Kalgoorlie isn’t Western Australia’s only custodian of gold history. On the eastern fringes of Perth’s CBD, The Perth Mint is a unique destination connecting visitors to the state’s fascinating gold history.
After lobbying the British Government to establish a branch of the Royal Mint in Perth in the late 1800s, WA’s first Premier Sir John Forrest laid the building’s first stone in 1896. Since then, the Mint has been responsible for minting and circulating thousands upon thousands of sovereigns, pennies, shillings, cents, and dollars. Its crowning glory? Achieving the purest of gold in 1957 — so pure that the Royal Mint in London used it as a benchmark for its own gold.
To enter the original heritage building on Hay Street is to step back in time. It’s steeped in history and filled to the brim with ritzy gold nuggets, coins, and high-end jewellery. There are hourly tours in operation seven days a week. Here are a few of the exhibition highlights:
A live gold pour
Watch on as molten gold is poured and shaped into a solid gold bar right in front of your eyes. It takes you back to a time when the original melting house was in full swing, operating as the main refinery for the gold discovered in the Australian gold rush. Nowadays, the Mint’s main refining operations are in a large, modern refinery near Perth Airport.
The Guinness World Record-holding one-tonne coin
Worth over $90 million AUD, this whopping coin has been confirmed as the largest coin in the world by Guinness World Records and is a major drawcard for visitors. It weighs in at 1,012 kilograms and is made of 99.99% pure gold. Created as a showpiece to promote the Australian Kangaroo Gold Bullion Coin Series worldwide, it features Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy on one side and the Mint’s iconic kangaroo design on the other.
A shiny display of gold and silver specimens
King Henry and The Karratha Queen are two of the most famous and valuable gold and silver specimens in the world. Both were uncovered in WA and now have a permanent home at The Perth Mint.
They join an impressive collection of large specimens, including the famous Normandy nugget — found near Kalgoorlie — that’s known to be the second largest nugget still in existence.
The Perth Mint is for the whole family. All tours are kid-friendly, with a special Perth Mint Challenge for the kids on tour, designed to get them interacting with the guide and engaged in the history of gold in Western Australia. Challenge participants even receive a prize on completion.
These school holidays, there’s an extra activity for kids with a fun coin hunt. Search for the hidden coins in our gold exhibition to solve the secret messages and claim a prize.
Touch a gold bullion bar
Where else will you ever get the chance to touch such a large and valuable gold bullion bar? They might look small and easy to lift, but try to pick one up, and you’ll soon discover just how heavy they can be.
Engrave your own medallion
Immortalise your visit with a personalised engraving on your own medallion. Choose a phrase or a design and have it etched onto aluminium bronze, gold plated, pure silver or gold (prices start from $17.00 AUD). They’re ready to take home in minutes.
Browse The Perth Mint Shop
In the Mint’s original gold receiving room, you’ll find the official Perth Mint gift, coin, and luxury jewellery boutique. It’s a veritable treasure trove of gold, silver, and platinum coins, natural gold nuggets, exquisite jewellery, precious stones, and more.
Book your tour with The Perth Mint today
It’s free to visit The Perth Mint Shop and grounds, but for the full experience, you’ll want to purchase a ticket to the hour-long Perth Mint Gold Exhibition Tour. Tickets can be purchased online or in person.
Tours run every day, with additional tours available over the school holidays. Check the website for details.