The United Nation General Assembly’s proclamation that 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages is commemorated with Australia’s newest circulating 50 cent coin. Launching in Adelaide, the coin has been produced by the Royal Australian Mint and developed in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).
The coin design incorporates 14 translations for ‘coin’ from some of the many Indigenous languages in Australia; the design was developed in consultation with 14 Indigenous language groups from around Australia, including the traditional people of Adelaide, the Kaurna people.
“These coins are a celebration of Australia’s unique and diverse Indigenous languages, we hope the coins will serve as a tangible reminder of the important efforts being undertaken to preserve, protect and revitalise Indigenous languages in Australia” the Mint CEO, Ross MacDiarmid said.
The coins were unveiled by AIATSIS CEO and Co-Chair of the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages Steering Committee, Craig Ritchie, Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research at the University of Sydney, Professor Jaky Troy, Kaurna man, Jack Buckskin, and Royal Australian Mint CEO, Ross MacDiarmid.
Languages are central to the identity of Indigenous Australians and the second National Indigenous Languages Survey conducted in 2014 by AIATSIS recognised that remaining connected to Language strengthens well-being and self-esteem in Indigenous communities.
“Indigenous languages carry more meaning than the words themselves, so too does currency carry meaning beyond its monetary value. The release of these coins is another milestone in recognising the diverse cultures that shape our national story of over 60,000 years,” the AIATSIS CEO and Co-Chair of the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages Steering Committee, Craig Ritchie said.
The coin entered circulation on April 8, 2019.
You can find further details about the languages featured on the coins online.
In 2014, a commemorative coin was issued in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.