ACT News


Coin release shows city leaders need to brush up on history

Canberra's grateful buskers and beggars will soon notice a gleaming new coin being tossed into their violin cases and upturned hats. The Centenary of Canberra commemorative coin, unveiled on Monday at the Royal Australian Mint, is a ''working'' and ''circulating'' coin that all of us will use.

A collectible 2013 $5 Silver Proof Centenary of Canberra coin was unveiled too, but it is the new 20¢ piece that will jingle-jangle with all the other shrapnel in our pockets and that we'll soon be putting it into parking meters and tossing to the battlers.

One of its first uses will come when it is used for the toss before Tuesday's Prime Minister's XI versus the West Indies one-day cricket match at the now splendidly floodlit Manuka Oval.

The new coin that will sail through the air briefly before Tuesday's match (play begins at 2.20pm) features the famous eagle's view of the federal capital city and environs as imagined in their 1912 winning entry in the design competition, by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher was at Monday's unveiling, and in the press release jointly issued by her office and the office of Gai Brodtmann, MP, misspelled Marion Mahony Griffin's name. She wrote: "What better way to begin this historic and much-anticipated event [the cricket] than with Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney Griffin's visionary plans on an Australian coin? This is a great example of our city's past and future coming together.''

Alas, from this joint press release, Brodtmann and her office's Baldricks too are in need of some education.

The press release reads that ''Ms Brodtmann said that in the 100 years since Lady Denman laid Canberra's foundation stone, the nation's capital has evolved … Canberra has a great story to tell and this is a fantastic way to mark our city's coming of age.''

Yes, Canberra does have a great story to tell but it would be helpful if its officials got it right. Don't Brodtmann and her elves know by now that what Lady Denman did on March 12, 1913, was not lay a foundation stone (her husband the governor-general helped others do that) but announce that mystical word, the city's name?