Fifty years ago on 18 August 1966, 108 Australian and New Zealand troops encountered a force of more than 2000 Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers in the rubber plantation of Long Tan. A total of 17 Australians were killed in action and 25 were wounded, one of whom later died of his wounds, in what was the largest action fought by Australian forces during the Vietnam War.
In commemoration to this historic event and in remembrance of those brave soldiers who fought and died during the Vietnam War, the Royal Australian Mint has issued a special crown sized commemorative coin.
The reverse of the coin depicts a stylized representation of the rubber plantation in the background, to the right. The foreground is dominated by the image of the “Long Tan Cross”, that was erected on the site of the battle as a memorial three years later. The coin's denomination is indicated to the far left of the coin in two lines : “5 DOLLARS”. The words “BATTLE OF LONG TAN 1966” appear to the bottom right along the rim.
The obverse features the standard right facing portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, by Ian Rank-Broadley, at it's centre. The obverse legend appear as two semi-circles to the left and right of the Queen's effigy and reads : “ELIZABETH II” and “AUSTRALIA 2016”.
The Australian Minister for Small Business, the Hon Michael McCormack MP, commented on the significance of remembering Australia's role in history and the importance of commemorating important events :
"These coins will serve as a reminder of Australia’s involvement and the sacrifices made in the Battle of Long Tan, providing a tangible keepsake to share the story for many years to come..."
"It is also important to take this moment to recognize all those who have served and died in conflict for Australia as well as those who have been affected back on the home front."
On August 18, 1987, Long Tan Day was officially re-named as Vietnam Veteran's day in Australia and has been commemorated ever since. The special crown sized coin, measuring 38.74mm(1.525 Inch), is released in a special printed folder. A limited mintage of 15 000 coins will be released of the uncirculated $5 commemorative coin. The coin is struck from and aluminium zinc bronze alloy and weighs 20 grams(0.705 oz) each.
The coins can be ordered directly from the Royal Australian Mint, and are currently listed for AUS$25.00 each, for the uncirculated packaging.