clare, known historically as ‘Strongbow’ because of his expertise with the crossbow, King Henry II had appointed William FitzAdelm de Burgo as replacement and he was to be assisted by John de Courcy and others in an effort to control the wild Irish.

Henry considered it wise to recruit possible enemies to his side before they had any thoughts of doing anything rash - but didn’t realise that all those invaders who choose to stay and live in Ireland will eventually succumb to the spirits of the land.

John de Courcy was an imaginative leader as well as a fierce fighter and he had used a local superstition that was attributed to Merlin, the fabled English wizard, of a ‘White knight, mounted on a white steed, with birds on his shield’ to positively psyche his own English troops and terrify the poor Irish - and by both means he acquired the lands he wanted and kept them against all comers until he ran foul of the young Prince John.

The arrogant young prince had appointed one of his cronies, Hugh de Lacy, as Lord Justice - a position that the older de Courcy thought should have been his - and, as grudges are long held in Ireland, a disagreement always ended in conflict sooner or later!

On the accession to the throne by Prince John, the rebel de Courcy chose to make some very disparaging comments about the new king, so it was no surprise when the king sent an English army to admonish de Courcy - who was captured after creating a huge amount of mayhem in Northern Ireland.

(According to rumour, de Courcy had personally killed 13 men with a wooden crucifix before he was overwhelmed.)

He was sent to the Tower of London to repent in leisure and his lands were granted to Hugh de Lacey, who later also got into trouble with the king when he also turned Irish by fighting and starting to get too big for his boots.

Hugh de Lacey and his supporters ended up having to flee to France just ahead of another of King John’s armies.

However, according to legend, John de Courcy was freed by King John after being allowed to fight a French champion on the field of honour, under the rules of chivalry and, as a sign of his bravery and apparent contriteness, ‘he and his descendants were granted the right to wear hats forever in the presence of royalty’.   John de Courcy is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Between 1204 -1211, King John had his moneyers in Dublin, Limerick and Waterford produce a Silver Farthing6, Half-penny7 and Penny series showing his crowned bust within a triangle on the obverse and various celestial items and crosses enclosed in a triangle on the reverse8.


6.                                 7.                      8.


It was at about that time that King John had another problem on his hands - the Barons in England had rebelled and were demanding reform by way of the Magna Carta, and he was also faced with a dispute with the Pope. The Irish were well and truly left to their own devices for a while - and with typical and foreseeable consequences -  they all started to fight each other again!


Chapter 3

The Shamrock is said to be worn by the Irish upon the anniversary of their Saint Patrick because, when he preached to the pagan Irish, he often used the Shamrock - which is usually a three- leafed clover grass on a single stalk -  to illustrate the doctrine of the Christian Trinity.

The Harp was the traditional musical instrument, supposedly played by the biblical King David, that was first featured on the silver Groats of Henry VIII in 1534, and which has remained linked with the Irish coinage until this day.

In Chapter 2 we were told how the Irish and King John of England chose to violently disagree with each other and how, sooner than later, the spell of the country tends to overcome all invaders and turn them into Irish more Irish than the Irish!    

This segment continues the story from the Anglo-Norman King John to the reign of the first Tudor king, Edward IV and relates how the mystical country and these early English kings reacted to each other.

By the early 1200’s, the Anglo-Norman lords that John had appointed as his representatives on the Emerald Isle had started to turn Irish and, in typical fashion, they fought amongst themselves with a vengeance while, back in England, John had more troubles than he really cared to contend with.

His fiery elder brother, the famed King Richard, had been mortally wounded and had died in France after trying to claim, by force of arms, lands he considered were his - and John, whilst cunning, vindictive and devious, did not have the same strength of will - nor the finances - to control, or buy, the loyalty of the barons of England and Normandy.

By 1204, he had lost Normandy to France and, with it, most of his baronial support, but he made one more visit to Ireland with a powerful enough army to pull the Irish lords and hordes back into line.

Before returning to his troubles in England, King John appointed John de Grey, who was the bishop of Norwich, as Lord Justice but, as soon as the king and his army disappeared over the horizon, the Irish lords began killing each other again regardless, and this time the king couldn’t be bothered to intervene.

Eventually, John was forced to abdicate a lot of his monarchical powers and bow to the will of the barons and, in 1215, he was extorted to sign a document stating his compliance with their demands. This historical document is known as the Magna Carta. John was a broken and detested man when he died in 1216 at the age of 49.  He left the squabbling Anglo-Norman and Irish barons to his 9 year old eldest son, Henry III, to fight with for the next 56 years.

Henry, though an inept ruler, mended some of the old French alliances - much to the dismay of the Anglo-Norman barons who thought they had taken the power away from the monarchy and could see the potential dangers in the renewed friendships.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, the fighting went on and on - and the minting of new coins, on Henry’s behalf, was left to his younger brother Richard, Earl of Cornwall.

In 1247, Richard was granted the right of king’s moneyer for a period of 12 years - in return for a very large loan he had made to the king - and he was to receive half the profits from the deal in repayment.

The initial runs of Irish sterling silver penny coins, which were actually minted in London by Richard Bonaventure and David of Enfield, were very similar on the obverse to those produced for King John, in that the bust was enclosed in a triangle, but the new reverse featured the Long Cross with three pellets in each quadrant.

