ACT News

Belconnen teenager strikes first coin of 2017 at Royal Australian Mint

A Belconnen teenager has won the honour of striking Australia and the world's first coin of 2017, withstanding rain, sunburn and food poisoning in a six-day wait outside the Mint.

Luke Marshall, 16, started the queue at lunchtime on Christmas Day, bearing a little gas stove and a sleeping bag he would roll out on the concrete to sleep.

Luke Marshall 16 of Belconnen is first in line at the Royal Australian Mint to get the first coin of 2017. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

On Sunday, he became the first person in the world to strike a coin for 2017, paying $3 for the honour and resulting coin. He received a one-off coin set, accompanied by certificate number 1.

It was fifth time lucky for the Belconnen teenager who was seventh in line in 2013, ninth in 2014, eighth in 2015 and 10th in 2016.

The 2017 Trans-Australian Railway centenary coin. Photo: The Mint

Mint chief executive Ross MacDiarmid said said the coins this year commemorated the centenary of the Trans-Australia Railway, which connected Australia from east to west.

"One hundred years ago the wide brown land of Australia was a spectacular, but impassable, terrain – the east and west was divided - but then a 1698 kilometre track was opened, stretching from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta, crossing the scorched Nullarbor Plain," he said.

"Since then, freight, mail and passengers have all been carried across the railway line with journeys ranging from practical and functional to whimsical and extravagant."

The railway centenary design features a stylised version of the G Class locomotive and accompanying carriages that were used on the original journey one hundred years ago.

Luke Marshall received the first coin of 2017. Photo: The Mint

It will also be struck in limited numbers of fine silver and gold coins.

The first 100 visitors to strike a coin on Sunday also received a certificate. It will be proof they were among the first of a forecast 300,000 visitors to walk through the doors of the Mint in 2017.