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Closure of Melbourne Mint

Photograph - Royal Mint Building, by Nettleton & Arnest Studio, Melbourne, Victoria, circa 1890

Image: Photograph - Royal Mint Building, by Nettleton & Arnest Studio, Melbourne, Victoria, circa 1890

Source: Museum Victoria

In 1964 the first steps which would lead to the closure of the Melbourne Mint occurred. In addition to deciding to introduce decimal coinage, the Commonwealth Government also moved to open its own mint in Canberra. It recruited the bulk of the technical and administrative staff from Melbourne Mint in 1964. As these trained people moved to Canberra the capacity of Melbourne to continue its full breadth of work disappeared.

From 31 July 1964 Melbourne Mint ceased all gold related work, a business it had undertaken since 1872. However by recruiting recent migrants, many without English, borrowing engineers from the Department of Supply and making special arrangements to delay the transfer of some key individuals, the mint was able to begin striking the 1966 dated one cent coin about the middle of 1964. In doing so it became the first mint to strike Australian decimal coinage.

The Royal Australian Mint in Canberra began striking in February 1965 after six years of planning and building. It was to have the capacity to strike 300,000,000 coins annually working a single shift, produced all its own blanks, had an advanced die producing department and could undertake all stages of coin production from concept to manufacture. There would be no place for the old mint.

On 29 May 1970 the Queen issued a Proclamation in London discontinuing both Melbourne and Perth as Branches of the Royal Mint from 31 July 1970. Perth continued to operate as a statutory authority of the State Government to be known as The Perth Mint. Melbourne was closed.

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