of this unique silver
is none other than Darryl
Bellotti, who also has designed the Australian
as well as the Rectangular
for the Perth Mint. He is an indigenous or
native Australian, what we call an
Aborigine, who for generations untold coexisted with the endemic
Australian animals, hunting them as necessary but always respecting
their Spirits. Separate articles in this presentation explore this
series; the artist; the Dreaming and Dreamtime; and the animal itself!
Discover Australia - The Dreaming
The Dreaming Series is the latest chapter in The Perth Mint’s
Australia coin program
depicting iconic aspects of
Australian wildlife, landscape and culture. Scheduled for
between 2009 and 2011, the beautiful new series comprises pure
proof coins depicting unique interpretations of 15 different Australian
Australia - The Dreaming
designs were created by Darryl
Bellotti, an Australian
Indigenous (aboriginal) artist of both Yamatji and Nyoongar descent.
Bellotti is inspired by his boyhood memories of hunting trips
northwestern Australia, where he observed the unique fauna
island continent and was guided by his elders. The aboriginal art
depicts the animal surrounded by patterns that symbolize the Dreamtime
and the native landscape of the outback.
There is huge
international interest in Australian Indigenous art. Created through
the millennia on rocks, on bark, on canvas and in sculpture, the oldest
ongoing artistic tradition in the world stretches back tens of
thousands of years.
The coins of the Discover
Australia - The Dreaming Series
represent the perfect marriage of precious metals and modern technology
with native Australian, aboriginal designs. Each is
and investment caliber work of fine
For more information and pictures of Australian aboriginal
Darryl Bellotti, including an extensive interview, please see the
article at the end of this presentation.
Click here for all of the coins
in the Discover Australia - The Dreaming program.
The Saltwater Crocodile
or estuarine crocodile
is the largest of all living reptiles (and therefore of all living
crocodilians as well). A large male can measure over 20 feet long and
weigh over 2,500 pounds! The saltwater croc is found in suitable
habitats throughout Southeast Asia, northern Australia, and the
crocodiles are known in northern
Australia as "salties" (as opposed to the smaller, freshwater crocodile
species colloquially called "freshies"). Due to this species' tendency
to travel very long distances at sea, individual saltwater crocodiles
occasionally show up in odd locales where they are not native. Vagrant
individuals have historically been reported on New Caledonia, Iwo Jima,
Fiji, and even in the relatively frigid Sea of Japan (thousands of
miles from their native territory.)
obverse depicts a large male saltie lying in wait in its
native river habitat, with water lilies all around. Saltwater
crocodiles generally spend the tropical wet season in freshwater swamps
and rivers, moving downstream to estuaries in the dry season, and
sometimes traveling far out to sea. Crocodiles compete fiercely with
each other for territory, with dominant males in particular occupying
the most eligible stretches of freshwater creeks and streams. Junior
crocodiles are thus forced into the more marginal river systems and
sometimes into the ocean. This explains the large distribution of the
animal (ranging from the east coast of India to northern Australia) as
well as its being found in odd places on occasion (such as the Sea of
Japan). Saltwater crocodiles can swim 15 to 18 miles per hour in short
bursts, but when cruising go 2 to 3 mph.
A Powerful and Deadly
is an opportunistic apex predator capable of
taking any animal that enters its territory, either in the water or
on dry land. Domestic cattle, horse, water buffalo, sharks
gaur, all of which may weigh over a ton, are considered the largest
prey taken by male crocodiles.
an ambush predator, it usually waits for its prey to get close to the
water's edge before striking, using its great strength to drag the
animal back into the water. Most prey animals are killed by the great
jaw pressure of the crocodile, although some animals may be
incidentally drowned. It is an immensely powerful animal, having the
strength to drag a fully grown water buffalo into a river, or crush a
full-grown bovid's skull between its jaws.
In its deadliest attack, called the "death roll," the saltie grabs onto
the animal and rolls powerfully. This throws any struggling large
animal off balance making it easier to drag it into the water. The
"death roll" is also used for tearing apart large animals once they are
dead. The only threats to adult saltwater crocodiles are other
crocodiles and humans.
course, the saltwater croc also poses a threat to humans as well.
In Australia, attacks are rare and usually make headlines
they do occur. There are, on average, no more than one or two fatal
attacks reported per year in the country. The low level of attacks is
most likely due to the extensive effort by local wildlife officials to
post crocodile "warning" signs at nearly every billabong, river, lake
and even at some beaches and also due to the relatively well-informed
nature of the local citizens.
Click here for more coins and
medals featuring animals!
the mint images of this beautiful proof coin do not do it justice. The
fields are deeply mirrored, the relief devices are white-frosted cameo,
and the deep, rich colors of Australia's outback are incredible!
