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Coins remember bushranger era

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Coin collectors rode a wave of excitement when a Royal Australian Mint roadshow arrived in Newcastle to recognise Australia’s bushranger era.

The Bold, The Bad and the Ugly Roadshow set up camp at Wheeler Place last Tuesday to remember the era’s role in shaping art, literature, music, culture, and the myth of the Australian larrikin.

One of the uncirculated coins.

Royal Australian Mint retail event team leader, Todd Matthews, said it helped to show what the bushranger’s meant to the nation.

“It’s also nice to represent the different characters and people relate to different families, especially Ned Kelly,” he said.
“We were here in Newcastle last year at about the same time and had a really good attendance so we decided to come back now that the tram and everything is up and running.”

The coin’s design depicts the scene of the classic Australian bushranger and the brave colonial trooper, reflecting the drama and action of the time.

Its packaging features the stories of six of Australia’s Wild Colonial Bushrangers – ‘Brave Ben Hall’, ‘Captain Moonlite’, the Kenniff Brothers, ‘Mad Dog’ Morgan, ‘Moondyne Joe’, and ‘Captain Thunderbolt’ and ‘The Captain’s Lady’.

Hall was known as a ‘gentleman bushranger’, with his gallantry, good looks and daredevil ways earning him public sympathy in NSW.

‘Captain Moonlite’ was a notorious bandit in NSW, while Patrick and James Kenniff’s exploits became a part of Queensland folklore when they pursued a vendetta against their arch enemy, station owner Albert Dahlke, and evaded a police posse.

One of the most feared of them all, Daniel ‘Mad Dog’ Morgan, terrorised NSW through his erratic behaviour and dangerous exploits.

Joseph Bolitho Johns, known as ‘Moondyne Joe’ was Western Australia’s most notorious bushranger; he was a clever gaol-breaker, escaping from lock-up on several occasions, with his story inspiring several books and films.

Perhaps the most well-known in these parts, ‘Captain Thunderbolt’, or Frederick Ward, and his Aboriginal partner, Mary Ann Bugg, carried out a bushranging spree from the Hunter Valley to the Queensland border in the 1860s.

The current roadshow tour will wrap up in Gosford today (Thursday 25 July).

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