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1 dollar 2005 - End of WWII

By CAA    |   Saturday, 11 November 2023

1 dollar 2005 - End of WWII

This coin was issued to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II (1939 to 1945). The reverse design was inspired by the Dancing Man a Sydney citizen.

On 15 August 1945, the 12 seconds capturing a jubilant man dancing down the street is believed to have been filmed by prominent cameraman of that time, Jim Pearson. He tooks note of a man's joyful expression and dance and asked him to do it once again.

The man consented and was caught on motion picture film in an Australian edition of the newsreel Movietone News. The film and stills from it have taken on iconic status in Australian history and culture, and symbolise joyous elation to the war's end.

1 dollar 2005 - Dancing man

Movietone News ran from 1928 to 1963 in the United States, in the United Kingdom from 1929 to 1986 and in Australia from 1929 to 1975. The Movietone News Australia archive was donated to the National Film and Sound Archive in 1988.

This dancing man is one of the best-known images of the celebrations at the end of the Second World War. His brief (eight second) appearance, captured on film in George Street, between King Street and Martin Place on 15 August 1945, has been replayed countless times and come to encapsulate the spontaneity of emotion throughout the nation on that day.

In the years since this newsreel was first shown, the mystery surrounding the dancer’s name has compounded the fascination with this audiovisual record. Even now, his identity remains in dispute and a number of men over the years have claimed to be the figure in the newsreel. But whatever the genesis of this scene, it illustrates how resonant icons can make historic news events timeless and, in doing so, embed themselves into the national consciousness.

- Poppy De Souza, Curator, National Film and Sound Archive

Who is the dancing man?

Ern Hill

The Women's Weekly reported in April 2004 that the man was Mr Ern Hill, retired electrician, of Wentworthville. Mr Hill's daughter, Ms Sue Butterfield, recognised the man as her father, and he agreed. The Royal Australian Mint chose to portray Ern Hill as the dancing man on the 2005 issue $1 coin, but the coin, sculpted by Wojciech Pietranik, does not bear any name.

It was about mid-morning when the boss came down and said, 'It's all over.' They shut up shop. After changing clothes he had dashed into the city, spotting a camera crew on a truck. It's a bit embarrassing after all these years. I was just 17 at the time and, like most kids that age, a bit of a show-off. I saw the cameras and just acted the goat. They didn't seem to have much else to film. The camera came along and I did a bit of a jump around.

- Ern Hill

Frank McAlary

The retired barrister claimed that he was the man photographed pirouetting in Elizabeth Street, Sydney. A Queen's Counsel, Chester Porter, and a former Compensation Court judge, Barry Egan, both claim to have seen McAlary being filmed dancing. The television programme Where Are They Now?, produced by Australia's Seven Network, attempted to solve the mystery of the dancing man's identity. The network hired a forensic scientist who examined the film reel and picture and came to the conclusion that it was indeed McAlary.

Patrick Blackall

Film World Pty Ltd, representing Cinesound-Movietone Productions, says the dancer may be Mr Patrick Blackall, who lives in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

I'm the genuine dancing man. I was 13 years, 11 months and 15 days old, and Dad gave me a hiding for wagging school.

- Patrick Blackall


  • Composition: 92% copper, 6% aluminum and 2% nickel
  • Diameter: 25 mm
  • Engraver: Obverse: Raphael Maklouf, Reverse: Wojciech Pietranik
  • Mintage: 31,892,026

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