New 50c coin’s striking feature
THE new commemorative 50 cent piece is a delight for coin and train enthusiasts, celebrating 90 years of the legendary Ghan journey which slices right through Central Australia from Adelaide to Darwin.
Featuring striking colour, the coin depicts the famous train which cruises through the Red Centre.
The Royal Australian Mint launched a competition for two people to win tickets to travel the route, which is now a multi-day luxury journey.
Only 30,000 of the coins will be made but it won't be released into circulation, with the mint's chief executive Ross MacDiarmid saying the coin is an ideal way to celebrate the country's most famous train.
"This striking limited edition coin tells the story of one of the world's great railway journeys and the Royal Australian Mint is excited to share yet another new coin with train lovers, coin collectors, fans of The Ghan and the Australian public," he said.
The train's heritage began in 1929, then known as the Afghan Express steam train which travelled to Stuart, now known as Alice Springs.
In the early days, the long journey was unpredictable with one trip famously leaving its passengers stranded in the desert for two weeks.
The train is now known as The Ghan and travels the nearly 3000 kilometres decked in luxury essentials from Adelaide to Darwin.
Passengers jump off and explore Coober Pedy, Alice Springs and Darwin along the way.
Journey Beyond Rail Expeditions managing director Steve Kernaghan, which runs the train, said he was thrilled to be featured on a new coin.
"The Ghan is a national icon and celebrating 90 years of adventure across the country is a significant achievement," he said.
Last month, the Royal Mint celebrated 50 years since Neil Armstrong took "one giant leap for mankind".
The minutely crafted coin set depicts the iconic scene of the pioneer astronaut being the first human to walk on the moon.
It also celebrates Australia's role in capturing the famous footage by featuring an image of the dish at the Parkes Observatory, which was one of several antennae used to receive live televised images of the Apollo 11 landing in 1969.
The earth is pictured in colour behind the astronaut with Australia pointed directly at the landing to symbolise its role in the groundbreaking event.
And behind the image of the Parkes dish facing the moon is an excerpt from Mr Armstrong's journal of the lunar landing.
The coins, which will be released purely for collection only, will be dome-shaped to resemble the famous observatory in New South Wales.
Three versions of the coins are now available to order, which includes a five and a half dollar coin, a $5 coin and a $100 coin.