Banknotes of the Australian dollar

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The notes of the Australian dollar were first issued by the Reserve Bank of Australia on 14 February 1966, when Australia changed to decimal currency and replaced the pound with the dollar.[1] This currency was a lot easier for calculating cost rather than the British pound, shilling and pence system.

Original series (paper)[edit]

The $1 (10/-), $2 (£1), $10 (£5), and $20 (£10) had exact exchange rates with pounds and were a similar colour to the notes they replaced, but the $5 (£2/10) did not, and was not introduced until May 1967 when the public had become more familiar with decimal currency. The original notes were designed by Gordon Andrews, who rejected traditional Australian clichés in favour of interesting and familiar subjects such as Aboriginal culture, women, the environment, architecture and aeronautics.[2]

Notes issued between 1966 and 1973 bore the title "Commonwealth of Australia". Starting from 1974, the title on the new notes only read "Australia" and the legal tender phrase was also changed from "Legal Tender throughout the Commonwealth of Australia and the territories of the Commonwealth" to "This Australian Note is legal tender throughout Australia and its territories".

The $50 note was introduced in 1973 and the $100 note in 1984, in response to inflation requiring larger denominations for transactions.[3] The $1 note was replaced by a $1 coin in 1984, while the $2 note was replaced by a smaller $2 coin in 1988.[3] Although no longer printed, all previous notes of the Australian dollar are still considered legal tender.[4]

Original series[5][6]
Image Value Dimensions colours Description Date of circulation
Front Back Front Back
Australian $1 - original series - obverse.jpg Australian $1 - original series - reverse.jpg $1 140 × 70 mm Brown and orange Queen Elizabeth II David Malangi (artwork) 1966–1984
Australian $2 - original series - obverse.jpg Australian $2 - original series - reverse.jpg $2 145 × 72.5 mm Green and yellow John Macarthur William Farrer 1966–1988
Australian $5 - original series - obverse.jpg Australian $5 - original series - reverse.jpg $5 150 × 75 mm Mauve Sir Joseph Banks Caroline Chisholm 1967–1992
Australian $10 - original series - obverse.png Australian $10 - original series - reverse.jpg $10 155 × 77.5 mm Blue and orange Francis Greenway Henry Lawson 1966–1993
Australian $20 - original series - obverse.jpg Australian $20 - original series - reverse.jpg $20 160 × 80 mm Red and yellow (orange backset) Sir Charles Kingsford Smith Lawrence Hargrave 1966–1994
Australian $50 note paper front.jpg Australian $50 note paper back.jpg $50 165 × 82.5 mm Yellow, blue, brown and green Howard Florey, Baron Florey Sir Ian Clunies Ross 1973–1995
100 dollar note front.jpg Discovery 100 dollar note back bigJohn Tebbutt.jpg $100 172 × 82.5 mm Light blue and grey Sir Douglas Mawson John Tebbutt 1984–1996
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixel per millimetre. For table standards, see the banknote specification table.
Remarks

Second series (polymer)[edit]

In 1988, the Reserve Bank of Australia issued $10 notes in plastic. The polypropylene polymer banknotes were produced by Note Printing Australia, to commemorate the bicentenary of European settlement in Australia.[7] These notes contained a transparent "window" with a diffractive optically variable device (DOVD) image of Captain James Cook as a security feature. Australian notes were the first in the world to use such features.[7] All current Australian notes also contain microprinting for further security.[8]

Second series (1988)[7]
Note Obverse design Reverse design Dimensions (mm) Weight (g) Main colour Window image Embossing Printed Issued
$10 HMS Supply anchored at Sydney Cove Australian Aboriginal culture and peoples 155 × 77.5 mm[9] Green, orange and yellow[9] Captain Cook[9] 26 Jan 1988[10]
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixel per millimetre. For table standards, see the banknote specification table.
Remarks

Third series (polymer)[edit]

There were initial difficulties with the first note issued; the $10 note had problems with the holographic security feature detaching from the note itself. However, the Reserve Bank saw potential in the issue of plastic notes and commenced preparations for an entirely new series made from polymer, commencing with the $5 note in 1992.[11] Today all Australian notes are made of polymer.

