The Australian Numismatic Society

    A Paper given at the June 2020 online Conference

                               1959 – 100 Years  By Colin G.F.Thomas

In the same year that Fidel Castro became Premier of Cuba, General Charles De Gaulle was proclaimed President of the 5th French Republic
and Hawaii was recognised as the 50th state of the U.S.A., Queensland celebrated its 100th anniversary as a state.

Celebrations of this historic event was evident across the entire area that was, and still is, Queensland. It, in many ways, marked the coming of
age of this great land mass. Brisbane, the capital, boasted a population of some 543,000 people. Other cities were to grow accordingly with
Rockhampton and Townsville both having a substantial population of some 42,900 each.
By comparison, Brisbane in 1859 had approximately 6,000 people.

Perhaps the major event for this historic year was the visit made by HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent, 1st cousin to Queen Elizabeth II and, at
that time, 6th in line to the throne. In Brisbane she opened the Princess Alexandra hospital, known by Queenslanders simply as the PA.
Princess Alexandra at Cloudland Ballroom           Crowds greet her in Brisbane

100 years earlier, there were celebrations with just as much enthusiasm.
A fine line drawing exists of the daughter of Andrew Petrie proudly flourishing a British flag in honour of the proclamation of the Queensland statehood.
It is not known who the other two ladies were but one suspects close friends or relatives. Needless
to say the picture represents a  moment captured in time. The location is said to have been at Petrie Bight. Shortly after this depiction the young lady,
[Petrie’s daughter] with her father, had an audience with the Governor Sir George Bowen. In that same year [1859], the famous author Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle was born, as too was William II of Germany. In the June of that year Charles Blondin crossed the Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

A number of publications were produced as commemorative items for the 100 years of statehood. The Queensland Chamber of Manufactures Year
Book, Centenary Cavalcade Of Transport 1859-1959, Brisbane 1859-1959 and Centenary Cavalcade to name a few. These were produced, not
only as advertising items but as souvenir publications for the general public.

Coincidently, Queen Elizabeth II had been on the throne for 7 years and a nice 4d green and lilac coloured stamp was issued showing government
house and stating Self Government In Queensland.  7 years later in her reign Australia welcomed in the decimal currency system [1966].

Numismatics was to see a regular issue of coinage halfpenny, penny, threepence, sixpence, shilling and florin. No commemorative items were produced
for this 100th anniversary, however, one item, seldom referred to, is the 1959 Pattern Penny with a silver content of 80% and 20% copper. Unfortunately
for numismatists only the Royal Australian Mint has an example of this extremely rare coin. A simulated image of this coin appears in Renniks catalogue
of Australian Coin & Banknote Values. It is sad that no commemorative coin was minted for this historic year when 4 commemorative florins had already
been struck previously - the 1927, the 1934/35, the 1951 and the 1954.

There are however, two strikings of the 1959 penny, one from the Perth mint and the other from the Melbourne mint, the Melbourne issue being the
scarcer of the two issues and realising good premiums in better graded coins.

Of significance in 1959 was the reference to the Armorial Coat of Arms. It had been adopted by the Brisbane Council a number of years after statehood
 was first established. Application had been lodged in London and several alterations occurred before the final design was agreed upon. Oddly a motto
did not appear until the early 20th century – Conjunctis Viribus, which translates as With United Powers.
The document is an impressive item with a griffin on either side of a shield. This shield has wavy blue and white lines
depicting, it is imagined, the sea with a caduceus in gold centrally placed, referring of  course to medical science. Two stars and a reef knot adorn the top
most part of the shield. Three distinctive seals on ribbons appear at the bottom of the document. It is believed to be held in the city council archives. It would
 be nice to have this historic document on permanent display in order that the public could have access to it. However, the delicate nature of the material
prevents this from being so.

Mention should be made of the logo produced for the book previously stated, The Queensland Chamber Of Manufactures. It appears on page 38.
The perimeter wording is plain but the initials on the central motif are quite elaborate. Not strictly numismatic but a nice representation
which could be classed as a medal of sorts. It is not known at the time of writing whether the logo is still in use. It is nonetheless a very distinctive item.
                                                                                                    Brisbane 1959
Yet another aspect of the 1959 celebrations was a small but comprehensive publication, Centenary Cavalcade of Transport as previously mentioned. It was
issued as an official programme of events held on the 10th December, 1959. Rather late in the year for such a publication but it did have pictures depicting the
various modes of transport through the ages. Horse drawn vehicles through to the then modern machinery are all listed. A procession occurred with 211 entries
and divided into 16 sections the last being six items of aircraft flying overhead at the end of the procession.

The programme listed Animal Transport, Cycles, Veteran Cars, Late Model Cars, Queensland Police Force and
Ambulance (Q.A.T.B.) to name a few. The six kilometre long cavalcade began at Roma Street  Station at 2.30 in the afternoon and wound its way through
Brisbane to end at the Exhibition Grounds. In the evening of that same day other events were held at  the Exhibition Grounds.

100 years before these Queensland celebrations took place, the year saw the issue of a number of numismatic pieces in England. 1859 items produced were
the sovereign a common variety but also a rare issue known as the Ansell ribbon type. A half sovereign was also issued for this date. In the silver series no crown
nor half crown exists. However the florin did appear with Roman numerals { mdccclix } 1859 as did the standard dated shilling, sixpence and threepence. Of
course the Maundy set for the year also saw the light of day. The year was to be the last of the copper coinage, penny, halfpenny and farthing. In the following
year [1860] bronze minor coins appeared for the first time.

It is worth mentioning that the World Wide organisation the Red Cross also celebrated its centenary in 1959. The society was founded by Henri Dunant.  A
quotation from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother stated – quote :- “There is probably no organisation in the world that has done more for mankind than Red
Cross.” At that time the President of the Australian Red Cross Society was Her Excellency Lady Aileen Slim, the wife of the Governor General Sir William Slim.

A rather sombre note can be added here. In the year 1959 the Star Picture Theatre in Wynnum was burned to the ground after a fish and chip shop, situated
next door, caught fire and spread flames across the theatre. Unfortunately two fire fighters, Herbert George Lees and Sidney William Brown lost their lives in
the fire when the projection room collapsed and buried the two men in the falling debris. Today that incident is remembered by a full length display across one
wall of the Coles Supermarket, depicting the details of that fire.
   The Star before the fire that destroyed it.

  The remembrance wall in Florence Street, Wynnum.

References :- Wikapedia various sites
          Coins Of England & The United Kingdom by Spink
          Renniks Australian Coin & Banknote Values
          The Timetables of History by B.Grun
          Royal National Centenary Show 1959
          Centenary Cavalcade 1859-1959
          Various programmes for the year 1959
          Brisbane 1859-1959 A History of Local Government produced by Oswald L. Ziegler
         The Australian Red Cross Quarterly 1859-1959

        I would like to thank Ellen of the Queensland State Library who  spent some time researching data for this paper.
        I would also like to thank Cynthia Cochrane of the Queensland State Archives and Annabel Lloyd of the Brisbane Council Archives.
        Credit must also go to Tegan, receptionist at the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Office and to Heather who gave me some of her valuable
        time in showing me the Council Chambers.
        Thanks is also due to Kim of the Wynnum Library, and to Gillian of the Cleveland Library.
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18th June 2020