Australian twenty-dollar note

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Twenty Dollars
Value 20 Australian dollars
Width 144 mm
Height 65 mm
Security features Window, Watermark
Paper type Polymer
Years of printing 1994–1998 2002-2003 2005-2008 2010
Australian $20 polymer front.jpg
Design Mary Reibey
Designer Garry Emery
Design date 31 October 1994
Australian $20 polymer back.jpg
Design John Flynn
Designer Garry Emery
Design date 31 October 1994

The Australian twenty dollar banknote was issued when the currency was changed from the Australian pound to the Australian dollar on 14 February 1966. It replaced the £10 note which had the same orange colouration. There have been only two different issues of this denomination: a paper note which had a gradient of yellow and red, with a distinct orange background, and a polymer note which can be recognised for its distinct red-orange colouration. The polymer note was issued in 1994.

According to Reserve Bank statistics, at the end of June 2007 there was a net value of $2,846 million in $20 notes in circulation representing 7.1% of the cash value of all issued notes. Actual banknotes in circulation account for 15.8% of all denominations, or 142.3 million banknotes.[1]

Since the start of issuance there have been 14 signature combinations, of which the 1967 issue is of the greatest value, issued for one year only; and the 1989 Pillip/Fraser being issued for less than a year.

From 1966-1974 the main title identifying the country was Commonwealth of Australia, there were 146,960,000 notes issued in its life. This was subsequently changed to Australia until the end of the issuance of paper currency for this denomination in 1994 with 1,661,970,048 of these notes being issued.


Reverse with Lawrence Hargrave.

The people depicted on the paper note issue were Sir Charles Kingsford Smith on the obverse along with five Lissajous curves drawn by a two-pendulum harmonograph, and Lawrence Hargrave on the reverse with his drawings of kites and type aircraft designs.

The polymer note features Mary Reibey on the obverse with an early colonial building and sailing ship including her signature. John Flynn is on the reverse with features of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia of a De Havilland DH.50 biplane victory supplied by Qantas, medical instruments, Coledge Harland (the man on the camel), who was a missionary to the inland people of Australia. His signature is included. A compass is in the clear window with the raised 20 lettering. These famous people are depicted against a definite red background.

Colouration is said to be orange but has been debated many times over the years, some people incorrectly claim it is of orange pigmentation. Official documentation states that the colour of the twenty dollar note is predominately orange. This polymer note is occasionally colloquially referred to as a "Red Back" after the Australian spider species of the same name.

Security features[edit]

A $20 note under UV light

The paper design included a watermark in the white field of Captain James Cook, the watermark was also used in the last issue of pound banknotes. A metallic strip, first near the centre of the note, then from 1976 moved to the left side on the obverse of the note. Polymer issue includes a watermark or clear imprint of the coat of arms which is printed over. Embossing or a raised image in the clear panel of the number 20. Also for this issue fluorescent colouring was added to the serial numbers, and a patch that shows the banknote's value. A star with four points on the obverse and three on the reverse which join under light. Raised print and micro printing of the denomination name are included.[2]


  1. ^ Reserve bank statistics 2006/2007
  2. ^