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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

New $1 coin cashes in on anniversary of first telegraph 

The Royal Australian Mint has released a unique $1 coin to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first Australian telegraph being sent overseas. 

The coin depicts the Overland Telegraph Line that once ran through the centre of Australia from Port Augusta to Darwin. It features the 13 cities and towns along the Line and the Morse code inscription 39,000 poles and 2,839 kilometres, indicating the length of the line and the number of poles used to construct it.  

CEO of the Royal Ausralian Mint, Leigh Gordon said it was crucial for the Mint to commemorate events that may otherwise be forgotten. 

“The Overland Telegraph was one of Australia’s significant innovations, changing the way Australians communicated with the rest of the world,” Mr Gordon said.  

Camp of Overland Telegraph workers at Roper River, Northern Territory, about 1870 (Photo: National Museum)

“Memorialising this magnificent feat on a coin will ensure it is remembered by generations to come.” 

The 1872 opening of the Overland Telegraph connected Australia with the rest of the world, making electronic communication through to London within seven hours a daily occurrence. 

Historian Derek Pugh said the Line allowed Australia to become less isolated from the rest of the world. 

“The Overland Telegraph Line was the internet of the day, allowing rapid communication with the world. It provided almost instant access to information and broke the tyranny of distance,” Mr Pugh said. 

The coin is available from today through the Mint’s eShop or by calling 1300 652 020. 

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