The $2 coin was first introduced on 20 June 1988. Planning for a $2 coin commenced around the same time as that for the $1 coin. Like the $1 coin, the $2 coin replaced the note of the same denomination which had a short service life through high use.
A number of designers were invited to contribute designs for the $2 based on a design brief to include a representation of the head and shoulders of a traditional Australian Aboriginal, a representation of the Southern Cross and a representation of Australian flora. The selected design was prepared by Mr Horst Hahne, with inspiration taken from a drawing by Mr Ainslie Roberts. The 1988 and 1989 dated coins carried the designer's initials HH in the lower left, but these were in later issues.
The size of the $2 was determined after consideration of the needs of the visually impaired community, security considerations, a desire to avoid shaped coins, practical limitations to the diameter and thickness of coins, and to allow for future expansion of Australia's circulating coin array. When introduced, it was necessary to accommodate this new coin with seven existing denominations.
Composition: 92% copper, 6% aluminium, 2% nickel.