Secret message buried in Aussie coin
The Royal Australian Mint has finally revealed the secret message hidden on a "unique and exciting" Aussie coin.
In September this year, the Mint made history after releasing the first Aussie coin featuring a secret code.
The groundbreaking new 50c coin was launched to mark the 70th anniversary of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and was released at the same time as the Mint's "Coincryption" competition, which celebrated the secret and elusive world of spies and espionage.
Each coin featured an encrypted message - similar to those used during the Cold War - and if you were able to decode it, you were eligible to score a one-of-a-kind ASIO coin.
They came with a "one-time pad" that was previously used by the Soviet intelligence service, the KGB, to crack secret messages.
People who bought a coin were able to enter the encrypted code into the online Coincryption competition, which closed earlier this month, to be in the running to win the only ASIO-designed coin in history.
"The Royal Australian Mint is honoured to commemorate the last seven decades of ASIO's important work with the very first coin produced by the Mint featuring an encrypted code similar to that used by operatives during the Cold War," Royal Australian Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid said in a statement at the time.
The Mint has now finally revealed the secret message on the coin.
"There is no greater honour than the trust of the Australian people or weightier burden than protecting the security of Australia and its people," the code reads.
Mr MacDiarmid said the release had been a hit with coin enthusiasts.
"The Royal Australian Mint is thrilled to share yet another unique coin release and exciting competition that resonates with the Australian public, further engaging interest in the age-old hobby of coin collecting while commemorating seven decades of ASIO," he said.
The winner of the competition has also been named as Queenslander Andrew Olsson, who beat 1000 other entrants.
Mike Burgess, the director-general of security at ASIO, congratulated Mr Olsson on the win and agreed the coin's release had been a success.
"Congratulations to Andrew for decoding ASIO's secret message. Well done. It's exciting to see so much interest in ASIO, our 70th anniversary, and the commemorative coin."
The 20,000 available coins were sold for $10 each.
According to the Mint, poor encryption practices during the post-World War II era allowed the Five Eyes allies to decrypt some of the KGB cables under Operation Venona, revealing the presence of a Soviet spy ring active in Australia and prompting the United Kingdom to urge Australia to establish a security service, leading to the establishment of ASIO in 1949.
It was designed to protect Australia's national security as well as the security of our close allies.