Australia’s six colonies were united under the name Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901. Some of the consequences of Federation, however, did not come to fruition until many, many years later.
Australia’s Commonwealth silver coinage was not introduced until 1910, our Commonwealth pennies and halfpennies were issued one year later. Our national pride took a bit of a dent when it was realized that Australia’s mints were ill-equipped to strike the nation’s coinage, so our currency had to be struck overseas.
More than a decade after Federation in 1911, Parliament decided on the location of our national capital, Canberra. Three years later, the Government launched a design competition for a permanent Federal Parliament House. The project was suspended due to the outbreak of war and further attempts to revive the project were stifled due to monetary concerns regarding Australia’s war debt.
In 1923 the Government re-started the Parliament House project, with building commencing one year later.
Federal Parliament, that had been sitting for twenty-six years in temporary accommodation in Spring Street, Melbourne, took up brand new space in Canberra on 9 May 1927 in Australia’s first purpose built Federal Parliamentary building.
The opening of Parliament House in Canberra was a milestone in Australia’s pathway to unity. And it was a big deal. Officiated by the Duke of York (later King George VI), the formal opening of Parliament House was broadcast to more than one million people via radio stations in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
The Federal Government took every opportunity to boast its achievements and used currency as an effective conduit. One million florins featuring Parliament House Canberra were struck at the Melbourne Mint and released into circulation.
A further 400 1927 Canberra Florins were struck by the mint to proof quality and sold to collectors.