Who Are On Australian Money – Banknotes and Coins
Australia is one of many countries having Queen Elizabeth II’s face on their banknotes and coins. Who else appear on Australian money?
It was determined that no money was needed when the first fleet sailed into Australia because the country’s population was made up entirely of prisoners and soldiers. Despite all the problems with spills and losses, rum emerged as one of the first forms of money during the first twenty-five years. Perhaps it was enjoyable to work in a bank!
The Holey Dollar and the Dump were the first coins used in Australia in 1813. They were made by punching out the center of a Spanish dollar, and after that, they were stamped with new values that rendered them useless in other countries.
Nine years after Federation, in 1910, Australian silver coins were released. A year later, Australian half pennies and bronze pennies were released, and in 1913, the country’s first notes were printed. Dollars and cents, as opposed to pounds, shillings, and pence, became the decimal currency in 1966.
Australia is a global leader in coins and banknotes today. In 1988, it was the first to use polymer banknotes; however, paper notes were not completely replaced until 1996. Different denomination notes differ in size and color. Every Australian dollar note features a well-known Australian or significant individual who holds great significance for Australia.
• The Australian dollar was divided into 20 shillings and these into 12 pennies.
• Since 1998 banknotes are made in a polymer in order to ensure durability and avoid counterfeit.
• The series banknotes of Australian dollar issued between 1992 and 1996 was the first one ever in being printed in polymer substrate instead of paper.
• Polymer banknotes last longer than those in paper, are cleaner and more hygienic and can be recycled at the end of their use life to convert them in plastic products.
Australia was the first nation to introduce plastic, or polymer, money since paper money always needed to be replaced due to deterioration. Since then, a large number of other nations have switched to using polymer banknotes as their currency.
Compared to paper notes, polymer notes have a four-fold longer currency life. Our polymer invention appears to be the future of printed money when combined with the fact that they are more difficult to counterfeit, even though nations like the US seem to be welded to paper bank notes (and they even retain their 1 cent coin).
Plastic notes can even survive being put through the washing machine, which used to be a well-known unintentional way to ruin perfectly good money. People frequently wonder if the plastic notes can withstand the heat of an iron, and the answer is yes, but only at a moderate temperature. It has a melting point, just like any other plastic, and Wilson notes that this is a surefire way to spend all of your money.
The only note in circulation right now that doesn’t feature a real person on both sides is the $5 note. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is depicted on one side, and the image of Canberra’s Parliament House—the capital of Australia—is on the other.
Although it was commissioned by the Reserve Bank in 1984, Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait—which is on display alongside a little branch of eucalyptus—did not appear on the first polymer $5 note until 1992.
The back of the $5 note features architectural drawings of both the Old and New Parliament Houses, including an aerial view.
The image displays a September 2016 release of a new, colorful, and more secure $5 note that differs slightly from the original polymer notes.
According to tradition, the monarch’s head on coins will now face the opposite direction, or left in our case. Additionally, it’s likely that a second competition will be held to choose the design, as is customary. The Royal Australian Mint, however, has declared that it will adhere to the procedures established by Buckingham Palace.
The $5 banknote’s monarch is also anticipated to change, but the Royal Australian Mint is still awaiting orders.
“All Australian banknotes issued from 1913 retain their legal tender status,” an RBA spokesperson told the ABC. Therefore, in the event that a new banknote were to be issued due to a change in the monarch, the $5 banknotes that are currently in circulation would still be usable.
The poet who wrote “Waltzing Matilda” and “The Man from Snowy River,” Andrew Barton Paterson (1864–1941), was born in Narrambla, close to Orange, New South Wales, in 1864.
Growing up in the Yass district of New South Wales, Banjo was captivated by the world of stockmen and drovers that surrounded him and would later play a major role in his poetry. He became a lawyer in Sydney in 1875 after completing his education.
El Mahdi to the Australian Troops, his debut poem, was printed in The Bulletin in February 1885. He wrote under the pen name “The Banjo,” which he adopted from his family’s station racehorse.
