Banknotes of the Australian pound

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An issued Bank of Queensland £1 note (1864)
An issued Bank of Queensland £1 note (1864)

Banknotes of the Australian pound were first issued by numerous private banks in Australia, starting with the Bank of New South Wales in 1817.[1][nb 1] Acceptance of private bank notes was not made compulsory by legal tender laws but they were widely used and accepted. The Queensland government issued treasury notes (1866–1869) and banknotes (1893–1910)[2] which were legal tender in Queensland. The New South Wales government issued a limited series of Treasury Notes in 1893.[2]

In 1910, the Commonwealth passed the Australian Notes Act of 1910 to initiate banking and currency reform. The Act stipulated that six months after the date of passage (16 September 1910), private banks could no longer issue any form of money, and that any note or instrument issued by a State Bank would no longer be considered legal tender.[3] The Act further established the powers of the Commonwealth to issue, re-issue, and cancel Australian notes.[4] The Act also established denominations, legal tender status, and the amount of gold coin held in reserve to secure the issues.[4] On 10 October 1910 (prior to the effective date of the Notes Act), a Bank Notes Tax Act 1910 imposed a "Ten pounds per centum" tax on all issued or re-issued bank notes.[5] A third currency reform act was passed on 22 December 1911 establishing the Commonwealth Bank.[6] The Commonwealth Bank Act of 1911 specifically stated that the Bank was not to issue bills or notes for circulation.[7] The Australian Treasury issued banknotes until a 1920 amendment to the Commonwealth Bank Act of 1911. The amendment established a note-issuing department within the bank which assumed those responsibilities previously held by the Treasury.[8]

Superscribed banknotes (1910–1914)[edit]

A superscribed note from the London Bank of Australia Limited
A superscribed note from the London Bank of Australia Limited

The first national issue of paper money (known as Superscribed banknotes) consisted of overprinted notes from fifteen private banks and the Queensland government, issued between 1910–1914 in denominations of £1, £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100.[9] The notes, purchased by the Australian government from the remaining private bank stock,[9] were overprinted with the words "Australian note". Surviving notes above the £10 denomination are extremely rare: two £20 notes are known (privately held), £50 notes are known in the collections of the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia, and no £100 banknotes of this series are known to exist.[9]

Superscribed banknote issuers (1910–14)
Bank Charter
(in operation)
Location Branches Issue In operation
Australian Bank of Commerce Limited Sydney, NSW Brisbane, Sydney 1,5,10,50 1910–31
Bank of Adelaide Adelaide, SA Adelaide 1,5,10,20,50 1865–1980
Bank of Australasia London, England Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney 1,5,10,50,100 1835–1951
Bank of New South Wales Sydney, NSW Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney 1,5,10,20,50,100 1817–1982
Bank of Victoria Limited Melbourne, Victoria Melbourne 1,5,10,20,50 1852–1927
City Bank of Sydney Sydney, NSW Sydney 1,5,10,20,50 1864–1918
Commercial Bank of Australia Limited Melbourne, Victoria Hobart, Perth 1,5 1866–1982
Commercial Bank of Tasmania Limited Hobart, Tasmania Hobart, Launceston 1,5,10,20 1829–1921
Commercial Banking Company of Sydney Limited Sydney, NSW Sydney 1,5,10 1834–1982
English Scottish and Australian Bank Limited London, England Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney 1,5,10,20,50 1852–1970
London Bank of Australia Limited London, England Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney 1,5,10,50,100 1852–1921
National Bank of Australasia Limited Melbourne, Victoria Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney 1,5,10,20,50,100 1858–1982
Queensland Government Brisbane, Queensland Brisbane 1,5 1893–1910
Royal Bank of Australia Limited London, England Melbourne, Sydney 1 1888–1927
Union Bank of Australia Limited London, England Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney 1,5,10,20,50 1837–1951
Western Australian Bank Perth, WA Perth 1,5,10 1841–1927

Commonwealth banknotes of the Australian pound[edit]

In 1913 the first national banknotes were introduced in denominations of 10s,[10] £1,[11] £5,[12] and £10.[13] 1914 saw the introduction of £20,[14] £50,[15] £100,[16] and £1000 notes.[17] The £1000 note only saw limited circulation and was later confined to inter-bank use. Stocks were destroyed in 1969 and there are no uncancelled examples of this note known to exist in private hands, though a single cancelled example sold in a 2007 auction for AU$1,200,000.[17]

