Official Launch of the AIATSIS coins at Parliament House. (L to R) Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, The Hon. Steve Ciobo, Prime Minister, The Hon. Tony Abbott, AIATSIS Council Chairman, Professor Mick Dodson and AIATSIS Principal, Russ Taylor. (Image Credit – AIATSIS)

In the lead-up to NAIDOC Week, Australia will see a new special 50 cent coin enter circulation to mark 50 years of ongoing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research and collection of information which has assisted our country in becoming more knowledgeable about its people and cultures.

The coin was officially launched last week by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Tony Abbott MP in the company of AIATSIS Council Chairperson Professor Mick Dodson, AIATSIS Principal Russ Taylor and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP.

The 50 cent coin specifically marks the 50th anniversary of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Institute (AIATSIS).

“AIATSIS is an organisation that has dedicated half a century to ensuring that Indigenous cultures are preserved, and continually valued and respected,” said Royal Australian Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid.

“NAIDOC Week represents an invaluable time for reflection, where Australians take time to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and I personally will also take this opportunity to do just that,” said Mr MacDiarmid.

“The advantage of circulating coins is that they allow for greater awareness and recognition which will last longer than a week – every time someone looks at their change they are reminded of the story behind the coin.”

Featuring an element of the AIATSIS logo, the shield is derived from the boomerang totem of the Gu:na:ni (Kunjen) people from the Mitchell River region of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Two million of these special circulating coins are to be distributed in the coming weeks.

A special colour printed collectable coin with the same design has also been crafted to capture the true essence of the shield and is available for purchase retailing for $13.50 from the Mint’s eShop, Contact Centre on 1300 652 020 or in store at the Royal Australian Mint, Deakin.