2021 $1 Coloured 1/2 oz Silver Frunc Coin - Star Dreaming - Beizam - The Shark in the Stars
Torres Strait Dauareb elder, Segar Passi’s shark artwork is inspired by seven stars in the big dipper and big bear (Ursa Major) constellation which make up the body of a deep-sea predator. The shark’s position in the sky indicates when to plant crops and the timing of seasonal storms. Stardreaming is a three-coin series that showcases indigenous astronomical stories.
As Melanesian sea-faring people, Torres Strait Islanders are custodians of country that spans 48,000 square kilometres of water and 250 plus islands including 14 that are inhabited. Their culture stretches back an estimated 8000 years, when at the end of the last Ice Age sea levels swamped the land bridge connecting Papua New Guinea and Australia.
Indigenous Australians are believed to be the first astronomers. They have a rich tradition of using the stars as maps, weather predictors, calendars, timekeeping tools and for important storytelling.
In islander culture the stars help guide traditional laws, customs and practices that are handed down through generations through stories, ceremonies, songs and dances. The stars also inform islanders when they should go hunting for dugong and turtles and when to plant food crops like bananas. When the shark constellation appears in the north, islanders know it’s shark mating season.
• Coin’s reverse features artwork by Torres Strait Dauareb elder and artist Segar Passi
• Coin’s obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II designed by Jody Clark
• Certificate of Authority
• Maximum mintage 5000
• Australian legal tender
• Presented in a display case