A History of Australia's Coins with The Royal Australian Mint's Frederica Heacock

Peter Rees


Inside the Vault is a celebration of the history and art of Australian coinage from it’s earliest beginnings to the present day, published in collaboration with the Royal Australian Mint. Author Peter Rees reveals the many fascinating stories of the people and events from the history of Austrlaian coins, from the Rum Rebellion, to the 19th century gold rushes and the introduction of decimal currency in 1966. 

Q & A with Inside the Vault's Creative Director Frederica Heacock 


Tell us what inspired the concept for Inside the Vault?

As Creative Director at the Royal Australian Mint, I found researching new coin products quite difficult. There was no single source of information capturing all of the important history.  I had to rely on my colleagues for information, visit the Mint’s museum, search old paper archive files, electronic records, and Google the rest. Images were scattered in libraries all over the country.

I thought a coffee table book that captured the history, along with beautiful images showcasing the art of coin design, would coincide well with our commemoration of the 50th anniversary of decimal currency, a significant moment in Australia’s recent history.


What process did you go through to select your publishing team?

I began by developing a creative brief and an indicative contents outline, and following discussion selected NewSouth as the publisher. We connected from the outset as they were enthusiastic and understood my vision for book. 

I was so happy when Peter Rees agreed to write the book. My daughter and I had just finished watching an ABC television series he’d written, ANZAC Girls, which is about the incredibly courageous nurses who served in The Great War. It is so well written. I wanted a similar writing style, one that would be an easy read. Peter has a background as a political journalist so I knew he’d be able to dig out some of the interesting stories.

It really felt like the creative team were on the same page for the duration of the project.


Can you tell us how the look and feel of this book came together?

Collaboration is key. I worked with my colleagues at the Mint who very generously arranged to open up the vault on several occasions so we could photograph the many rare and collectable coins. I set the image style and worked with the photography project team to shoot images we could use at full page size to show their exquisite detail.

An initial meeting with the graphic design team at NewSouth quickly established the look and feel, from the book’s specifications right down to the cotton ribbon bookmark. We collaborated on design on a daily basis at some points in the book’s production. The team were very accommodating of my design input, but equally I respected their publishing experience and knew when to take their advice.

The result is a coffee table book we can all be proud of.


Inside the Vault was published by NewSouth in February 2016.