Australian fifty-dollar note

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Fifty Dollars
Value $50 Australian dollars
Width 151 mm
Height 65 mm
Security features Window, Watermark
Paper type Polymer
Years of printing 1995–99, 2003–14[1]
Australian $50 polymer front.jpg
Design David Unaipon
Designer Brian Sadgrove
Design date 4 October 1995
Australian $50 note polymer back.jpg
Design Edith Cowan
Designer Brian Sadgrove
Design date 4 October 1995

The Australian fifty-dollar note is an Australian banknote with a face value of fifty Australian dollars (A$50). It is currently a polymer banknote, featuring portraits of David Unaipon and Edith Cowan.


No fifty dollar note was released as part of the initial rollout of decimal currency in 1966, but inflation and demand necessitated its introduction seven years later in 1973.[2] The original paper fifty dollar note, designed by Gordon Andrews, has a scientific theme.[2] On the front of the note is a portrait of Australian pathologist Howard Walter Florey, Baron Florey and scenes of laboratory research. On the back is a portrait of Sir Ian Clunies Ross, veterinary scientist and first chairman of the CSIRO, along with scenes from the Australian environment.[2]

The front of the paper fifty dollar note, circulated between 1973 and 1995.
The back of the paper fifty dollar note, circulated between 1973 and 1995.

On 4 October 1995 a new set of polymer banknotes were released;[3] these were immediately nicknamed "pineapples".[citation needed] Designed by Brian Sadgrove,[3] the new fifty dollar note features a portrait of Indigenous Australian author and inventor David Unaipon on the front, along with drawings from one of his inventions, and an extract from the original manuscript of his Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines.[4] There is also a depiction of the Raukkan Church, a historical landmark in Raukkan, where Unaipon grew up.[5]

Raukkan Church is featured on the note

. The couple standing in front of the church are Polly and Milerum. Milerum was the last initiated member of the local native tribe. He was highly respected and played a huge role in the recording of history of the native people of the Coorong.(See Australian produced series "Who do you think they are?" on Michael O'Laughlin. )

On the back is a portrait of Edith Cowan, first female member of any Australian parliament, along with a picture of Western Australia's original Parliament House, and an illustration of a foster mother and children.[3][6]

As at June 2016, 643 million $50 banknotes were in circulation, 45% of the total banknotes in circulation; worth $32,145 million, or 46% of the total value for all denominations.[7]

Design features[edit]

The handwritten statement on the obverse of the note reads "As a full-blooded member of my race I think I may claim to be the first—but I hope, not the last—to produce an enduring record of our customs, beliefs and imaginings". The word "Imaginings" is spelt incorrectly and has been corrected.

Security features[edit]

With reference to the current polymer items, there is a clear window on the banknote with the Southern Cross star formation printed upon it, and the number "50" is also embossed in the clear window. There is also raised printing on the note.[3]

A patch with the number "50" on the back of the banknote can be seen when held up to a UV light. There are two serial numbers on the banknote, one in black and blue, different fonts are used on each one, and the serial numbers glow under UV light.[3]

There is also micro printing, in terms of "fifty dollars", and a shadow image of the Australian coat of arms when light is shown through it.[8]


  1. ^ "SERIAL NUMBER INFORMATION". Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Inflation and the Note Issue". Reserve Bank of Australia Museum. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "THE $50 BANKNOTE (interactive)". Banknote Features. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Unaipon, David (2006). Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigine (Repub. ed.). Miegunyah Press. ISBN 9780522849059. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Raukkan Church Restoration". The Australian Institute of Architects. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "$50 BANKNOTE". Banknotes in Circulation. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "DISTRIBUTION-CIRCULATION AND PRODUCTION STATISTICS, AS AT END JUNE 2015". Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "List of Security Features". Counterfeit Detection. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 9 February 2015.