The First Train out of Sydney

By Jane and Shane Howarth

‘Another penny,’ I thought as my wife dragged the pick point in a well practiced motion from one side of the target to the other and the coin flipped out neatly into the open. As dedicated coin and relic hunters it’s always good to start the day with a coin (especially an old one) and this coin was very old judging from the corrosion. However, upon closer inspection and a quick clean, it was apparent that this was not an English penny but rather some kind of token.

The words were very hard to read but I could make out the date 1855 on the bottom of the token as well as a hole that was neatly punched just inside the rim. The name ‘Hank and Lloyd, Sydney’ was just legible on one side. Finding tokens are just as good as finding pennies in my book because not only were they a form of currency during the gold rush era but they provide an informative glimpse into the past.

But something puzzled me because on the other side of the token I was sure I could just make out the words ‘Sydney Railway’ and I wondered why, back then, a private business would have had some association with a government body.

The full article can be found in the December 2010 issue of Gold Gem and Treasure. Subscribe now.

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