Historic black and white photo of carts out the front of The Perth Mint

The Perth Mint story

Minting, refining for 125 years

The Perth Mint features significantly in the history of Western Australia (WA), with our original building a stunning landmark on Hay Street at the east end of the city.

Attracting visitors from around the globe every day, it’s home to a shop and exhibition which pays homage to our significant contribution to the gold industry since 1899.

The Perth Mint under construction circa 1897.
Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York visit The Perth Mint in 1901.
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Late 1800s: Premier advocates for gold industry

Western Australia’s first Premier Sir John Forrest is regarded as our founding father. ‘Big John’ foresaw the importance of gold in the development of WA’s economy and successfully lobbied the British Government to establish a branch of the Royal Mint in Perth.

John Forest lays foundation stone at The Perth Mint on 23 August, 1897.

1896: Foundation stone laid

Forrest laid our foundation stone in 1896. Designed by George Temple Poole, our original building is one of Perth’s most impressive colonial-era monuments. In recognition of the quality of the architect’s work, we possess the highest classification from the National Trust. The building was also the first to be entered on the State’s heritage register.

foundation stone

1899-1931: Reign of sovereigns

Between 1899 and 1931, we struck more than 106 million gold sovereigns and nearly 735,000 half sovereigns for use throughout Australia and the British Empire.

We stopped making gold sovereigns when Britain abandoned the gold standard in 1931. Our refinery remained busy as staff turned their skills to making fine gold bullion bars.

An 1899 sovereign produced by The Perth Mint.

1940-1964: Age of pennies

In 1940 with Australia on a war footing, an urgent telegram arrived from the Commonwealth Treasury in Canberra: “Heavy demand for Australian coin and Melbourne Mint working full capacity. Could you undertake minting copper coin?”

In response, we produced hundreds of millions of Australian pennies and half pennies between 1940 and 1964 featuring a kangaroo design and the effigies of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. We also fulfilled an order for 1.3 million shillings in 1946.

1961 penny produced by The Perth Mint.

1957: Striking the purest gold

We achieved “arguably the purest of all gold” in 1957. Refinery Officer Leo Hickey and Senior Craftsman Alexander Osborne produced a proof ‘plate’ of almost five nines - 999.99 parts of gold per thousand - as measured by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in London.

The Royal Mint was so impressed that it ordered some of the gold as the benchmark for its own standards.

Gold bar in hand at The Perth Mint refinery.

1966: Currency flips to decimal

Our considerable output was boosted further when Australia introduced decimal currency in 1966 for which we produced a staggering 829 million 2c coins and 26 million 1c coins by 1973.

One cent and two cent coins produced by The Perth Mint in the move to decimal currency.

1970: Ownership transfers to the WA Government

We remained under Britain’s jurisdiction until 1 July 1970, when ownership transferred to the Government of Western Australia.

The change came a few years prior to the start of a new gold boom. With the price of gold rising dramatically, we became the focus of renewed interest and opportunity.

Last staff photograph of the Perth branch of the Royal Mint 1970.

1987: Gold Corporation established

Gold Corporation was created by the Gold Corporation Act 1987  to take over the operations of The Perth Mint and launch Australia’s official bullion coin program. At a glittering ceremony in Sydney on 23 April 1987, then prime minister Bob Hawke launched the Australian Nugget Gold Coin Series. First day’s trading yielded sales of 155,000 ounces of gold worth AUD 103 million, well above the forecast 130,000 ounces to the end of June.

Former prime minister Bob Hawke launches the gold nugget series in 1987.

1990: New home for refinery opens

Our refining activities eventually outgrew their original premises in East Perth and a new refinery was built near Perth airport, commencing operations in 1990.

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2000s: New era for historic site

To meet the growing demand for our  products, we officially opened an 8,400 square metre manufacturing and commercial facility adjacent to our original limestone building.

Equipped with the latest technology, these buildings are powerful symbols of more than a century of minting excellence in Western Australia.

Coining machine in operation at The Perth Mint.

2012: Gold coin enters record books

Cast in 2011, the Australian Kangaroo One Tonne Gold Coin was awarded the title ‘largest coin’ by Guinness World Records in 2012. 

The famous 99.99% gold coin weighs in at 1,012 kilograms and measures 80cm x 13cm. It made its way to New York in 2018 to mark the launch of Australia’s first gold exchange traded fund and is now a top attraction at the mint.

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2020: Cultural icons

Interest in  our ‘proof’ quality collector coins featuring original Australian designs of our native wildlife, exclusive commemoratives celebrating international and Australian milestones, cultural icons and modern themes continues to go from strength to strength.

Gold bullion made by The Perth Mint

2022: Renowned for legal tender and bullion

As a member of an elite group of world mints, our pure gold, silver and platinum legal tender coins trusted without question. 

Like the Australian Nugget, which evolved into the internationally acclaimed Australian Kangaroo coin series, our Australian Kookaburra, Australian Koala and Australian Lunar programs are sought after by bullion investors .

An artist in the coining division at The Perth Mint.

2022 and beyond

Our ability to set benchmarks in coin design and forge new market trends highlights what can be achieved with the traditional skills of our craftspeople and the best technology and treatments such as colour and gilding.

Manufacturing a coin featuring Queen Elizabeth II at The Perth Mint.

Explore The Perth Mint

There’s a wealth of history to explore at The Perth Mint, a global leader in the gold industry

Why choose The Perth Mint

We’ve been refining gold for 125 years

Global Icon at The Perth Mint.
Renowned for creating and serving global markets
Trusted Icon at The Perth Mint.

Transparent across our diverse business operations

Innovation icon the Perth Mint.

At the forefront of refinery process technology

Ethical Icon at The Perth Mint.
Dedicated to ethically sourced precious metals