Design alterations were introduced fairly quickly. Beginning in 1915, 10s notes included a red "Half Sovereign" overprint.[18] Banknote size was reduced for the £1 (1923),[19] £5 (1924),[20] and £10 (1925).[21] A portrait of King George V was introduced in the mid 1920s on the 10s through £10 notes.[22] These notes still referred to the currency's convertibility to gold on demand.[22] A newer £1000 note (1923–1928) with the profile of George V was also prepared but never issued.[23] A punch-cancelled specimen note was discovered in London in 1996 and subsequently sold for a sum in excess of $200,000. Nonetheless, this note is not recognized as a legitimate Australian banknote issue.

Just after the start of the Great Depression in 1933, Australian currency ceased to be redeemable for gold at the previously maintained rate of one gold sovereign for one pound currency. Subsequently, a new series of legal tender notes were designed, once again bearing the portrait of King George V, in denominations of 10s, £1, £5 and £10.[24] These denominations and designs were maintained and modified to accommodate the portrait of King George VI in 1938.[25] For both issues £50 and £100 specimens were prepared, but were not issued.[26]

Issuance of the Australian pound banknote (1913–1965)[edit]

Issuance of the Australian pound banknote (1913–1965)
Issue[27] Value
(Dates)
Banknote Varieties[28] Images
Size[28]
1913 First Issue
0000.25-19165 Shillings
c. 1916
Cerutty and Collins
(printed, not issued)
O:George V
0000.50-191310 Shillings
1913
AUS-Commonwealth of Australia-10 Shillings (1913).jpg
Collins and Allen (1913) O:Arms
R:Goulburn Weir
194 mm × 83 mm (7.6 in × 3.3 in)
0001.00-19131 Pound
1913
AUS-Commonwealth of Australia-1 Pound (1913).jpg Collins and Allen O:Crowned arms, blue with multicolor underprint
R:Gold miners underground
184 mm × 92 mm (7.2 in × 3.6 in)
0001.00-1913a1 Pound
(1894)
1914–15
Collins and Allen
Emergency issue superscribed note.[29]
O:Allegory of woman with anchor
182 mm × 118 mm (7.2 in × 4.6 in)
0001.00-19131 Pound
1914–15
AUS-2-Commonwealth of Australia-One Pound (1913 - 1914) Rainbow Note.jpg
Collins and Allen
Emergency issue note[30]
O:Black text on multicolor underprint
R:Contemporary inscription
184 mm × 102 mm (7.2 in × 4.0 in)
1000.00-19141,000 Pounds
1914–24
AUS-2A-Commonwealth of Australia-1000 Pounds (1914-24).jpg
Collins and Allen
Kell and Collins (1925)
O:Arms
R:Merino sheep in Bungaree
215 mm × 143 mm (8.5 in × 5.6 in)
1913 Second Issue
0000.50-191810 Shillings
1915–18
AUS-3b-Commonwealth of Australia-10 Shillings (1918).jpg
Collins and Allen (1915)
Cerutty and Collins (1918)
O:Arms, blue text multicolor underprint, “Half Sovereign” red overprint
R:Goulburn Weir
197 mm × 88 mm (7.8 in × 3.5 in)
0001.00-19181 Pound
1913–18
AUS-4d-Commonwealth of Australia-One Pound (1918).jpg
Collins and Allen (1914)
Cerutty and Collins (1918)
O:Crowned arms, blue with multicolor underprint
R:Gold miners underground
184 mm × 92 mm (7.2 in × 3.6 in)
0005.00-19185 Pounds
1913–18
AUS-5c-Commonwealth of Australia-5 Pounds (1918).jpg
Collins and Allen
Cerutty and Collins (1918)[nb 2]
O:Arms, blue with multicolor underprint
R:Hawkesbury River landscape
167 mm × 105 mm (6.6 in × 4.1 in)
0010.00-191810 Pounds
1913–18
AUS-6b-Commonwealth of Australia-10 Pounds (1918).jpg
Collins and Allen
Cerutty and Collins (1918)[nb 2]
O:Arms, blue with multicolor underprint
R:Wagons with bags of grain at Narwonah railway station
165 mm × 102 mm (6.5 in × 4.0 in)[nb 3]
0020.00-191820 Pounds
1914–18
AUS-7b-Commonwealth of Australia-20 Pounds (1918).jpg
Collins and Allen
Cerutty and Collins (1918)[nb 2]
O:Arms, blue with multicolor underprint
R:Lumberjacks at Bruny Island
165 mm × 98 mm (6.5 in × 3.9 in)[nb 4]
0050.00-191850 Pounds
1914–18
AUS-8c-Commonwealth of Australia-50 Pounds (1918).jpg
Collins and Allen