In April 1995, the design of the $5 notes was updated[11] to match the rest of the New Banknote Series, with additional slight changes in 1996. In 2001, a special commemorative 'Federation' $5 note was produced,[12] but in 2002, the previous version's production commenced again. From 2002, the design of all notes (except for the $5 note picturing the Queen) was slightly changed to include the names of the people pictured on them under the portraits, and swapping the order of the signatures of officials on the notes.

Third series (1992–present)[11]
Note Obverse design Reverse design Dimensions4 (mm) Weight4 (g) Main colour Window image Embossing5 Printed Issued
$5 original1
Queen Elizabeth II
 

Parliament House,
Old Parliament House
130 × 65 × 0.1130 0.764 Pale mauve[13] Gum flower N/A 1992–1993 7 Jul 1992
$5 recoloured
Queen Elizabeth II
 

Parliament House,
Old Parliament House
130 × 65 × 0.1256 0.783 Violet, pink 1995–2015 24 April 1995
$5 Federation2[14]
Sir Henry Parkes

Catherine Helen Spence
130 × 65 × 0.1259 0.815 Leaf shaped window "5" 2001 1 Jan 2001
$103
Banjo Paterson

Dame Mary Gilmore
137 × 65 × 0.1294 0.841 Blue Windmill Wavy lines 1993–2016 1 Nov 1993
$20 Mary Reibey Reverend John Flynn 144 × 65 × 0.1332 0.900 Red/Orange Compass "20" 1994–2019 31 Oct 1994
$50
David Unaipon

Edith Cowan
151 × 65 × 0.1400 0.955 Yellow Southern Cross "50" 1995–2018 4 Oct 1995
$100
Dame Nellie Melba

Sir John Monash
158 × 65 × 0.1408 1.006 Green Lyrebird "100" Currently printing 15 May 1996
Remarks
  1. Some members of the public had difficulties in differentiating between the $5.00 and $10.00 notes especially in poor light conditions.
  2. Commemorating the Centenary of Federation. It also features the text of the speech Henry Parkes gave to parliament in favour of federation in microprint, on the side featuring his face.
  3. This note features excerpts of text from Banjo Paterson's most famous poem The Man From Snowy River intertwined with the text "TEN DOLLARS" in microprint on the front, and the text of Mary Gilmore's patriotic poem No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest on the reverse.
  4. Thickness and weight of notes is +/-5 percent per 1000 notes
  5. Embossing is inside the shiny, transparent window.

Fourth series (polymer)[edit]

On 13 February 2015 the Reserve Bank of Australia announced that the next series of Australia notes would have a tactile feature to help the visually impaired community to tell the value of the note after a successful campaign led by 15-year-old Connor McLeod, who is blind, to introduce the new feature.[15][16] The notes retain the key aspects of the previous series' design such as the colour, size and people portrayed for ease of recognition and to minimise disruption to businesses.

The $5 note includes the tactile feature and was issued on 1 September 2016, to coincide with Australia's National Wattle Day,[17] followed by the new $10 banknote on 20 September 2017.[18] The new $50 note was released for circulation on 18 October 2018,[19] followed by the $20 note on 9 October 2019,[20] and the $100 note is set to be released in the second half of 2020.[21] The Reserve Bank currently has no plans to release fourth series notes in denominations higher than $100, despite the amount of inflation that has occurred since the $100 note was introduced in 1984.

In May 2019 the Reserve Bank confirmed that the $50 notes contains a misspelling of the word "responsibility" on the reverse design, a typo that would be corrected in future printings.[22]

