This month we’re adding two extremely poignant coins to The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series:
On 7 August 1915, the 3rd Light Horse Brigade attacked Turkish trenches at the Nek on the Gallipoli peninsula. In the words of Lieutenant-Colonel Noel Brazier, what occurred was “sheer bloody murder” as the Australian troops were mowed down by Turkish rifle and machine-gun fire. Despite calls to abandon the attack, four waves of men went over the top into a maelstrom of bullets.
With fatalistic recognition of what was about to happen to him, Trooper Harold Rush of the 10th Light Horse, aged 23, famously uttered to his mate: “Goodbye Cobber, God bless you.” The words are inscribed on his headstone and, in tribute to Rush and all those who fell with him, they now appear on this Australian coin made from 99.99% pure gold.
Restricted to a limited mintage of just 1,000, the coin’s emotive portrayal depicts an Australian soldier at a graveside being comforted by the spectral figure of his fallen comrade.
More than 60,000 Australians lost their lives during the First World War. Many men died in battle, their final resting place the battle fields on which they fought.
They are buried in war cemeteries or listed on memorials to the missing in countries around the world – from the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Greece and Turkey, to Israel, the Lebanese Republic, Papua New Guinea and Syria.
Over the past 100 years, there have been many moving symbols that have come to be associated with military loss. One of these is the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross, also known as the Battlefield Cross or Battle Cross, which is portrayed on the reverse of this magnificent pure silver release.
With a mintage of only 500, the Australian coin’s depiction of this silent sentinel is framed by a list of symbolic words and phrases, including the names of battlefields and cemeteries associated with World War I.
Now in its second year, the five-year ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series honours the actions and sacrifices of those who served their country between 1914 and 1918, and how their courage, mateship, resourcefulness and egalitarianism helped shape Australian society and our national identity into what it is today.
Produced in association with the Australian War Memorial