Who is the Aboriginal man featured on the $2 coin, or does he not need a name because he’s just another example of Australia’s fauna and flora?
And I suppose it is simply a coincidence that the indigenous plant included on the $2 coin (to the right of the numeral 2) is a Xanthorrhoea – a plant commonly called a blackboy?
The 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent pieces were released in 1966 – before Aboriginal people were even granted Australian citizenship.
But the $1 and $2 coins were added in 1984 and 1988. Yes, the $2 coin was released in the year of Australia’s bicentenary… the celebration of of 200 years of white settlement. Or invasion. Or colonisation. You can see the problem, surely.
The Royal Australian Mint has, on its website, a policy about the design of commemorative coins:
A coin theme will not be approved if it could be considered offensive or potentially exposes the Australian Government to legal risks. The following subjects are, as a general rule, not to be depicted on commemorative circulating coins: individuals, living or deceased, other than members of the Royal family…
The Mint’s policy regarding the coins in everyday circulation does not seem to be available.
I’m obviously not the first person to raise the issue because there is a FAQ on the Mint’s site about the $2 coin.
Who is on the $2 coin? The image is a representation of an Aboriginal tribal elder, based on the original artwork of Ainslie Roberts and designed by Horst Hahne. It is not intended to depict any person in particular.
Why aren’t we agitating for change?