 By 1251 the same style coinage1 was again being produced in Dublin, by Roger de Haverhull as mint manager, but in January 1254 that mint was closed as being no longer profitable to operate - but, by then, it was then considered that sufficient coinage was available for Irish requirements.

Because of Henry’s alliances in France - many of the new Irish sterling silver penny coins were taken back to England for use in covering the costs of his continental involvement - and it was not economically feasible to make a complete range of silver coins for the Irish. As only the silver pennies had been made, it was an obvious step to use the coins cut into halves and quarters, as Half-pennies and Farthings2.


1.                             2.


Whether Henry III disliked Ireland as much as his father, King John, is not recorded, but Henry appointed his 16 year old son, Edward, as Lord of Ireland in 1254 and seemed to prefer to stay away from its wild and disturbing influences.

It was not until 1276, four years after Edward I, known as ‘Longshanks’ had become king, that coinage production was resumed in Dublin under the direction of mint manager, Richard Olof. The basic sterling silver penny coin3 was continued, and except for a small alteration to the hair-style to distinguish it from Henry’s issue, Edward’s coinage remained virtually unaltered for about 3 years, even to the retaining of the late monarch’s name on the penny.

In late 1279 - early 1280, Edward decided that enough was enough of ‘HENRICUS’ - so in with ‘EDW’ - and to further distinguish his coinage4, the triangle on the obverse was inverted and the moneyer or mint-master’s name was omitted, although the mint name was still shown. The quality of the silver also remained at .925 Sterling.


3.                4.


During the next five or six years, as well as restarting the Dublin Mint, it was decided that others would be temporarily re-opened at Waterford and Cork, to produce the additional pennies and half-pennies5 needed for the re-coinage operation. 

Farthings6 were only made at Dublin and at Waterford, which closed again in 1295 - the same year as the Cork Mint was re-opened for a short time to finish the penny7 and half-penny re-coinage for that particular area. Silver pennies and half-pennies continued to be produced at Dublin until about 1302 - but many were exported back to England  to cater for the continuing continental requirements of the monarchs.

In 1307,  Edward I died at Burgh-over-Sands at the age of 68 and the crown passed to his 23 year old son, Edward II, who was never destined to be the wise king that his father had proven to be. Edward I had subjugated the Scots, when he executed Wallace and won over Robert Bruce, and after he had also completed the conquest of Wales, he then consolidated his reign over a relatively united kingdom by implementing many wise laws - and he  made friends with many Irish lords who had helped him fight the Scots, because they had no-one to fight at home - at the time.


5.                        6.                         7.


However, the young Edward II had an arbitrary, cruel disposition and before long he had re-ignited Scottish enmity, fought and lost the Battle of Bannockburn to Robert Bruce, lavished concessions on his cronies and turned friends into deadly foes - and upset the Irish again enough for them to run around making war on everyone English with the help of a couple of Scottish armies led by Robert and Edward Bruce, who had popped back over for a quick fight and a bit of English booty, before the Irish changed their minds again and took to them instead.

When things started to go against them, the wise Robert Bruce decided to return to Scotland - but his brother, Edward Bruce, stayed too long and was cut up into little pieces by some of the civilised Irish lords who had changed sides again so they could have another fight, and his head was sent back to England for Edward II to put on display.

By 1327 the English lords had endured enough of Edward II - he was forcibly deposed and finally murdered at Berkeley Castle during that same year.  No Irish coinage exists bearing his name, although it is known that similar English and Scottish coinage was brought to Ireland by his friends and foes and circulated freely during his turbulent 20 year reign.


The reign of Edward III started when he was 15 years old  - fortunately, he had more of the temperament of his grand-father and eventually he would prove to be a fairly able monarch. He inherited the problems of his father, however, and had to spend nearly all of his 50 year reign, and lots of money, fighting both the Scots and the French as well as ruling and trying to rebuild the run down economy of the country..

He left the Irish mainly to their own affairs - fighting and killing each other as usual - although he slowed them down a gear on a couple of occasions by using Irish against Irish until they were utterly exhausted, and then either rewarding or subduing the winner, thus getting a series of temporary ‘peaces’ until they got their breaths back again.

By persuading large numbers of Flemish textile workers to settle in England, Edward III gradually built the foundations of a commercial  industry that would ensure economic power for many years - but that was still far in the future.

Coining money for Ireland was nearly out of the question during this time and the only known mintage was done in Dublin in 1339/40 and consisted of a very few silver half-pennies8 styled on the English coin of 1335-43. This half-penny coin is now extremely rare.

It was also during Edward’s reign that the Black Death arrived in Ireland - the first deaths were recorded  in 1348, again the plague struck in 1361 and for the third time in 1370.  The pestilence raged through the coastal towns, but the ‘wild Irish’ in the hills seemed to miss out - but it slowed down their fighting again, somewhat!




Edward III, who had married Philippa of Hainault and was the father of Edward the ‘Black Prince’, died in 1377 and was succeeded by his grandson, Richard II, who was then only 10 years old, and heir to a nation still in the grip of the economic depression that had not righted itself.

In 1381, at age 14 and under the guidance of his uncle, Thomas the Duke of Gloucester as regent, King Richard II started to make mistakes that would eventually cost him dearly both financially and personally.

