Niue commemorates 60th anniversary of first oil discovery in Australia

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August 1, 2013 – When oil was first discovered in Australia, at the West Australian Petroleum P/L (WAPET) Rough Range-1 site in Western Australia on December the 4th 1953, it sparked jubilation across the country. Sure to provoke a similar outburst of joy from the numismatic community, Downies announces the release of a full-colour coin paying homage to the 60th anniversary of this major landmark in Australian history.

Niue / 1 $ / silver / 25g / 40mm / Mintage: 4,000.

The importance of the discovery of high grade crude oil to Australia – which had previously relied exclusively on imports – cannot be overstated. The instant reaction from the media and politicians was of unrestrained joy, with claims made that the discovery could be the most significant development in Australia’s recent history. Indeed, a leading petroleum geologist from the USA stated that it was the most important development in the global oil industry since oil was first discovered in the USA in 1859.

Enhancing Australia’s sense of national independence, and providing a substantial boost to our economic outlook, there was no doubt that the discovery represented a major breakthrough. The nation had no domestic production of either oil or gas before the momentous find in Western Australia, and the cost of importing oil was a significant millstone around the neck of the Australian economy. The oil find by WAPET not only relieved this major financial burden, but would ultimately inspire a wave of investment in oil and mineral exploration that now forms the heart of the modern Australian economy.

A superbly struck 25g sterling silver Proof, capturing Australia’s rugged pioneering spirit in official legal tender, this brilliant new coin from Downies is most notable for the sensational raised, fully embossed full-colour design. Standing out prominently from the imposing, crown-sized 40mm flan, the fully embossed depiction of the oil is so lifelike that the ‘black gold’ seems to be gushing from the actual coin.

For more information on this coins please visit the Downies website.

For reading the article on The Canberra Times front page reporting on the oil discovery, please click here.

And this is how Murray Howard Johnstone, WAPET’s Chief Geologist in the 1970s, recalled the exciting times at Rough Range.