Next Generation Banknote (NGB) series (2016–present)[11][23]
Note Obverse design Reverse design Dimensions1 (mm) Weight1 (g) Main colour Window image Embossing3 Printed Issued
$5 Next Generation Banknote Queen Elizabeth II Parliament House4 130 × 65 × unknown unknown Violet, pink Top to Bottom window2 Federation star Currently printing 1 September 2016
$10 Next Generation Banknote Banjo Paterson Dame Mary Gilmore 137 × 65 × unknown unknown Blue Top to bottom window Pen nib Currently printing 20 September 2017
$20 Next Generation Banknote Mary Reibey Reverend John Flynn 144 × 65 × unknown 0.82g Red/Orange Top to bottom window Compass Currently printing 9 October 2019
$50 Next Generation Banknote David Unaipon Edith Cowan 151 × 65 × unknown unknown Yellow Top to bottom window Book Currently printing 18 October 2018
$100 Next Generation Banknote Dame Nellie Melba Sir John Monash 158 × 65 × unknown unknown Green Top to bottom window Fan Currently printing 29 October 2020
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixel per millimetre. For table standards, see the banknote specification table.
Remarks
  1. Thickness and weight of notes is +/-5 percent per 1000 notes
  2. A new clear polymer window that goes from the top to the bottom of the note that is all clear
  3. Embossing is inside the small window.
  4. There are two blocks of micro-text on the reverse side of the Fourth series five dollar note, which contains excerpts of the Constitution of Australia

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Reserve Bank and Reform of the Currency: 1960–1988: Australia's First Decimal Banknotes". Reserve Bank of Australia Museum. Reserve Bank of Australia. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  2. ^ Australia, Reserve Bank of. "The Designer: Gordon Andrews | The Decimal Revolution | Reserve Bank of Australia – Museum". Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b "The Reserve Bank and Reform of the Currency: 1960–1988, Inflation and the Note Issue". Reserve Bank of Australia Music um. Reserve Bank of Australia. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  4. ^ Renniks Australian Coin and Banknote Values
  5. ^ "Other Banknotes". Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Introducing Polymer Banknotes: A New Era". Reserve Bank of Australia Museum. Reserve Bank of Australia. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  7. ^ "List of Security Features". Counterfeit Detection. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 9 February 2015. The security features that can be used to check a banknote are: Polymer Substrate ... Clear Window ... See-through Registration Device ... Shadow Image ... Intaglio Print ... Background Print (Offset) ... Micro-printing ... Fluorescent Ink
  8. ^ a b c "Australia $10 – 1998". Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Introducing Polymer Banknotes – 1988". Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d "A Complete Series of Polymer Banknotes: 1992–1996". Reserve Bank of Australia Museum. Reserve Bank of Australia. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Banknotes in Circulation-$5 BANKNOTE". banknotes.rba.gov.au. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  12. ^ Ian W. Pitt, ed. (2000). Renniks Australian Coin and Banknote Values (19th ed.). Chippendale, NSW: Renniks Publications. p. 168. ISBN 0-9585574-4-6.
  13. ^ https://banknotes.rba.gov.au/australias-banknotes/other-banknotes/
  14. ^ "Next Generation Banknotes: Additional Feature for the Vision Impaired". www.rba.gov.au (Press release). Media Office-Reserve Bank of Australia. 13 February 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  15. ^ Haxton, Nance (18 February 2015). "RBA to introduce tactile banknotes after 15yo blind boy Connor McLeod campaigns for change". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  16. ^ Next Generation of Banknotes: Issuance Date for the New $5 Banknote Reserve Bank of Australia (www.rba.gov.au). Retrieved on 2016-02-16.
  17. ^ "Next Generation of Banknotes: $10 Design Reveal". Reserve Bank of Australia. 17 February 2017.
  18. ^ "Next Generation of Banknotes: Circulation Date for the New $50 Banknote". Reserve Bank of Australia. 5 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Next Generation of Banknotes: $20 Enters General Circulation" (Press release). Sydney, Australia: Reserve Bank of Australia. 8 October 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  20. ^ "Next Generation of Banknotes: $100 Design Reveal" (Press release). Sydney, Australia: Reserve Bank of Australia. 24 February 2020. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  21. ^ "Australia's A$50 note misspells responsibility". BBC. 8 May 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  22. ^ "RBA Banknotes: Banknote Features". Retrieved 9 April 2018.

External links[edit]

  1. Australian banknotes price guide and values coinsandaustralia.com
  2. Australian Decimal Banknotes australianstamp.com
  3. The Money Tracker site allows users to track Australian banknotes as they circulate around Australia.
  4. The Reserve Bank of Australia has a full timeline of Australian banknotes.