The Castlemaine Currency Project, created and presented by Jodi Newcombe, Ann Ferguson and Dale Cox, was designed to engage the community around key questions, such as: What is money? Why a local currency? How can it create economic and social wealth? – and what can it tell us about ourselves?

Economist and creative producer Jodi Newcombe led an economy experiment where the coins were traded for three weeks in local businesses representing circular economy leadership. Ten percent of all transactions were gifted to Castlemaine Pay the Rent.

Newcombe and Cox curated an exhibition and associated events that sat alongside the currency at Lot19, situating it within a global practice of over 300 local currency efforts and leading with the provocation of creating an economy that operates like an ecology.

Sponsored by Get Lost, Mount Alexander Shire and in partnership with the Castlemaine Institute and the Castlemaine Art Museum, this collaborative, artistic investigation aimed to produce a tangible, tactile and tradable currency incorporating local clay, which was then used to trial actual exchanges as well as spark conversation. Wararack is Dja Dja Wurrung for Silver Wattle and a symbol for diversity and the “glue” that binds us together. The plant is used to make impressions upon the clay currency, and is a potent reminder of the true source of our wealth – Djaara Country.

Embraced by National and local media, and affectionately adopted by the local community – and by Museum Victoria’s Numismatic (coin) collection – the Castlemaine Currency was a resounding success, and hopes to continue to expand to meet its full potential to support local economic resilience, self-determination and thriving.

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