Australia commemorates 50 years of research institute on Indigenous peoples

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August 28, 2014 – On June 2014, the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, launched the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) commemorative 50 cent circulating coin at Parliament House in Canberra.

Australia/ 50c / 15.55g/ 31.51mm/ Mintage: 30,000.

The AIATSIS Council Chairperson, Professor Mick Dodson AM said it is an honour to have the work of the Institute commemorated on Australia’s newest 50 cent coin. “The coin design features an element of our logo which has been with us since the very beginnings of the Institute when it was adopted by the interim Council in 1963,” Professor Dodson said. “Derived from the boomerang totem of the Gu:na:ni (Kunjen) people from the Mitchell River region of the Gulf of Carpentaria, the shield is a significant piece in AIATSIS’ priceless collection.

“This is a special year for the Institute, marking fifty years since it was formed under an Act of Parliament. We are very proud of our achievements and want to share our stories with all Australians. “We hope the coin will raise awareness of the significance of our work and help us in achieving our vision – a world in which all Indigenous peoples’ knowledge and cultures are recognised, respected and valued.”

Created in partnership with the Royal Australian Mint, both a circulating coin and a special collectors’ edition have been produced. The uncirculated collectors’ edition will feature a colour printed version of the AIATSIS logo. Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer the Hon Mr Steven Ciobo MP said this commemoration recognises AIATSIS’ contribution to our nation’s identity and further understanding of our cultural heritage. “Over the past 50 years, AIATSIS has focused on researching and collecting information on all Indigenous people’s knowledge and culture and since become an internationally renowned institution. “The Royal Australian Mint plays an important role in commemorating significant contributions and milestones, such as this, on special coins, which will tell stories for years to come.”

Today, the AIATSIS is an internationally recognised leader in setting ethical standards and practices in Indigenous research, publishing, language revival, and cultural collection management and access protocols. The Institute also preserves the world’s most extensive unique collections of materials relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their cultures, intrinsic to the preservation of our national heritage.

The collectible coin 2014 50 cent Colour Printed Uncirculated Coin – 50th anniversary of AIATSIS is available from the Mint’s eShop.

If you’re interested in the work that AIATSIS is doing, check out their website.