History buffs will be interested to know that The Perth Mint, played a major part in the establishment of Western Australia. Prior to the Mint’s existence, gold found in WA was sent elsewhere, meaning that the revenues from the gold rush didn’t benefit WA. During the 19th Century, a Perth branch of the Royal Mint of London was built to refine gold from the gold rush and to mint gold sovereigns and half sovereigns for the British Empire. The Perth Mint opened in 1899 and it is Australia’s oldest operating mint.
Though we’ve lived in Perth for decades, it took a visit from overseas guests to take us along to the Perth Mint. The Perth Mint is open 7 days a week, and you can look in the grounds and at the gift shop and café for no charge. If you wish to view the exhibition and gold pour, then an admission charge is payable (concessions for senior cardholders). The tours take about an hour and depart at half past the hour. While we waited for our tour to commence, we wandered around the eye-popping diamond, gold and silver jewellery that is for sale in The Perth Mint Shop. For coin collectors, there are many commemorative coins for sale too.
The tour begins in the grounds of the mint. And our guide gave us a very interesting talk on why the mint is here, the early days of the gold rush and more.
Next, we were taken through the Gold Exhibition. Here we were impressed by the Australian Kangaroo One Tonne Gold Coin, the largest and most valuable coin in the world. Made of 99.99% pure gold, this huge coin is legal tender in Australia with a face value of $1 million! At today’s gold prices it is valued at over $50 million. It holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest, heaviest and most valuable gold coin in the world.
Afterwards, we explored the fascinating exhibition which includes Australia’s largest natural nugget collection and an historic 1899 gold sovereign – the first coin produced in Perth.
You can also get interactive, with a chance to attempt to lift a gold bullion bar worth over $500,000. It’s very heavy so only very strong people will manage this! My grandson and I enjoyed discovering what our weight is worth in gold. I stood on the special scales and a few seconds later I had a label printed out with my worth in today’s gold prices. I’m worth over $3 million!
I found the most exciting part of the tour was watching the traditional gold pour in Perth Mint’s original melting house. The small auditorium overlooks a furness.
We watched in awe as the gold pourer, put on his safety gear and removed a red-hot earthenware pot from the furness which contained the liquid gold at over 1000 degrees.
The liquid gold is poured into a rectangle block, which quickly cooled in water to form a gold bullion bar worth over $250,000!
If you would like a cuppa or snack, there is a café located within The Perth Mint building.
The alfresco dining area has a Miners Camp set up.
We really enjoyed our visit to The Perth Mint, it’s fascinating to both people that live in Perth and visitors to WA.
Address: 310 Hay Street, East Perth
Telephone: 9421 7218
Parking: The free Red CAT bus service is convenient for The Perth Mint. Click here to view CAT bus route. Alight at The Perth Mint CAT bus stop (number 6).
Open: 7 days 9am – 5pm (Closed on New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Anzac Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day)
Grandchild friendly: Yes, older children, about 6 and up will be fascinated.
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