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Melbourne Mint

Photograph - Royal Mint Building, Melbourne, circa 1890

Image: Photograph - Royal Mint Building, Melbourne, circa 1890

Source: Museum Victoria

The Melbourne Branch of the Royal Mint began operation on 12 June 1872. It was the second branch to be opened in Australia, the Sydney Branch having opened in 1855.

The Melbourne Mint had two main functions: purifying and assaying gold and striking gold coins. A minor function was the production of medals, particularly prize medals such as those awarded by agricultural societies or exhibition authorities.

The Melbourne Mint was financed entirely by the government of the Colony (later State) of Victoria. However, its employees were British civil servants and could, and did, apply for jobs in other branches of the Royal Mint; there was a particularly large movement of staff when the Ottawa branch opened in 1908.

In 1916 the Melbourne Mint was the first Australian mint to undertake production of silver coins for the Australian Commonwealth, in 1919 it began production of bronze coins and in 1964 it was the first Australian mint to strike decimal currency.

All work on Commonwealth of Australia coinage was undertaken by the mint as a contractor to the Treasury. With the opening of the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra in 1965, once the immense task of preparing the first years of decimal coins had been achieved, no further contracts were available, nor was there sufficient call for purifying and assaying gold. By Royal Proclamation the Melbourne Mint ceased to be a Branch of the Royal Mint on 1 July 1970.

References
The Annual Reports of the Melbourne Branch of the Royal Mint were published as appendices to the Royal Mint Annual Reports from 1872 to 1970
Records of the Melbourne Mint are held by the Public Record Office Victoria
Alston Pearl, S. (1941). 'Melbourne's Royal Mint', Walkabout, 1 March, 9-12.
Batchelor, Patricia (1977). 'Melbourne Branch of the Royal Mint (William-Street)', Australian Numismatist. Vol 31, No.2, 3-4
Kenyon, A.S. (1935). 'The Royal Mint and Its Australian Branches' , Vic. Hist. Mag. May
Ward, E.W. Chrystos (1874). 'The Melbourne Mint' Argus, 5 November 1874.
Webb, L.A. (1958). 'The Victorian Mint', Australian Numismatic Journal (S.A. Numismatic Society), Vol.9, No.3.

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