Mike Tracey, Sculptor ... A Profile

1979 - 1986


Michael is a descendant of some of the first European settlers to Queensland, Australia who followed the rushes to the gold and the mining fields of Charters Towers, Irvinebank Georgetown and Herberton. He was born in Cairns, North Queensland on the 14th September 1945. Educated in the North, his interest in its folklore and music grew. After service with the Royal Australian Engineers, his professional career turned to photography and graphic arts then to sculpture, where he portrayed the characters of the Bush Ballads. This resulted in many successful exhibitions and commissions at home and overseas.


Figure 1: I've Got It


‘.... I’m proud to be called a folk artist or traditionalist. My work shows the Australian character as it is, and I relish the thought that people can relate to my work. 1988 reminded me of the people who molded our country and our future. I was honoured to have worked on many official commemorative projects including: the Australian Bicentennial Commemorative Series Medallions, and the 1988 Fifty-Cent coin issued by the Royal Australian Mint.’


Figure 2: The 1988 Fifty-Cent coin issued by the Royal Australian Mint


This was a new form of sculpture for Michael and the coin was awarded the International Best Trade Coin award for 1988 in 1990.


'He was the winner of a prestigious medallion competition entered at the invitation of the Paris Mint. Over 400 designers worldwide were represented. 1988 saw his departure from his beloved Queensland to be retained by the West Australian Mint as Consultant Designer. He designed the platinum coin 'The Australian Koala'. International response to this coin was immense and achieved the intended years sales figure – 100,000 units within two months.   He returned east to undertake projects for the International Year of Space Year 1992, to continue his sculptural and design work and further his University studies.'


(Extract from an exhibition catalogue)


Exhibitions 1979 ~ 1983


1979 'Our People', Stock Exchange, Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia:


1980 'Heritage',School of Arts, Bowen, Queensland, Australia;


1980 'Miner's Right', School of Arts, Herberton, Queensland, Australia;


1981 'Pioneers', Irvinebank School of Arts, Irvinebank, Queensland; Australia.


1981 'Pioneers' Queensland House, London, England;


1982 'Mike Tracey's Australians'

Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, Queensland, Australia;


Adelaide Festival of Arts, South Australia;


Buckland Gallery, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia;


Rockhampton Art Gallery, Queensland, Australia;


Kelvin Grove Art College, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia;


Nudgee College Art Festival, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia;


Dysart Civic Centre Dysart, Queensland Australia;


City Library, Mackay, Queensland, Australia;


1983 Burdekin Cultural Centre, Ayr, Queensland, Australia.



1980 culpture commissioned by the Country Music Festival Association, 'You're in Country Music City' Apex Park Charters Towers, Queensland. (steel).


1980 MIM Holdings Ltd. commissioned 'The Refiner' to mark the 21st year of operations of Copper Refineries Ltd. Civic. Theatre) Townsville. (steel / copper)


1981 Irvinebank Centenary Plaque, commissioned by Associated Tin Smelters, Sydney, New South Wales. (tin).


1982 'The Find at Cope's Creek' commissioned by De Beers London commemorating the discovery of diamonds in Australia. (steel).


1982 'The Pioneers' commissioned the Queensland. Cane Growers Council and the Ayr District Cane Growers Executive. Burdekin Cultural Centre, Queensland. (steel).


1983 'That's the News' commissioned by Queensland Newspapers Pty. Ltd. to commemorate the 50th year of operation. (steel)


1985 'EDAQ Award for Excellence' commissioned by the Electrical Development Association of Queensland. This sculpture is presented annually for special achievement within the electrical industry. (bronze).


1986 'Australian Bicentennial Commemorative Medallion Series' Commissioned by the Royal Australian Mint and the Australian Bicentennial Authority to mark 200 years of European settlement. (Sterling silver - proof).


1986 'Young Australian of the Year' commissioned by the National Australia Day Council to sculpt the awards for the Young Australian of the Year. (pewter).


1986 'Tall Ships' and 'School' Medallions'. Designs selected by the Australian Bicentennial Authority for the reverse of these medallions. (bronze).


1987 Bond International Pty. Ltd. commissioned the design for a Bicentennial Commemorative Tankard. (gold, silver).


1987 Australian Currency Bicentennial 50 Cents. Design selected the Royal Australian Mint and Australian Treasury. (gold, silver).


1987 'Australian Achiever Medallion' commissioned by the National Australia Day Council. (silver).


1987 Commissioned by the Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint, France) to design sculpt the plaster for the 'Franco- Australian Commemorative Medallion' on the occasion of the Australian Bicentenary. (silver & bronze editions).


1987 Commissioned by the Directors of CSR Limited to design and sculpt a medallion to commemorate 'The CSR Hinkler Air Race' presented to the Hon. Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, KCMG at the official opening of CSR House, Brisbane. (pewter).


1988 Commissioned by the Australian Bicentennial Authority to design for the Women's Weekly the 'Women 88' medallion, design competition winner. (silver).


1988 Commissioned by GoldCorp Australia, Perth WA, to design 'The Koala' - Australia's first platinum coin. Issued as bullion and proof $100 $50; $25; $15. (platinum)


1988 Commissioned by GoldCorp Australia, Western Australia to design 'The Australian Koala' 1988 proof issue. (platinum)


1989 Commissioned to design bullion and proof issues of 'The Australian Koala' platinum coins for the years 1989 to 1994. (platinum).




1979 Religious Art Award Beenleigh Rotary Art Exhibition. 'Christ'  (silk- screening);


1982 Life Membership, Queen Victoria Hospital, Adelaide South Australia, for services to charity;


1983 Winston Churchill. Memorial Fellowship to investigate modern casting techniques in the UK, Europe, USA and NZ;


1987 Winner of the Franco-Australian Bicentennial Medallion design competition conducted by the Monnaie de Paris, France and the French committee for the Australian Bicentennial;


1990 Winning Designer of the Best Intentional Trade Coin 1988 The Bicentenary Fifty cents. Awarded London June 1990.



1982 Rockhampton City Art Gallery sculpture purchase 'Working the Wash' (steel).


1983 Townsville City Art Collection, sculpture 'The Death of Kennedy'. (steel).


1988 Royal Australian Mint Museum Canberra, ACT. Commemorative 50 Cents presented to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth 11. (gold).


1988 Royal Australian Mint Museum, Canberra, ACT. Australian Bicentennial Commemorative Series and other Commemorative medals for 1988. (silver).



Germaine, M., 1984. Artists and Galleries of Australia.

Bicentennial 88, 1988. Volume 8, NUmber 3, August.

The Australian Nugget Journal, 1988, Number 10.

The Australian Nugget Journal, 1988, Number 18.

The Australian Nugget Journal, 1988, Number 22.

The Australian Coin Review, Number 29, February.

Carlisle, L. 1989. Australian Bicentenary Medals.

Germaine, M., 1994. Artists and Galleries of Australia.