During an uprising led by Wat Tyler, promises were made to the civilian rioters that were never kept and, by 1396, seven years after he started to rule in his own right, Richard II started to show the same signs of tyrannical behaviour that had been the undoing of his great-grandfather, Edward II.

Richard’s opponents were banished or put to death on the slightest pretence and the young king became a complete despot and adjudged to be obviously unstable.

In 1394 Richard invaded Ireland with an army of 34,000 men to put down an insurrection and, after the Irish had shown him due homage, he had returned back to England a ‘delighted’ king - and the Irish got back to fighting the local English.

An infuriated Richard returned to Waterford with another great army, but this time the Irish decided they needed a fight - so they just disappeared into the hills and killed his men from ambush or made a raid when they decided to stir things along.

Realising his army could not beat them under those conditions, the king once again headed back to England where things had deteriorated greatly and he had to quell a rebellion led by another of his uncles, John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster.

By 1399 the opposition had grown to the point where history repeated itself and, like Edward II, he was forcibly deposed and sent to Pontrefact Castle where he died of starvation in early 1400.

No Irish coinage is known to have been made during Richard II’s 23 year reign.

Richard apparently died without issue and John of Gaunt’s son, the poetry and music loving Henry of Lancaster, known as ‘Bolingbroke’, was next in line for the throne.

He became Henry IV, the first Lancastrian monarch, at the age of 32 and ruled for 14 years - during that time he sent his son, also Henry, Duke of Lancaster, to Ireland as temporary Lord Lieutenant and the locals thought it would be a good reason to start fighting again - as soon as he left.

Like other English monarchs, when the young Duke became King Henry V in 1413 at age 26, he really didn’t want to know the Irish and went off to war with the French instead - and won the famous Battle of Agincourt on 25th. October 1415.

Left to their own devices the Anglo-Irish became very Irish and fought every other Irishman, as usual - and still no Irish coinage was issued.


Henry V only had one son, also named Henry, who came to the throne in 1422, as a 9 month old baby, and then was destined to have a very troubled life.

Like his grand-father, Henry IV, this new king grew to be a gentle, retiring man who favoured the arts.

In 1440, Henry VI founded Eton College and in 1441 he also founded King’s College at Cambridge.

The continual wars with France went badly for the un-warlike Henry VI and all the English possessions in France were lost, insurrections at home continued that culminated in the bloody ‘War of the Roses’ that started  in 1455.

In 1461 Henry VI was overthrown by the victorious Yorkists, led by Richard, Duke of York and a direct descendant of the second son of William III.  Richard’s son Edward was declared King Edward IV and reigned until 1470.

Henry VI, meanwhile, remained imprisoned in the Tower of London until Edward IV fled to France after he too was overthrown in turn by an army led by supporters of the ‘real’ king.

Henry was released and restored to the throne again in October 1470 -  however, it was a short lived restoration, as Edward IV raised another mercenary army and returned from the Continent and reclaimed the kingdom for the second time. The gentle Henry was again imprisoned - then murdered the same night, in April 1471. There would be no third chance!

However, during 1425 -6, the Dublin Mint had been directed by the King’s Council, under Henry’s name, to produce a silver penny9 to English specifications and in the style of the English 1422 -26 series, which had been made at London, Calais and York.. This was to be the only Irish coin produced by a Lancastrian monarch.




It was known that many false and clipped English coins were in circulation in Ireland at the time and Henry’s Anglo-Irish Parliament in Drogheda decided, in 1460, to introduce a new debased coinage with a distinctive Irish design - but, before it could be implemented, Henry VI was overthrown and the idea was put on hold until the first Yorkist monarch, Edward IV came to the throne.


Chapter 4 

In Chapter 3, the story was briefly told of the last Lancastrian king, Henry VI who was imprisoned when the Yorkist, Edward IV came to power. After years on the throne, Edward IV was temporarily deposed and fled to France - but he reclaimed the throne of England almost immediately and had the hapless Henry re-imprisoned and murdered. Because of the turbulent times, Irish coinage production was also in a state of flux. This concluding part in the series takes us to the times of the infamous Henry VIII - and the introduction of the Harp Coinage.

In 1460, Edward IV thought he had consolidated his position as the King of England so, between that date and 1463, an issue of coinage was authorised for Ireland. It was specifically designed for that country and, in an effort to retain it there, the silver weight was only three-quarters that of similar English coins.

The Irish problem was still plaguing the English - as part of the country had decided that they would support the ‘red rose’ of Lancaster and another part the ‘white rose’ of York - and it didn’t matter much that the war had been fought and won - for the first time - in England. The Irish sides continued to reek havoc on any of the opposing English sides - and, occasionally, each others supporters - and many heads rolled!

The early confusion about the monarchy lead to that issue of Irish money which is historically known as the ‘Anonymous Crown Coinage’.  It consisted of a series of Groats1 and Pennies2, that bore no monarch’s name, but instead featured a distinctive large crown in place of a royal portrait, and during this time even debased billon (silver mixed with a large quantity of copper) farthings3 made an appearance.


1.2.   3.


By 1463, Edward considered he was secure enough as king to at least add his name and a few Latin and Irish embellishments to the Crown coinage, but the cost of the war had caused a considerable drain on the royal purse, so the Groat4 was again reduced in weight to about two-thirds of the current English coinage which had also suffered from inflation. A farthing5 with a portrayal of St. Patrick as the obverse and with a cross and roses reverse, was also produced during this series.

