Australia, Travel guides, Western Australia

A Guided Tour of The Perth Mint

08/07/2015
IMG_4830 Perth, as we know it today, is here thanks to gold.  Gold was discovered in Western Australia in the 1880's which soon led to 'the gold boom' and a drastic transformation to the city and people that live there today.

One rainy afternoon in Perth (a rare occasion) Shaun and I were looking for an indoor activity to shelter from the weather and instead of your average history museum we opted to visit The Perth Mint.

The Perth Mint has been refining gold from Western Australia's goldfields since 1899.

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We were lucky enough to arrive in time for a guided tour of the mint.  The tour started with our guide telling some interesting tales from the gold rush era and should us some impressive replicas of the biggest gold nuggets found in the world.
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We entered the exhibition and revolving in circles before us was the biggest gold coin in the world.  Stood 80cm high and 12cm deep this ridiculous gold coin weighs in at a whopping one tonne.  Made in 2012, the 99.99% pure gold coin has a face value of AU$1,000,000, a metal value of AU$55,000,000 and a collectors value of priceless.  It is pretty damn impressive!

Next up was the best part of all ... a live gold pour demonstration.  Our guide took us through to a traditional melting house in which pure gold was heated up to over 1064 degrees, poured out like liquid sunshine and turned into a gold bullion before our eyes.  It was mesmerizing to watch.  Molten gold really does look like sunshine itself.

Interestingly, the graphite pots used to melt the gold absorb specs of gold during every pour.  Every 2 weeks when these pots need to be replaced they melt them down too and recover up to $200 worth of gold from every pot.

And what's more in 1990, when the Perth Mint moved it's operations to another location they found gold in the walls, literally.  Gold evaporating from the quenching process rose into the air and over decades accumulated in the ceiling of the melting house.  They managed to scrape 1.5 kilos of gold dust from the ceiling.

We even got the opportunity to try and pick up a gold bullion valued at over AU$500,000 and weighing in at 12 kg!  Obviously, whilst inside a very heavily secured vault.

Being governed by the same rules a bank we were not allowed to take any photos inside the building but believe me it was worth the $19 entrance fee and a great way to learn about how Perth was raised from the ground by the miners.
À la perchoine, Jodie

Are you planning a visit to the Perth Mint, or recently been? What did you think?


 

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2 Comments

  • Reply Ali Benn 08/07/2015 at 11:41 pm

    Did they give out any freebies? Need some gold for your wedding ring, Jo!

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