Cerutty and Collins (1920)[nb 5]
O:Arms, blue with multicolor underprint
R:Merino sheep, Bungaree
166 mm × 102 mm (6.5 in × 4.0 in)[nb 6]
0100.00-1918100 Pounds
1914–18
AUS-9c-Commonwealth of Australia-100 Pounds (1918).jpg
Collins and Allen
Cerutty and Collins (1924)[nb 5]
O:Arms, blue with multicolor underprint
R:Leura Falls, Upper Yarra River
168 mm × 102 mm (6.6 in × 4.0 in)[nb 7]
1923–25 Issue
0000.50-1923Half Sovereign
1923
AUS-10-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-Half Sovereign (1923).jpg
Miller and Collins (1923)[nb 8]
O:George V, brown with multicolor underprint, Half Sovereign overprint
R:Goulburn Weir
180 mm × 78 mm (7.1 in × 3.1 in)
0001.00-19231 Pound
1923
AUS-11b-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-One Pound (1923).jpg
Miller and Collins[nb 8] O:George V, olive-green with multicolor underprint
R:Cook’s landing at Botany Bay
180 mm × 78 mm (7.1 in × 3.1 in)
0005.00-19245 Pounds
1924–27
AUS-13a-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-5 Pounds (1924).jpg
Kell and Collins (1924)[nb 8]
Kell and Heathershaw (1927)
O:George V, blue with multicolor underprint
R:Hawkesbury River landscape
180 mm × 78 mm (7.1 in × 3.1 in)
0010.00-192510 Pounds
1925
AUS-14-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-10 Pounds (1925).jpg
Kell and Collins
(specimen only)[nb 8]
O:George V, red with multicolor underprint
R:Wagons with bags of grain
180 mm × 78 mm (7.1 in × 3.1 in)
1926–27 Issue
0000.50-1926Half Sovereign
1926–33
AUS-15d-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-Half Sovereign (1933).jpg
Kell and Collins (1926)
Kell and Heathershaw (1927)
Riddle and Heathershaw (1928)
Riddle and Sheehan (1933)
O:George V, brown with multicolor underprint, Half Sovereign overprint
R:Goulburn Weir
180 mm × 78 mm (7.1 in × 3.1 in)
0001.00-19261 Pound
1926–32
AUS-16c-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-One Pound (1927).jpg
Kell and Collins (1926)
Kell and Heathershaw (1927)
Riddle and Heathershaw (1927)
Riddle and Sheehan (1932)
O:George V, olive-green with multicolor underprint
R:Cook’s landing at Botany Bay
180 mm × 78 mm (7.1 in × 3.1 in)
0005.00-19275 Pounds
1927–32
Riddle and Heathershaw (1927)
Riddle and Sheehan (1932)
O:George V, blue with multicolor underprint
R:Hawkesbury River landscape
180 mm × 78 mm (7.1 in × 3.1 in)
0010.00-192510 Pounds
1925–33
AUS-Commonwealth of Australia-10 Pounds (1925).jpg Kell and Collins (1925)
Riddle and Heathershaw (1925)
Riddle and Sheehan (1933)
O:George V, red with multicolor underprint
R:wagons with bags of grain at Narwonah railway station
180 mm × 77 mm (7.1 in × 3.0 in)
1933–34 Issue
0000.50-193310 Shillings
1933
Riddle and Sheehan (1933) O:George V, brown with multicolor underprint
R:manufacturing allegory
WM:Edward VIII as Prince of Wales
155 mm × 81 mm (6.1 in × 3.2 in)[nb 7]
0000.50-193410 Shillings
1934
AUS-20-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-10 Shillings (1934).jpg
Riddle and Sheehan (1934) O:George V, brown with multicolor underprint, overprint Ten Shillings
R:manufacturing allegory
WM:Edward VIII as Prince of Wales
155 mm × 81 mm (6.1 in × 3.2 in)[nb 7]
0000.50-193610 Shillings
1936–39
AUS-21-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-10 Shillings (1936–39).jpg
Riddle and Sheehan (1936) O:George V, orange with multicolor underprint, overprint Ten Shillings
R:manufacturing allegory
WM:Edward VIII as Prince of Wales, size reduced
137 mm × 76 mm (5.4 in × 3.0 in)[nb 7]
0001.00-19331 Pound
1933–38
AUS-22a-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-One Pound (1933–38).jpg
Riddle and Sheehan O:George V, green with multicolor underprint
R:shepherds with sheep
WM:Edward VIII as Prince of Wales
155 mm × 79 mm (6.1 in × 3.1 in)[nb 7]
0005.00-19335 Pounds
1933–39
AUS-23b-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-Five Pounds (1933–39).jpg
