2001/84/328 Medal set and packaging (4), Paralympic Games Sydney 2000, gold/ silver/bronze/wool/simulated leather/velour, designed by Stuart Devlin, made by the Perth Mint and Royal Australian Mint, 2000.
Australia's eminent coin and medal designer, Stuart Devlin (born Geelong, 1931), looked to Sydney's unique landmarks - the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, when designing the victory medals for the 2000 Paralympic Games. These iconic structures signify Sydney as a modern, vibrant city - characteristics that the Sydney Olympic Commission consciously projected throughout the Games.
In 1998, Devlin was one of twenty Australian artists to submit designs for the Paralympic medals. One year later, his drawings were in the process of being translated into around 2500 medals struck by the Perth and Royal Australian Mints - the Perth Mint releasing the gold series, and the Royal Australian Mint releasing the silver and bronze.
Through their design, intended use and manufacture, the Paralympic medals reflect state and national significance. They signify a brief and uniquely patriotic period when the eyes of Australia, and the world focussed squarely upon Sydney and its people. They also make symbolic references to the past, including Australia's rich mining heritage.
The gold within the Olympic and Paralympic medals was sourced from the Orange, Cabonne and Blayney districts of western New South Wales, sites of the former Ophir goldfields where, in 1851, Australia's first payable gold was found. Although this gold rush proved to be short-lived, the area itself continued to support prospectors and mining companies for many years to come. Indeed, even today, the area supports two of Australia's most extensive mines.
Similarly, the silver in both the gold and silver medals is derived from the lucrative Cannington Mine in southern Queensland, and Australia's oldest silver mine at Broken Hill. Together, the gold and silver medals symbolically fuse Australia's past and present, and signify the contributions that mining has made to Australia's development.
Equally symbolic, the bronze medals were struck from obsolete one and two cent coins that Stuart Devlin designed for Australia's conversion to decimal currency in 1966. These were once prolific coins, and the resulting bronze medals have, in effect, been handled by thousands of every-day Australians.
The Sydney Paralympic medals, and other medals in the Sydney 2000 Games Collection, were made according to strict IOC guidelines. They are uniformly 70 millimetres in diameter and five millimetres in width, and contain specific, metallic contents - the gold medals being sterling silver coated with 6 grams of gold, the silver medals being entirely of sterling silver, and the bronze medals being an alloy of copper, zinc, silver and tin. The Australian company, Woolmark, made the green and blue neck ribbons from Australian wool.