From 1465 -67 Edward still didn’t show his face on the Irish coins - instead his mints at Dublin and Waterford issued coinage that featured the Yorkist rose as an obverse and a stylised sun as an reverse  - the ‘rose en soleil’ issue. 6.


4.        5.       6.


The coinage was again devalued in 1467 to be only half that of its English equivalent - but Edward’s portrait and title was now the dominant obverse feature , with the sun and rose combined as its reverse.  The series, that included a Penny, Half-Groat, Groat and a 45 grain Double Groat 7also had an unusual farthing8, which was without the royal portrait but instead featured three crowns, within a shield, as its obverse.

This series continued until 1470 until the coinage reverted to similar designs and weights as the English issues but with Irish mint-marks to signify where they had been made. Several temporary mints were opened at Galway, Cork and Limerick to supplement the other usual mints which also included Drogheda and the fortress of Trim. It was at this time, however, that problems had arisen back in England with the re-emergence of Henry VI, who many still considered to be the rightful king of that country.

Edward de-camped for places on the continent that were a little less unfriendly - and the Irish got ready to fight the winner!

Poor gentle Henry VI didn’t last long - Edward returned almost immediately with an army of mercenaries to beef up his local supporters and threw Henry back into prison for the day - he was murdered that same night! No third chance to come back!

With his troubles now apparently dead and buried, Edward’s Irish coinage improved in quality and, for a time, it took on extra weight - the Groat went back up to 41 grains9 - and coins were widely minted.


7.       8.                    9.


But, like the proverbial bad penny, trouble came back to haunt Edward again as the divided English loyalties continued to flare up, and he was forced to withdraw many of his English troops from Ireland. This suited the fighting Irish no end - to be sure!

At one stage it is reported that the English strength was down to ‘80 archers on horseback and 40 mounted spear-men’ - any of the Irish chiefs could have driven them out  - but they were having too much fun fighting amongst themselves without any  serious interruptions.

The coinage was also suffering again, and by 1472 the Groat10 was down to 32 grains and would remain so for about 4 -5 years. It was also during this time an effort to use other foreign gold currencies in Ireland was encouraged.

Along with ducats, cruzados, salutes and other French coins, the English were also allowing some of their own national gold coinage of Nobles and Angels to circulate as they were valued at a higher rate in Ireland, .

For the last five years of the despotic Edward IV’s reign, which finished with his death in 1483, the reverse design of his Irish coinage featured the combined cross with centred rose11.


10.                                    11.


Edward was to be succeeded by his son, Edward V, but the 13 year old king was immediately taken into custody - for his own ‘safety’ - by his 31 year old uncle, Richard.

As the self- appointed ‘Protector’, Richard then reported that the boy king and his younger brother, the Duke of York, had been foully murdered in the Tower of London by hirelings of their late father’s enemies, and, of course,  that he had no option but to proclaim himself as King Richard III. 

His reign was to be short, as even the most naive Englishman realised the terrible truth. The unscrupulous Richard was in trouble from then on and - even though he was an able administrator and a good soldier - he was eventually killed at Bosworth Field in 1485, after an uprising that supported the Earl of Richmond - who later became Henry VII. (Richard III was the king who lost his horse during the battle and who, supposedly, offered his kingdom for a replacement )

During the Plantagenet king Richard III’s two year reign, a transitional mixture of similar coinage was available in Ireland that bore both Edward IV and Richard III’s names, and although a Groat12 and Penny13 in the old style are definitely attributed to Richard, he soon had his own brief series of coins, featuring the three crowns, being produced at Dublin and Waterford14.

After Richard’s death in battle, Henry VII, the first of the Tudor kings, decided to continue the basic designs of the Irish coinage and did so until 1498 when he introduced a Dublin produced series of Groat15, Half-Groat and some Pennies with a portrayal of his bust. During the next seven years some slight variations occurred with the coin reverses but, basically, the traditional obverse bust form was kept.



                12.                               13.



14.           15.


It is interesting to note that on 24th. May, 1487, a ‘pretender’ to the throne was crowned in Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin.

Taking the title King ‘Edward VI’, Lambert Simnel, the son of an Oxford tradesman, was presented as being the Earl of Warwick - escaped from the Tower. The ‘Pretender’ had Groat16 coins struck by his supporters, the FitzGeralds, sometime between May and July of that year, at the Dublin and Waterford mints, in the three crowns style of the not-lamented King Richard III.

The series, now including a  Groat and a Half-Groat17, was continued, with slight modifications made by the ‘Geraldines’, after Simnel left Dublin with a force of Irish and German troops to try and take the English throne but, after the ‘pretender’ was defeated at the Battle of Stoke in Nottinghamshire by Henry VII, the English king then issued a legal ‘three crowns’ design once more for Ireland.

16.               17.


Henry then tried again to bring peace to Ireland by offering a pardon to Gerald FitzGerald, the powerful Earl of Kildare. Known, or potential, dissenters to the king’s rule had often been given places of rank in an effort to keep them in line - but the twice lucky, Gerald the Earl of Kildare thought he was lucky he didn’t lose his head.

