The Australia Monarchy effect on coins

Author: Connor Campbell - Bullion & Economics Editor

Published: 31 Aug 2022

Last Updated: 30 Sep 2022


This blog investigates the Australian monarchy past and present to determine the future effect on coin releases from the Royal Australian Mint. Furthermore, this blog identifies some the key turning points in history that has led a few countries in the commonwealth to hold referendums to abolish the monarchy.

Australia Monarchy

The Australian monarchy started in 1770 after a historical event, when Captain James Cook was given the task to claim the east coast of Australia by King George III. The outcome was a huge success as colonies were created across Australia that were under the British crown monarchy. The British crown of monarchs continued to reign over Australia between (1770-1939) till the outbreak of WWII, where the Australian Crown became the independent entity from that of the British Crown due to the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942.

King George VI was assigned to be the monarch of the Australian crown during 1939 till death in 1952. He was succeeded by his eldest daughter, Elizabeth II who has been the monarch since (1952-date).

Australia Monarchy effect on coins after Queen Elizabeth II's reign ends

The Australia Monarchy could be soon ending after Queen Elizabeth II's reign ends therefore influencing future coin releases. After the unfortunate event of Queen Elizabeth II passing away, two things could happen either Australia will hold another referendum to leave the commonwealth or there will be a transition to Charles III as monarch. It could be expected that the Royal Australian Mint will release future coins bearing the King Charles portrait if there is a successful transition period. In our opinion we believe that the Australian Republic Movement will push to abolish the monarchy after Queen Elizabeth II passes away and therefore setting up the second monarchy referendum.

Australia Monarchy Update: Change of Sovereign

In the afternoon of September 8th, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II passed away as the UK's longest-serving monarch. She died at Balmoral aged 96, in the presence of her family, after reigning for 70 years on the throne. As a result of Queen Elizabeth II passing the Royal Australian Mint released a new entry onto their noticeboard titled 'Change of Sovereign - FAQs.

On Friday 30th September 2022, the first King Charles III coinage portrait was unveiled on the 2022 50 pence. Furthermore, King Charles III's portrait faces left on the 50 pence coin and does not wear a crown just like previous kings before him. 

Also, the text on the new coin says "CHARLES III • D • G • REX • F • D • 5 POUNDS • 2022" that can be translated as King Charles III, by the Grace if God, Defender of the Faith.

The Royal Mint announced the new Charles III portrait has been confirmed to appear on all UK coinage that ranges from 1 penny to £2 coins. Moreover, the £5 crown coin will feature the new memorable reverse design that shows Queen Elizabeth at the start and end of her 70-year-long reign as Queen of England.

In summary of the Royal Australian Mint noticeboard here are the key take aways.

  • The obverse of Australian coins will feature King Charles III.
  • The obverse image of King Charles III will be supplied by the Royal Mint and approved by Buckingham Palace.
  • The Mint needs approximately 12 months to produce and release coins bearing the new portrait of King Charles III.
  • Existing coins will remain in circulation until they are recycled and will gradually be replaced by the new sovereign portrait.
  • The mint's factory will be shut on 22 September 2022, to mark the National Day of Mourning.

Australia Monarchy Referendum

In 1999, Australia had a referendum that asked two questions if Australia should become a republic with a president and asked if Australia should alter the constitution by inserting a preamble. The result of the question should Australia become a republic with a president was not successful as 45.13% voted yes vs 54.87% voted against Australia becoming a republic, that would result in removing Queen Elizabeth II from the Australian crown monarchy.

Queen of Australia

HM Queen Elizabeth II at the time of writing, is the second longest-serving British monarch in history. Queen Elizabeth II during her reign has had her coinage portraits on 33 currencies and used in at least 45 different countries. Additionally, her majesty is the sovereign of 15 commonwealth realms including the UK.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Caribbean Royal Tour

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had planned a Royal Caribbean tour from Saturday 19th March and Saturday 26th March 2022 to help regain favour in the region after Barbados voted to remove the Queen in November 2021. However, the duke and duchess were met with residents protesting there visit in the Belize country that forced them to cancel the first Caribbean royal tour. After the residents protested the Jamaican leaders rejected the royals to visit the island, calling on the United Kingdom to apologise and pay reparations for the hundreds of years of slavery that benefited the United Kingdom.

Will Australia leave the Commonwealth?

For republicans in Australia, this year's Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II marked a significant moment, as many Australians claim they would prefer to leave the commonwealth after the end of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. The Australian Republic movement's assistant minister spoke about Australia as an independent nation with their own unique identity and culture away from the royals after Queen Elizabeth II's reign. Although, Queen Elizabeth II might be the last monarch of Australia, the Royal Mint of Australia still released a range of Platinum Jubilee coins to celebrate the occasion.

Countries that have left the Commonwealth

Six commonwealth realms have attempted to leave the commonwealth through referendums with only 3 out of the 6 winning majority victory that allowed them to leave. The three countries that have left the commonwealth through referendums is Ghana, Union of South Africa, and The Gambia.

Is Zimbabwe in the commonwealth

Zimbabwe was in the commonwealth until there suspension in 2002 for breaching human rights violations (Harare Declaration). However, due to Zimbabwe not fixing their issues involving human rights abuse, public corruption, and not following democracy they have since been sanctioned by many commonwealth countries. In response in 2003 Zimbabwe left the commonwealth after the 54 nations of the commonwealth extended sanctions against the Zimbabwe government. As of writing this, Zimbabwe has been attempting to improve the violations they broke to be let back into the commonwealth. Some of the main reasons why Zimbabwe would like to re-join is they have lost many advantages such as participation in the commonwealth games, trading, and visa entry into the other commonwealth realms.

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