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New portrait of Queen to feature on Australian coins

An Australian 1 dollar coin featuring a new portrait of the Queen (Royal Australian Mint/PA) Photo: Press Association Images

A new portrait of the Queen that will feature on Australian coins has been unveiled as the country plans the first update to its currency for 20 years.

The new design by Jody Clark, a British engraver at the Royal Mint, was unveiled by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, in Canberra on Monday.

Due to be rolled out on the dollar and its cent denominations Down Under from 2019, the update marks the sixth time the Queen’s portrait has changed on the currency since her coronation in 1953.

“This new effigy will be a new image for a new era — continuing to tell the story of a reign and lifetime,” Sir Peter said.

New dollar coin featuring the Queen Credit: Royal Australian Mint

In keeping with tradition, Mr Clark’s design shows the Queen facing right and wearing a diamond diadem crown.

However the image varies from that used in the UK by featuring the Queen’s shoulders and the Victorian coronation necklace.

In the UK, Mr Clark’s designs feature on a commemorative coin issued for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as well as the latest image of the Queen introduced on coins in 2015.

His latest will replace a design by British sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley that has been used on new coins in Australia since 1998.

Ross MacDiarmid, chief executive of the Royal Australian Mint, said: “The transition to a new effigy on all Australian coinage will begin in 2019 and continue into 2020. Coins carrying previous portraits of the Queen will remain in circulation.”

The coins will launch next year Credit: Royal Australian Mint

Mr Clark’s design could have a much shorter lifespan than its predecessor, should the Australian Republic Movement (ARM) get its way.

The campaign to remove the Queen as head of state and appoint an Australian is seeking to have a national vote on the issue by 2020.

ARM national director Michael Cooney suggested the latest design overhaul in fact helped their cause.

“If we can afford new coins as the Queen ages we can afford new coins when we become a republic with an Australian head of state,” he told the Press Association.