Again he had been forgiven and retained his position of esteem - because the king actually liked him!

As a gesture of goodwill Henry invited the Earl and other Irish nobles to a banquet in London and then watched, with interest, as the young Lambert Simnel, ‘Edward VI’, reduced to a serving boy, humbly served them their roast beef at the table.

The Earl, in his typically Irish fashion, went back to Ireland - and again got ‘the sack’ from the king when he went on the rampage with great Irish vigour.

After trying to burn down the Church at Cashel because he thought the archbishop was inside, the Earl and his brother James were detained under orders from the leaders the Anglo - Irish parliament and sent to England again as prisoners.

So great was his grasp of the ‘blarney’ that the Earl managed to convince Henry to forgive him once again - but, this time in a stroke of diplomatic genius, the king appointed him as  Lord Lieutenant of Ireland - the most powerful post in Ireland - and Kildare became Henry’s ablest ally from that day forth.

When Kildare returned to Dublin he did what he did best - under his guiding influence, he persuaded the major chiefs to fight each other to a bloody standstill - and he was made a Knight of the Garter for bringing peace to Ireland - and under Kildare’s stewardship, Ireland then had an unprecedented time of peace - with just the usual small wars amongst neighbours and nobles - but nothing really major that would upset the king who had spared him three times.

Towards the end of Henry’s reign he decided to issue a portrait coinage, and between 1498 -1505, a series of  32 and 28 grain silver Groats18 plus Half-Groats and Pennies was minted at the Dublin Mint.




It was to be the astute king’s last Irish issue. “Henry VII was probably the best business man to sit upon the English throne.” wrote Winston Churchill in later years.

Kildare was even kept on as Ireland’s Lord -Lieutenant when the dashing 18 year old Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509.

When he eventually died at Athy, as an old retired man, Gerald FitzGerald - the most illustrious Earl Of Kildare, was buried at Christ Church with the eulogy -‘he was valourous, princely and religious’ - even though had tried to burn the Cashel Church and its archbishop, and had continued to storm a castle or three right up until the time he decided to put up his sword.


Besides being a monarch who couldn’t keep his hands off the ladies, Henry VIII was a king who liked to keep his fingers on the purse-strings, if not inside the purse itself, and it was 25 years into his reign before he authorised another Irish coin issue - and it was to be minted in England with silver of a slightly more debased standard than the English Sterling of the time. The obverse was to feature a Crowned Shield, divided with a Cross, that included the Royal Coat-of-Arms.  

For the first time the traditional Harp was to be featured as a reverse on Irish coinage.

This distinctive instrument would, from then on, take its place in Irish numismatic history as it still continues to make its appearance on various Irish coins.

The first of Henry VIII’s Irish issues was made in 1534 and consisted of a series of  .842 fineness silver Groats19 and Half-Groats20 - but it was at this time, however, that Henry started to have problems with his queens - and the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1540 the second issue silver Groat series, although similar to its predecessor, had been reduced to .758 fineness.

In 1541, Henry had prevailed upon the Anglo-Irish Parliament to be recognised as the supreme head of the church in Ireland -  and also that year an Act was passed that made him the King of Ireland as well as England.

This was a direct challenge to the idea that only the Pope could grant temporal lordship over Ireland, but Henry’s position in Ireland gave the Irish someone to side with if there was the chance of another fight with foreign troops - so they supported him.

From 1541 all of Henry’s coins bore the legend Hiberniae Rex21 instead of Dominus Rex.


19.  20.    21.


Problems with the Irish started again after the death of old Gerald FitzGerald, but Henry had persuaded the Earl’s son, Gerald the Younger, who was evidentally also known as Garret Oge, to continue the work of his father. The system of ‘divide and conquer’ was taken to its ultimate under Henry VIII’s supervision.

Eventually, of course, the usual intrigues came back into the feuding families of Ireland, and Henry took the drastic action of hanging or beheading as many of his detractors that were still alive - this included a heap of the FitzGeralds - and peace again prevailed.

The third Groat series in 1543 was improved back up to .833 fineness, but the following year the value of the newest Groat - which was normally Fourpence - was restated, in Ireland, to be worth 6d. but its silver content was reduced to .666 fineness22 and, as before, Irish coins were prohibited from being re-imported to England.

There was still worse to come, as the now dissolute king continued to plunder his own Treasury - between 1544 - 46, the fineness was again reduced, firstly to .500 with more Sixpenny Groats series and then in 1546 -47 it ended up at .250 fineness - the standard to which the debased English coinage had also deteriorated23.


22.      23.


In 1547, the unloved King Henry VIII died from his excesses - but the Harp that he had introduced onto his Irish coinage survived, and was continued on by his descendants - and eventually by the people of Ireland who elevated it onto the obverse of all of their basic circulating coinage from 1928 - and it has carried forward onto the new Euro coinage of today.

 Main References:- 

Coins and Tokens of Ireland. (Part 3.) compiled by Peter Seaby.  Published by B. A. Seaby Ltd

“Are You Irish or Normal?”   by John O’Grady.   Published by Seal Books. 1995.

Pears Cyclopaedia. 1983-4.   edited by C. Cook. Published by Chaucer Press

Coincraft’s Standard Catalogue. edited by Richard Lobel.  Published by Krause Publications.

