The Australian one-cent coin is the smallest denomination of the Australian dollar. It was introduced with the Currency Act 1965 (Commonwealth) but - unlike some of the other denominations - it did not replace an earlier pre-decimal coin; given that the 5 cents piece replaced the sixpence, one cent was technically equal to 1.2 pence but the Act rounded that to one penny. The one cent coin was much smaller than the penny though, so the penny denomination did not continue to circulate (unlike the sixpence, shilling and florin which were equivalent to respectively 5 cents, 10 cents and 20 cents and were re-denominated as such).
The one cent and the two cent denominations were withdrawn from circulation in February 1992. They have never been demonetised though and remain legal tender.
In 2017, the Royal Australian Mint released a series of circulating and collector coins which highlight one of the country’s newer, though very popular, children’s stories - Possum Magic.
Possum Magic, a book written by Merrion Frances “Mem” Fox, follows the story of two Australian possums, Grandma Poss and her grandchild Hush. Originally written in 1978, the book was rejected by nine publishers until one, Omnibus Books, asked for it to be reduced in size by two-thirds and that all of the animals be Australian animals to focus on the Australian theme. Thus, Possum Magic was published with the story of Grandma Poss using her possum magic to turn Hush invisible to protect the child from the dangers of the Australian Bush. Forgetting how to make Hush visible again, Grandma Poss and Hush set out on an adventure to tour Australia to find a cure.
The coins, which include four $1 coins and three colour-printed $2 coins, depict some of the more memorable original illustrations created by Julie Vivas, whose artwork was included in the published story. She also created a new reverse design which shows Hush reading a book - perhaps her own copy of Possum Magic - which appears on the one cent coin.