The story of Vladimír Gottwald – a Czech that emigrated to Australia with his family in 1980. He always enjoyed art and eventually fulfilled his artistic desires when he found work as a graphic artist at the Royal Mint in Canberra.
He worked there for 22 years, during which he won several awards for design and manufacture of coins thanks to his skilled handywork.
Vladimír Gottwald emigrated to Australia in 1980 with his wife and three young children.
The journey, which was originally planned from Vienna to Melbourne, ended in Sydney. They had no choice because the hostel in Melbourne was already full. Vladimír was very disappointed, especially due to the fact that a classmate from school was waiting for him in Melbourne, where Vladimír intended to settle with his family.
It was already dark when the bus with crying children pulled up to a hotel in Maroubra with Czech and Polish emigrants on board. It had woven through unsightly streets, where all kinds of junk was scattered around the place. You could see the sadness in Vladimír’s eyes. He blamed himself for bringing his family hear.
This apparent sadness soon passed. He liked being in Sydney. Given that he felt somehow cheated, he started planning another move. He was originally bound for Melbourne!
After one and a half years his family relocated to their original destination. Vladimír frequently changed jobs out of concern about providing for his family and as he found himself in new surroundings. None of the jobs had anything to do with art.
He tried to make up for this by devoting himself to art, which he enjoyed so much, after work in his garage, where he would prepare for exhibitions. A friend from the war, Ivan Kolařík, who he stumbled upon by chance during a walk in Healesville Park, commissioned him with making a bust of the Victorian Police Commissioner at the time, “Nick Miller”. That very bust is now located in the entrance hall of the Police Academy in Glen Waverly, Melbourne. Among other projects, he also created a bust for the Australian TV personality, “Bert Newton”.
The sculptural group “I still love you”, carved into sandstone represents the Geological Department of Latrobe University in Melbourne.
A private school of photography and design in Melbourne organised a two-year Diploma in Graphic Design course. After completing the course, Vladimír applied for a job at the Royal Mint in Canberra, which happened to be looking for a Graphic Designer of coins and medals. 22 years of hard and satisfying work in the Mint from 1990 sated his artistic calling. In 1995 the Australian one dollar coin “Waltzing Mathilda” won an award for the best coin in commercial circulation against competitors from around the whole world. The awards ceremony took place in New York.
In 2000, for the first time since 1936 and for the first time ever on a 50c coin, an Australian coin will have the Queen’s portrait as designed and created by, at the time already Australian, Vladimír Gottwald. Vladimír personally presented a coin with her new portrait to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 27th March 2000 during her official visit of Australia. That same year, the 50c coin won an award for the best coin in commercial circulation against competitors from around the world. This time, the award ceremony took place in Kyoto, Japan.
Vladimír met with Her Majesty for the second time in 2006, when he presented the coin collection “Masterpiece in Silver,” that he had personally designed and created, to her.
To this day the coins are in circulation, which Vladimír is proud of – and rightly so.
Vladimír recently designed a bronze plaque on the occasion of the 1st Anniversary of the planting of a Czech Linden Tree, also known as a “Tree of Liberty”. The tree was planted in 2019 to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the 5th and largest expansion of the European Union, which the Czech Republic was a part of.