Leuchtturn (Lighthouse) Euro Coin Set Collection. Original E.C.C. states' (12) coin sets.



AUSTRALIA 1854 - 2004


by Graeme Petterwood.(T.N.S. Member #332)

The story of the battle at the Eureka Stockade (December 3rd. 1854) is an inspiring one - not because of any great victory but because it was a struggle to see justice done. In fact, it was a defeat that eventually turned into a victory - but it is also a story that has been put aside, to some extent, in favour of many momentuous historical events that happened in the outside world at that time and which caught and retained our attention over the decades.

Our children probably know more about mid 1800's American history than some important Australian events - more's the pity - so I take this opportunity of showing a parallel between our two great nations and trust that  the release of this new coin may just be a catalyst to awaken our sense of pride in the people of our nation - before it became a nation.

The event that instigated the coin release did not have the scope of the famous Californian Gold Rush - but the search for the precious metal was involved and blood was spilled in Australia against the military forces of the British Empire for much the same reason that prompted the American Revolution - resistance to perceived tyranny.



  • 'California! California! California! - For San Francisco California Direct! - To the Goldfields - Sailing Immediately!'
    Terms - £30 - 40 (including wine and spirits) for Cabin passage.
    £20 - 30 Intermediate.
    £15 - 20 Steerage.
    Freight - £6 per Ton.
    Horses - £50 (Food and water found, Groom provided.) A fortune to be made by any man. Horses are worth £300 - 400 in California.
    Seeds 20/- a case suitable for starting a garden complete.'

    So reads the shipping news of the early 1850's in the Australian colonial newspapers.
    The reason for this was, of course, the discovery of gold in the Californian Territory. On 24 January 1848 while checking the water in the sluice of a nearly completed sawmill, carpenter James W. Marshall noticed tiny golden flecks on the bottom of the millrace. It was that most sought after of metals - Gold!
    The site of the discovery was about 65kms (40 miles) from Sutters Fort, the headquarters of John A. Sutter (1803 - 1880). Sutter, who had been granted over 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) on the banks of the American River east of San Francisco by the Mexican governor of California, tried to keep the news quiet to protect his farming and ranching empire from gold-crazy prospectors - but to no avail!
    By mid-May, the rumour reached a Mormon merchant, Sam Brannan, who was shrewd enough to see the potential fortune from supplying prospectors - and he made sure the word was spread after going to Sutters Mill to see for himself!
    Brannan returned with a bottle full of gold-dust and ran through the streets with the cry of, "Gold! Gold! Gold from the American river!"
    Within a few weeks San Francisco virtually had no men left! - The Rush was on!
    Tools and supplies from Sam Brannan - of course! 

    In August 1849, the Californian price of flour increased to $4.00 kg and potatoes to $1.25 kg - compared to Australia at that time (potatoes were about 0.2 cents kg) prices were astronomically high! Clothing was in extremely short supply and, in any case, was soon reduced to rags in the hard conditions encountered on the goldfields. This was the time that the young Levi Strauss, from New York, struck it rich by making his famous denim trousers.
    Unfortunately, for every entrepreneur who achieved riches through diligence, there came the other type of opportunist who was out to make a fortune from the goldfields by less honourable ways.

    In 1848, just before the rush, the population of California was about 20,000 - but by 1852 it had grown to 225,000 and the territory had become part of the United States of America.
    San Francisco had recovered from its initial depopulation and had exploded with new life as the immigrants poured through the main entry port to the goldfields.
    Mining camps had sprung up overnight with such colourful names as Hangtown (Placerville), Liar's Flat, Rawhide, Red Dog and Poker Flat. Populations of these camps were usually made up of a grand mixture of Europeans, Asians, South Americans and Australians - but with the miners from Australia also came the dregs of the colonies - the ex-convicts!
    These men, lured by the thoughts of easy pickings, teamed up to form some of the most villainous gangs of thugs in the growing city of San Francisco. The worst gang was the 'Sydney Ducks' and it is believed that their vicious treatment of their victims prompted the formation of the Committee of Vigilantes led by that influential merchant, Sam Brannan.
    Between 1849 and 1851 there had been over 1,000 murders in San Francisco and the corruption of law-enforcement officers had led to the situation where the 'Ducks' were getting away with many of these murders, as well as arson and blatant robbery, without any repercussions.
    On 9 June 1851, and then for a period of 10 weeks, the Vigilantes took the law into their own hands and rounded up many of the worst offenders, tried and hung some and banished many more 'on threat of death' if caught again!
    During a 5year period, the Committee went into recess and reformed whenever it felt it was needed. It was finally disbanded in July 1856 when the gold rush moved back into Montana and the eastern states.
    It is reported that, in its heyday, 'Frisco had 46 gambling dens, 48 bawdyhouses, 537 saloons as well as 144 restaurants.



