When gold was discovered in Kimberley, Western Australia in 1885, the gold rush which followed doubled the population of the district in four years. The meteoric rise in economic activity caused a liquidity problem: although the region was awash with gold, with prospectors bringing their finds into Perth to sell and trade, there was a lack of specie to enable commerce to thrive because the gold had to be shipped off to the Royal Mint in London to be made into sovereigns and then brought back. The governor of Western Australia persuaded the Royal Mint to short-circuit the problem and set up a branch of the Royal Mint in Perth, which they did in 1899.
After the Great Depression Great Britain abandoned the gold standard in 1931 and ceased minting sovereigns in 1933. The Royal Mint at Perth was handed over to the Government of Western Australia in 1970. Today I visited this proudly Australian mint with my cousins; we saw a gold ingot being poured and saw people still bringing in gold to be sold. I could not resist grabbing the opportunity to demonstrate that despite what they claimed, the British Mint had in fact returned to Perth.
|The British Mint has returned to Perth. Martin the famous|
author posing with his tube of Trebor Mints
outside the Australian Mint in Perth.