The Dreaming and the
The aboriginal ideas of the Dreaming and the Dreamtime are spiritual
concepts, related to but distinct from each other. In both cases the
concepts were transliterated into English words that do not do
them justice. The translations are inadequate and nearly completely
unrelated to the Western concept of dreams.
The Dreamtime is the "Time Before
Time", or the sacred "once upon a
time" of the Aborigines. During the Dreamtime, the ancestral, totemic
Spirit Beings formed all of creation. Traditional Australian
peoples embrace all phenomena and life as part of a
system of relationships which can be traced directly back to
ancestral totemic Spirit Beings of the Dreamtime. Different
inhabit each and every aspect of creation, so the echoes of the
Dreamtime can be seen and felt everywhere.
The Dreaming refers to an individual's or group's set of beliefs or
spirituality. For instance, an Indigenous Australian might say that
s/he has Kangaroo Dreaming, or Shark Dreaming, or Honey Ant Dreaming,
or any combination of Dreamings pertinent to his or her spiritual
being. The Dreamtime laid down the patterns of life for the Aboriginal
people, while the Dreaming is the spirituality passed on from the
inception of creation.
Click here for the other
beautiful Dreaming coins!
The Perth Mint of Australia employs its own proprietary
colorization technology, in which the color is actually sealed on the
coin. The vibrant hues and precise execution of the technology create a
stunning, full-color portrait on each coin.
here for other great colored coins!
A saltwater crocodile
is depicted making lying in wait for prey in frosted cameo relief
against a background
of warm splashes of color representing the wetlands where this huge
reptile is commonly found. The
legends DISCOVER AUSTRALIA and SALTWATER CROCODILE
define the theme, while the legend 1 OZ 999 SILVER
guarantees the weight and purity. The Perth Mint's "P" mint mark is
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of England, in crowned profile facing
right. This portrait, featuring Her Majesty wearing a tiara and pearl
earrings, was executed by the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley. The
legend ELIZABETH II and the denomination also appear.
Click here for more great pure
The coin is encapsulated inside an elegant, luxury presentation case
with a native Australian jarrah wood lid, protected by a full-color
outer box. An individually-numbered certificate of authenticity is
Jarrah is a species of eucalyptus tree found in the southwest of
Western Australia. Because of its similar appearance to mahogany,
jarrah is sometimes referred to as Swan River mahogany, after the river
that runs through Perth.
Click here for other beautiful
About The Artist - Darryl Bellotti, Indigenous Coin Designer
Much of the
inspiration for Darryl Bellotti's stunning artistic
creations comes from traditional Aboriginal art
Yet there is a
contemporary, innovative feel to his work that stamps it with his own
unique style. “You will identify it as Australian Indigenous
but I also want you to recognize it as mine as soon as you see
it,” is the way he explains his aim.
Darryl deliberately sets out to challenge people's understanding of
what they perceive as Indigenous art. For example, he resists the use
of too many dots, which would not have been successful in the context
of his coin designs. He also strives for a modern edge, finding the
design technology available at the Mint to be helpful. “I am
Indigenous person of Australia, but I'm also modern in the way that I
can create artwork on the computer,” he says.
Behind the designs for The
lies Darryl's fascination with the interaction of Australia's native
wildlife within the vast and varied landscape. The inspiration for each
piece emerges as he imagines himself in the midst of the natural
environment, where he relives the experience of its colors, warmth,
textures and sounds in his mind. It comes naturally to him, having been
brought up for an expected life in the bush.
Intensely familiar with many Australian native animals, Darryl observes
them in his mind's eye, searching for a telling movement or posture
which will reveal its experience. The different treatments of the
kangaroo illustrate the result of this contemplative process.
he shows its power and speed – a reaction maybe to being
by a predator or a bush fire. The colored element, symbolizing
Australia's red dirt, seemingly explodes beneath the impact of its
In contrast, the
portrays the animal in a calm mood – its relaxed, comfortable
stance revealing a tranquil, undisturbed moment, maybe at dusk as it
comes out to feed.
With his platinum
Darryl subtly reminds us that the animals existed in harmony with the
land long before the appearance of mankind. References to courtship
rituals and progeny are used to symbolize their ancient process of
“I have an inherent ability to tell a story,”
explains, “My art, as well as the music I write, is art of my
story telling.” In the case of The
it conveys the respect he has for the animals in the beauty of their
own environment. The message reflects his optimism for the future.
“It feels as though everyone is starting to wake up and see
things the way my people have been taught for so long through ancient
stories about the
Each coin design, depicted with fluid shapes and patterns inspired by
nature, represents Darryl's tribute to the animal. “My main
is that people might say, 'Oh, why is this happening?', or 'Why is the
animal doing that?' They may never have even seen a brolga before. If
they think it's beautiful, they might learn a bit more about it. They
might want to learn about the traditional people who live on the land
inhabited by these animals.”