    Gold was also having its effect at home in Australia.
    Small quantities of the precious metal had been discovered in 1839, ten years before the Californian strike, by the Polish explorer, Paul Strzelecki, near the New South Wales town of Hartley.  Like John A. Sutter, the colonial governor of N.S.W., Sir George Gipps, feared the effect it would have on the settlers and convicts in the area so he had the news suppressed.
    In 1841, Hartley was again the scene of another find - this time by an Anglican minister and geologist, William Branwhite Clarke - and, again, the news came to nothing
    However, early in 1849 on a property 160km from Melbourne, a boy named Chapman found 1000 grams of the stuff and took it to a jeweller in the city to see if it was worth much. This time there was no chance of a cover-up and the search was on!
    In June 1851 near Ready Creek, just 25km southwest of Bathurst, N.S.W., a prospector named Hargraves discovered diamonds while hunting for gold. His search continued and, after another month and 80km further north at Turon River, a 39,564 gram nugget later to be known as the 'Kerr Hundredweight' was discovered.
    Edward Hammond Hargraves was later found to have cheated two of his partners to claim the reward bounty and an annual pension - but the discovery heralded the start of the real rush!

    Just as in California, the population of New South Wales and then Victoria was dramatically increased.
    During the boom period, of about 10 years, Australia grew with the influx of 740,000 new arrivals from all over the world.
    They arrived by all manner of ships, from the new American designed and built clippers down to the uncomfortable, overcrowded hulks out of Liverpool and elsewhere - after paying exorbitant fees for the privilege.

    Hundreds of poor Irishmen, after leaving the Great Famine in their home country behind them, were attracted to the goldfields in an effort to win a fortune - or even just to make a living. Many had been dis-illusioned by the lack of assistance from the British Government  in regard to the thousands of Irish men, women and children who had died from starvation or had been driven from their homes by opportunistic landlords, particularly in the rural areas which were mainly controlled by British interests, when the potato crop was blighted or failed over an extended period from 1845 to 1850. http://www.irelandstory.com/past/famine

    These men already had a short fuse - which was just waiting to be lit.


    THE FIRE IS SET.............
    In May 1851, the N.S.W. Governor, Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy, had declared that all rights to any gold found in the colony belonged to the Crown and that a monthly licence fee of 30 Shillings (30/-) would be introduced. In some cases this resulted in a 60/- impost on foreign miners and was considered unwarranted and resented by the majority on the goldfield!  Fees were also being imposed on the non-British miners by the N.S.W. Gold Management Act of 1852, as well as a licence requirement for all miners and traders who worked on the goldfields.
    After confrontations and petitions the N.S.W. government, fearing trouble, reduced the cost to 10/- a month. This was closely followed by the Victorian Governor, Charles Joseph LaTrobe, who brought the fee, for that state, down to 1 pound (20/-)

    On 2 May 1854, the appointment of the unpopular Sir Charles Hotham as Lieutenant Governor of Victoria was gazetted and this caused further unrest. Hotham was concerned at the loss of revenue caused by the reduction in the licence fees and, like others before and after, he decided to make up the shortfall by another method.  He declared that all licence conditions would be adhered to - no exceptions!
    Strict and sometimes violent administration was implemented, and this enforcement of the 'pay up or else' attitude united the miners who, by now, felt that they were not getting a fair go from the Victorian government.
    The formation of the Gold Miners Association in September 1854 was to give a united voice to air the grievances of many of the men who considered that the miners should have the right to set up a system that was equitable for the conditions of the goldfield being worked. In some areas, gold was alluvial and reasonably easy to mine, but in other places it meant that precious time had to be spent in digging shafts and hard rock drilling had to be undertaken before a return could be expected.

    Respect for authority, especially English, was always rather non-existent amongst the mix of ethnic groups that made up the goldfields population.
    To make it worse, the authorities made no effort to compromise in the ever-increasing atmosphere of civil unrest.
    In early October 1854, the seething came to the boil at the Eureka Hotel near Ballarat in Victoria.
    In the early hours of 6 October 1854 a miner, James Scobie, was brutally kicked to death after becoming involved in an argument in the hotel. It was alleged that the licensee of the hotel, James Bentley, and 3 others were involved.

    The defendants pleaded 'Not Guilty' on October 12 and all were acquitted - much to the anger of the other miners who considered that this was a case of favouritism by the despised police.
    Events then started to escalate as the miners decided to take the law into their own hands!
    On October 17, the Eureka Hotel was put to the torch and a riot broke out!
    Three miners were apprehended and charged with arson - but, because of the deteriorating situation and pressure from the Ballarat Reform League, a retrial of the Scobie case was held and Bentley and his cronies were convicted of manslaughter on 23 November.
    A few days later, however, the men involved in the hotel fire - Fletcher, McIntyre and Westerby - were also brought to trial and convicted.
    This enraged the miners who rationalised that the trio only did what the law had failed to do by delivering out a form of justice to a murderer.
    A petition was organised and sent to Governor Hotham who, true to form, ignored it and the deputation who presented it.

    ...............AND THE MATCH IS LIT!

    The stage was now set for the confrontation that many say was the beginning of the end of the English dominance of Australia.

