When designs were being considered for the new Australian silver coinage during the first decade of the twentieth century, the pattern Australian florin illustrated here was put forward. Its reverse, designed by William Henry James Blakemore, a resident engraver at the Royal Mint, was very different from the heraldic devices that had hitherto held sway and it was given serious enough consideration for trial pieces to be prepared.
Blakemore decided to break with the tradition of putting the country's coat of arms on the coin, and instead chose the map of Australia - complete with its rivers, and a sans-serif font. It was precisely the omission of the shield that sparked complaints across Australia. Even the Colonial Governor officially requested that it be incorporated, to which the Royal Mint agreed, finally discarding the idea and accepting another design by the same artist, very much heraldic in theme.
Whatever its drawbacks, it stands out as an unusual item and it even attracted the attentions of the well-known counterfeiter David Gee, who concentrated on Australian rarities and who had access to the Royal Australian Mint collection in Canberra. Perhaps its very distinctiveness caught his eye. He made copies, including one paired with an obverse using an original die for a double sovereign.
The Royal Mint Museum lists this as a uniface pattern, but also supplied a photo of an obverse with the King's effigy by de Saulles; note though that it carries the "colonial" legend (in English) and not the one finally adopted on Australian coinage, which was the same as on Imperial coinage (in Latin).