Burke & Wills 150 Year Anniversary 1oz Silver Proof Coin

Item Information

Dimensions (mm) 40.6 x 40 x 6mm
Weight (carats) 1 carats
  • 2010
Silver Coins






The coin commemorates the expedition of Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills, legendary historical figures of colonial Australia. The first European settlers to cross the Australian continent from south to north, their triumph turned to tragedy when both men died on the return leg.


Problems mounted for the lavishly-equipped 1860 Victorian Exploring Expedition soon after it departed from Melbourne. Slow progress and arguments among the leaders led Burke to forge ahead with an advance party to establish the fateful Camp LXV at Cooper’s Creek. As he prepared to venture into unexplored territory with Wills and two others, Burke left word with William Brahe to expect their return to the Camp within three months.


The ‘dash’ to the Gulf of Carpentaria, still more than 1,200 kilometres away, fell tantalisingly short. After their immense effort, the failure by the two leaders to break through the coastal mangrove swamp meant they never actually laid eyes on the sea. Torrential rain, sapping humidity and meagre rations severely hampered the group’s return. One member of the party, Charles Gray, died less than 120 kilometres from Camp LXV.


Burke, Wills and John King staggered into the depot on 21 April 1861, five weeks overdue. To their dismay, Brahe had departed earlier that day. What supplies he could afford to leave had been buried under a Coolibah tree carved with the word ‘DIG’.


On the off chance, Burke buried a letter where the cache had been hidden, then raked the earth flat once again. When Brahe and William Wright, the leader of the much delayed main party, visited the camp fifteen days later, they saw no evidence of the men’s return.


Struggling southwards, Burke was unwilling to become dependent on the Yantruwanta people for food. For a while the party survived on ‘nardoo’, but their failure to prepare the seeds properly seems likely to have contributed to the demise of Burke and Wills, who died around the end of June 1861. Only King survived, relying on the compassion of the Aborigines until he was found by A.W. Howitt’s rescue party three months later.


Proof Quality 99.9% Pure Silver


The coin is struck by The Perth Mint from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver in proof quality.


150th Anniversary Design


The coin’s reverse portrays a representation of an exhausted and bedraggled Burke and Wills. Coloured elements of the design depict a camel and a stylised tree in fading sunlight. As well as The Perth Mint’s ‘P’ mintmark, the coin includes the inscriptions BURKE & WILLS 150 YEAR ANNIVERSARY and VICTORIAN EXPLORING EXPEDITION 1860.


Australian Legal Tender


Issued as legal tender under the Australian Currency Act 1965, the coin bears the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on its obverse.


Extremely Limited Mintage


The Perth Mint will release no more than 7,500 of these coins.


Numbered Certificate of Authenticity


Each coin is accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.


Presentation Packaging


Each coin is housed in a presentation case and illustrated.


Technical Specifications

Silver Content (Troy oz)1
Monetary Denomination (TVD)1
Fineness (% purity)99.9
Minimum Gross Weight (g)31.135
Maximum Diameter (mm)40.60
Maximum Thickness (mm)4.00

$109.00 USD

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Auction ID 18491
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