    Nov. 28 - Hotham sends military reinforcements to the goldfields. The miners seize arms and ammunition from a supply wagon.
    Nov. 29 - At a mass meeting, at which over 12,000 Ballarat residents attended, many of the miners burnt their licences in protest and swore to uphold their rights. A hastily put together flag was improvised and the 'Southern Cross' flew as a symbol of defiance against authority.
    Nov. 30 - The miners were subjected to a rigorous licence check. Trouble erupted, shots were fired when many of the miners could not produce their papers and retaliated to the police harassment ordered by Commissioner Robert Rede. After the Riot Act was declared, the miners began to erect a rude stockade type fortification on Baker's Hill near an area known as the Eureka Lead. They had decided to make a stand!
    Dec. 2 - Over 1000 miners had originally gathered at the rough slab stockade to help defend the site. Poorly armed with homemade weapons, many were sent out to try and secure more guns and ammunition as well as provisions. Some never came back when faced with the reality of the situation..
    Dec. 3 - Early in the morning, at 3.30 a.m., the remaining 120 or so miners awoke to find they were facing at least 276 fully equipped professional troops and cavalry sent by Governor Hotham. The surprise was complete and the outcome predictable! Within 15 minutes the 'battle' was over - 22 miners died from shot and bayonet plus 5 soldiers perished. The flag was torn down by Trooper John King - the rebellion was crushed!
    Dec. 4 - Governor Hotham declared Martial Law in the Ballarat district and ordered the arrest of the Eureka Stockade ringleaders for High Treason - punishable by death.
    Dec 8 - Of the 1000 men who had actively supported the rebellion only 13 were captured and brought to trial. The trial was to last for 3 months as each man was required to face the court individually.

    The aftermath of the trial was that 12 of the 13 prisoners were acquitted and no action was taken against the other.
    *HIGHLY SUGGESTED READING: http://www.alphalink.com.au/~eureka/lalor.htm



    During 1855, the Victorian Government set in motion reforms that enabled the miners to make their own mining laws, and also set about re-structuring the police force in an effort to win back public support.  Later that same year an article appeared in the Melbourne 'Argus' newspaper, dated 26 December, which read:
    'Sir Charles Hotham was taken seriously ill on Saturday night with an attack of English Cholera. The symptoms were indicative of some danger ….'
    It was ironic that, just prior to Hotham's death on New Years Eve, a newly elected responsible Victorian government was sanctioned by the British Imperial Parliament.

    The first Cabinet elected contained, as members for the district of Ballarat, Messrs. Peter Lalor and J.B. Humffray - both who were at the Eureka stockade and who had avoided capture. The Irish born, Peter Lalor was, in fact, the elected Commander-in-Chief of the miners at the uprising and had been left for dead after the battle. His wound was so serious that he lost his left arm. For many years Lalor held the position as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria.
    An eloquent speaker, Lalor was an obvious choice by the miners who were swayed by his call for volunteers. He wrote of his feelings at the time:
    'I looked around me and saw brave and honest men who had come thousands of miles to labour for independence………. The grievances under which we had long suffered, and the brutal attack of that day flashed across my mind; and, with the burning feeling of an injured man, I mounted the stump and proclaimed - 'Liberty!'
    The armed miners gathered around Lalor and took the oath as they looked up the 81 foor flagpole at the new flag that fluttered there.
    'We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties!'


    The Southern Cross flag flown at Eureka stockade was a makeshift banner that was designed by a Canadian miner from Toronto, named Captain Henry Ross (incorrectly recorded as 'Charles' Ross by the authorities) , who was fatally wounded during the uprising. In truth - he fought and died for his flag!  Refer:http://users.netconnect.com.au/~ianmac/ross.html The important story of Henry 'Charles' Ross has not been fully appreciated until recently.


    Henry 'Charles' Ross - 1829 - 1854

    The flag was described in the 'Ballarat Times' by Raffello Carboni who was a close friend of Henry Ross:

    'There is no flag in Europe or the civilised world half so beautiful….. The flag is silk, blue ground, with a large silver cross; no device or arms, but exceedingly chaste and natural.'

    It is now believed that the flag was sewn by miners wives from a blue woollen mohair fabric that was readily available from the local tent-maker, and white or buff-coloured cotton lawn material that came from a petticoat - but to the congregation on that day it didn't matter only that it had become the symbol of their unity!
    The torn and faded flag was carefully restored - as best it could be - and it is now in safekeeping in Ballarat Fine Art Gallery for future generations to consider if it is the flag that symbolised the birth of democracy in this country!

    No one will ever know how much gold was taken out of the ground around Ballarat during those turbulent years, but the effect was dramatic in the history of Australia - and it has reached forward into our lives a century and a half later. This is why we should remember the part of our heritage that was earned by blood, sweat and tears during those deadly 15 minutes at the Eureka Stockade.


    "Perth Mint has commemorated this historic occasion with a .999 Fine Silver $1.00 with at least 0.3 grams of Gold pieces contained in a transparent 'Locket' within the coin. Mintage is only 12,500 encapsulated within a timber case. FDC  A$99.00"

    So reads the advertisement in M.R. 'Bob' Roberts' of Sydney latest NUMI$NEWS (TM) at the release of this truly important reminder of our heritage.




                                                             Eureka Dollar 2004.    Peter Lalor - rebel leader.  The  'Australian' or 'Southern Cross' Flag.                                      



    'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' - (Article) May, 2000

    M.R. Roberts' Wynyard Coin Centre. NUMI$NEWS (TM) - April, 2004 (Contact address: 7 Hunter Arcade, Sydney. N.S.W. Australia 2000 - Ph: (02)9299 2047)

    The Eureka Flag - booklet issued by Austin McCallum - November 1973. (Ballarat Fine Art Gallery)


    Additional Highly Recommended References:








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