The Perth Mint was originally established in 1899 to create Australian dollars. It’s an elegant late-19th century building located close to Perth’s CBD. It’s the only gold refinery in Australia and one of the largest in the world, although the Australian coins of today are made in Canberra.
There’s between $10 and $20 million of gold in the Mint, and the medals of the Sydney Olympics in 2000 were made there. It’s one of Australia’s leading tourist attractions, and the 120,000 visitors it attracts every year and the many awards it has won are a firm testament to the allure of gold. Photography is not permitted inside.
The Mint is open every day from 9am to 5pm. There are guided talks every hour from 09:30am to 3:30pm. Admission costs $15 for adults, with a concession card reducing the fee by $2, and $5 for children, with children under the age of four allowed entry for free. A family pass for two adults and two children costs $38. There is wheelchair access and disabled toilet facilities.
The Mint is the largest gold bar exhibition in the world, showing bars that have been crafted into a myriad of designs. Gold is poured on the hour from 10am to 4pm, showing the creation of a gold bar. The goldsmith’s explanation of the process is highly entertaining. The same bar has been used for 20 years. The creation of gold coins can also be witnessed, and historic gold coins are on display. The Mint houses the largest gold coin ever made, comprising a tonne of pure gold and worth $50 million, the first gold coin minted there – an 1899 gold sovereign – and one of the largest nuggets in the world, the 469oz/13kg Golden Beauty. You can handle a 400oz/11.3kg bar of gold worth $200,000 and step onto scales to ascertain exactly what is your worth in gold. A display pays tribute to the early gold miners of Western Australia.
The Mint was founded by the British government, and British influence is evident from the tea rooms, which are set in a very pretty – and very English – courtyard. The service provided is much-praised. The gift shop stocks all manner of gold products. Coins can be engraved with personal messages.
When the Mint was converted to a tourist attraction, the dirt and dust that had accumulated over the years was filtered for traces of gold, and more than $600,000 was found. There will still be gold in the walls, but the building is heritage-protected, so there it will remain.