The first coins of the year minted by the Royal Australian Mint will have a special design to commemorate 50 years of Australian television.

The theme for the popular mintmark series in 2006 is 50 Years of Australian television and the first appearance in the series is the 'C' for Canberra mintmark.

The coin dates back to the evening of September 16, 1956, with design references to the original television cameras. But where it all started was with crowds gathered outside department stores and in homes across Australia to witness the moment, TCN Channel Nine flickered to life accompanied by the famous words "Welcome to television."

It has been 50 years since Bruce Gyngell uttered those words and Australian television appeared. Television linked Australia to the world and brought the country closer to amazing images, like those of Neil Armstrong being the first man to walk on the moon.

"Television has had an amazing impact on Australian society," said Dr Vivienne Thom, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Australian Mint. "Is now part and parcel of everyday Australian life, but if one takes the time to reflect on what this medium brings to our lives, with news, entertainment and reality shows the impact is enormous."

The coin will initially be only available from the Royal Australian Mint on the Mint-Your Own Mintmark presses. The $1 'C' Mintmark coin featuring the 50th Anniversary of Australian television will not be released into general circulation.