Riddle and Sheehan O:George V, blue with multicolor underprint
R:dock workers with barrels and sacks
WM:Edward VIII as Prince of Wales
181 mm × 79 mm (7.1 in × 3.1 in)
0010.00-193410 Pounds
1934–39
AUS-24-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-10 Pounds (1934–39).jpg
Riddle and Sheehan O:George V, red with multicolor underprint
R:allegory of agriculture
WM:Edward VIII as Prince of Wales
181 mm × 79 mm (7.1 in × 3.1 in)
1938–40 Issue
0000.25-19465 Shillings
1946
Armitage and McFarlane
(not Issued)
O:George VI, black with red-brown underprint
R:Australian crown coin
0000.50-193910 Shillings
1939–54
AUS-25a-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-10 Shillings (1939).jpg
Sheehan and McFarlane (1939)
Armitage and McFarlane (1942)
Coombs and Watt (1949)
Coombs and Wilson (1952)
O:George VI, orange with multicolor underprint
R:allegory of manufacturers
WM:Captain James Cook
137 mm × 76 mm (5.4 in × 3.0 in)[nb 7]
0001.00-19381 Pound
1938–52
AUS-26a-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-One Pound (1938).jpg
Sheehan and McFarlane (1938)
Armitage and McFarlane (1942)
Coombs and Watt (1949)
Coombs and Wilson (1952)
O:George VI, green with multicolor underprint
R:shepherds with sheep
WM:Captain James Cook
155 mm × 79 mm (6.1 in × 3.1 in)[nb 7]
0005.00-19395 Pounds
1939–52
AUS-27d-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-Five Pounds (1952).jpg
Sheehan and McFarlane (1939)
Armitage and McFarlane (1941)
Coombs and Watt (1949)
Coombs and Wilson (1952)
O:George VI, blue with multicolor underprint
R:dock workers with barrels and sacks
WM:Captain James Cook
181 mm × 79 mm (7.1 in × 3.1 in)
0010.00-194010 Pounds
1940–52
AUS-28b-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-10 Pounds (1942).jpg
Sheehan and McFarlane (1940)
Armitage and McFarlane(1943)
Coombs and Watt (1949)
Coombs and Wilson (1952)
O:George VI, red with multicolor underprint
R:allegory of agriculture
WM:Captain James Cook
181 mm × 79 mm (7.1 in × 3.1 in)
0050.00-193950 Pounds
1939
Sheehan and McFarlane
specimen only, not issued
O:George VI, purple with multicolor underprint
WM:Captain James Cook
0100.00-1939100 Pounds
1939
Sheehan and McFarlane
specimen only, not issued
O:George VI, brown with multicolor underprint
WM:Captain James Cook (suspected)
1953–54 Issue
0000.50-195410 Shillings
1954–66
AUS-29-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-10 Shillings (1954-60).jpg
Coombs and Wilson (1954)
Coombs and Wilson (1961)
O:Matthew Flinders, arms, brown with multicolor underprint
R:Old Parliament House
WM:Captain James Cook
137 mm × 76 mm (5.4 in × 3.0 in)
0001.00-19541 Pound
1954–60
AUS-26d-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-One Pound (1952).jpg
Coombs and Wilson O:Elizabeth II, arms, green with multicolor underprint
R:Charles Sturt and Hamilton Hume
WM:Captain James Cook
156 mm × 81 mm (6.1 in × 3.2 in)
0005.00-19545 Pounds
1954–59
AUS-31-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-Five Pounds (1954).jpg
Coombs and Wilson O:Sir John Franklin, arms, blue on multicolor underprint
R:bull and cow’s head, sheep
WM:Captain James Cook
167 mm × 79 mm (6.6 in × 3.1 in)
0010.00-195410 Pounds
1954–59
AUS-32-Commonwealth Bank of Australia-10 Pounds (1954–59).jpg
Coombs and Wilson O:Gov. Arthur Phillip, arms, red and black with multicolor underprint
R:allegory of woman with compass, science and industry
181 mm × 79 mm (7.1 in × 3.1 in)
1960–61 Issue
0005.00-19605 Pounds
1960–65
Coombs and Wilson O: Sir John Franklin, arms, black on blue underprint
R:bull and cow’s head, sheep
WM:Captain James Cook
167 mm × 79 mm (6.6 in × 3.1 in)
0010.00-196010 Pounds
1960–65
Coombs and Wilson O:Gov. Arthur Phillip, arms, black with red underprint
R:allegory of woman with compass, science and industry
WM:Captain James Cook
181 mm × 79 mm (7.1 in × 3.1 in)



