Scenic World owner Philip Hammon saw his dream become reality when he presented Blue Mountains Crossings Bicentenary 2013-2015 commemorative coin sets to Wentworth Falls Public School students and teachers on Friday [May 10].
The Holey Dollar coin sets are a lasting legacy of the bicentenary to remind students and teachers of the first recognised European crossing of the Blue Mountains by explorers Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth in 1813.
A founding member of Businesses Supporting the Bicentenary (BSB), Mr Hammon personally underwrote the cost of 20,000 coin sets to ensure that every school student throughout the Blue Mountains received a set.
To help offset that financial burden, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism (BMLOT) is helping BSB by encouraging businesses, community groups and individuals to sponsor the coins.
Coins will be presented by representatives from BMLOT, BSB, descendants of the explorers and the Blue Mountains Blue Wave re-enactment team at special assemblies at each school in the region.
In the case of Wentworth Falls Public School, the coins were presented by Mr Hammon, BMLOT chairman Randall Walker, Blue Mountains Blue Wave organiser Trevor Lloyd, Blue Mountains Mayor Daniel Myles and school coin sponsors Jason Cronshaw of Fantastic Aussie Tours and Blue Mountains Explorer Bus and Bev Crockett from the Crockett Group which owns The Mountain Heritage Hotel & Spa at Katoomba.
Each set will be accompanied by an inspirational message to students from NSW Governor Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO.
BMLOT chairman Randall Walker told the 340 Wentworth Falls Public School students that the 1813 crossing had directly affected their lives because without the crucial milestone, the colony would have been abandoned because of a lack of food.
Blue Mountains Mayor Daniel Myles reminded the students of the peace and security Australians took for granted when others around the world did not enjoy such luxury.
School coin sponsor Mr Cronshaw, who’s bus company had provided school excursion to the school for the past 39 years, outlined the importance of the bicentenary; Mrs Crockett encouraged the students to explore the spectacular region they lived in; and Mr Llloyd explained the Blue Mountains Blue Wave re-enactment.
Mr Walker said: “When something special in life happens it’s because someone has had an idea and in the case of these coins, that person was Philip Hammon.’’
The interest of students was particularly piqued when Mr Hammon told them how much the “dump’’ (the small coin punched from the middle of the larger one) would be worth in today’s currency – $10, and the larger coin ($37.50).
However, Mr Walker dashed their hopes of amassing a playground fortune: “The word `replica’ on the back means the coins aren’t real, so you can’t spend them at the canteen at lunch time.’’
The Holey Dollar was Australia’s first currency.
Governor Lachlan Macquarie acquired Spanish silver coins to overcome the problem of the early colony not having a currency. He punched the centre out (named “the dump’’) to make the coins unique and to create two different values from the one coin.
Meanwhile, various sponsorship packages are available to fully or partly sponsor specific schools within the Blue Mountains.
Sponsors will receive acknowledgement of business name and logo or personal name(s) in the printed collateral which will accompany the coins.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a current copy of the list of schools appendix or download it from www.bluemountainscrossings.com.au. The minimum contribution is 100 coins for $500 including GST.
The Holey Dollar bicentenary commemorative coins are also available wholesale to businesses and organisations (minimum purchase 100 coins at $5 each including GST) to present as meaningful gifts or generate retail profits, and for sale individually (RRP $10).
The Blue Mountains, the Blue Mountains Crossings Bicentenary 2013-2015 will include a three-year program of events to commemorate and celebrate: the first recognised European crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1813 by explorers Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth; the building of the Cox’s Road and finally celebrating Governor Lachlan Macquarie visiting Bathurst, Australia’s first inland settlement
Highlights of this year’s Blue Mountains Crossings Bicentenary 2013-2015 program will include the Blue Mountains Blue Wave costumed re-enactment of the crossing from May 11 to 31 and the Blue Mountains Bicentenary Flyover of more than 50 aircraft on May 25.