References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ This article is a split-off from Australian pound. The opening text was initially copied verbatim from the Banknotes section of the article.
  2. ^ a b c These specimen notes (Treasury Issue) are perforation-cancelled and have black diagonal lines across the front and back. A single specimen note of this type appeared in auction in 2003 and is valued to be a six-figure (USD) banknote.[31]
  3. ^ Size variation up to +6mm in length.[13]
  4. ^ Size variation up to +4 mm in length and/or width.[14]
  5. ^ a b The 50 and 100 pound specimen notes with diagonal red overprint of the word "SPECIMEN" are unlisted in Renniks.[28]
  6. ^ Size variation up to +2 mm in length.[32]
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Size variation up to +2 mm in length and/or width.[33]
  8. ^ a b c d These specimen notes (Harrison Issue) are perforation-cancelled, have black diagonal lines across the front and back, and two large punch holes on the front left side. A single specimen note of this type appeared in auction and is valued to be a six-figure (USD) banknote.[31]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 163.
  2. ^ a b Pitt 2013, p. 180.
  3. ^ Australian Notes Act 1910, p. 14.
  4. ^ a b Australian Notes Act 1910, p. 15.
  5. ^ Bank Notes Tax Act 1910.
  6. ^ Commonwealth Bank Act 1911.
  7. ^ Commonwealth Bank Act 1911, p. Part II(8).
  8. ^ Commonwealth Bank Act 1920, p. No.7(60a-60h).
  9. ^ a b c Pitt 2013, p. 176.
  10. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 183.
  11. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 191.
  12. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 200.
  13. ^ a b Pitt 2013, p. 207.
  14. ^ a b Pitt 2013, p. 212.
  15. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 213.
  16. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 214.
  17. ^ a b Pitt 2013, p. 215.
  18. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 184.
  19. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 195.
  20. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 202.
  21. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 208.
  22. ^ a b Pitt 2013, pp. 185–208.
  23. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 220.
  24. ^ Pitt 2013, pp. 185–209.
  25. ^ Pitt 2013, pp. 189–210.
  26. ^ Pitt 2013, pp. 219–220.
  27. ^ Cuhaj 2010.
  28. ^ a b c Pitt 2013.
  29. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 192.
  30. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 193.
  31. ^ a b Pitt 2013, p. 217.
  32. ^ Pitt 2013, p. 2013.
  33. ^ Pitt 2013, pp. 186–98.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Cuhaj, George S., ed. (2009). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money Specialized Issues (11 ed.). Krause. ISBN 978-1-4402-0450-0.
  • Cuhaj, George S., ed. (2010). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money General Issues (1368–1960) (13 ed.). Krause. ISBN 978-1-4402-1293-2.
  • Pitt, Michael T., ed. (2013). Renniks Australian Coin and Banknote Values (25 ed.). Renniks Publications. ISBN 978-0-9873386-2-4.
  • "Australian Notes Act".  No. 11 of 16 September 1910. Retrieved 11 July 2015.