Banjo’s poetry was well-liked. Up until the publication of his first poetry collection, The Man from Snowy River, and Other Verses, in 1895, which sold out in less than a week, Banjo remained unknown. This made him a famous poet.
Urban audiences were Banjo’s primary audience since he lived in the city for the majority of his life. His poetry and ballads created a mythic figure of the bushman and country life, and they still do today, capturing the colony’s tenacity and resolve in the face of adversity and unforgiving surroundings. Banjo evolved into a stoic character akin to the working-class men in his poetry, a diligent lyricist and folk poet.
The poets AB “Banjo” Paterson and Dame Mary Gilmore are depicted in the $10 bill. The $10 note stands out from other notes because it has extracts from the works of the two poets who are featured on the note, which are not found on other notes.
Dame Mary Gilmore (1865–1962) was a passionate opponent of poverty and injustice as well as a writer and journalist. She was also a poet. She ran a campaign against a wide range of injustices, including the denial of the right to vote to women, the mistreatment of Indigenous Australians and the impoverished, and changes to pensions for the elderly and disabled, child endowments, and improved care for returning service members. The $10 note features a passage from one of her poems, “No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest,” which she published under various pen names.
READ MORE: Top 15+ Interesting Facts about Australia
Dame Mary Gilmore (1865–1962) was a writer and journalist who also fought fervently against injustice and poverty.
She was a poet as well. She led a campaign against numerous injustices, such as the denial of women’s voting rights, the mistreatment of Indigenous Australians and the poor, modifications to child endowments, pensions for the elderly and disabled, and better care for returning service members. A line from one of her poems, “No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest,” which she published under a number of pen names, is featured on the $10 note.
Establishing the world’s first aerial medical service was Reverend John Flynn (1880–1951). The Royal Flying Doctor Service is the modern name for his legacy, which you may be familiar with! Flynn saw the urgent need for inland Australians to have access to medical services after assisting in the establishment of the Presbyterian Church’s Australian Inland Mission. As a result, he overcame numerous obstacles to establish the aerial medical service and the radio communications that went along with it. Victory, another picture on the note, is a DeHavilland 50 aircraft that was used on the service’s inaugural flight in 1928.
The $50 note features Indigenous writer and inventor David Unaipon alongside Edith Cowan, the first female parliamentarian in Australia.
An inventor, author, and public speaker, David Unaipon (1872–1967) was well-known for his contributions to science. Despite having only a basic education, the Ngarrindjeri man was able to conduct groundbreaking research and create several innovative inventions, one of which is a much-improved sheep-shearing tool, as shown on the note with him.
In addition, Unaipon was the first Indigenous writer from Australia to have their writing published. She wrote articles for newspapers and magazines in addition to a 1929 booklet titled Native Legends.
Additionally, he was a fervent advocate and supporter of better living conditions for Indigenous people.
Social worker and feminist Edith Cowan (1861–1932) became the first female politician in Australia. Cowan vigorously advocated for and worked toward reforms that would benefit women, children, and immigrants. Her input was essential to the establishment of the Children’s Protection Society and the Women’s Service Guild. Edith was among the first women appointed to the bench of the Children’s Court, which was established with assistance from the later organization. Cowan was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly in 1921.
The $50 note is the most frequently copied banknote, despite the fact that polymer plastic notes are said to be nearly impossible to counterfeit. Nevertheless, some cunning thieves have managed to duplicate the note. The majority of these illicit operations have been shut down by the police, who have also taken action against these unauthorized notes.
Though they were added in 2002, there are some minor differences in the designs of the $50 notes—such as some having names printed beneath the portraits used on the note—that are still valid.
The Federal Police suggest using a coin or fingernail to scratch off the stars of the Southern Cross located on the note’s transparent window in order to identify a “genuine” fake fiddy, as it were. The stars on the actual notes are protected by an extremely strong coating, making them impossible to remove.
Microprinting, raised ink (you can actually feel the texture on the note), fluorescent ink (Wilson claims you can see the denomination numeral on $20, $50, and $100 notes along with a square shape on $5 notes), and other security features are also present on Australian banknotes. To view these, all you need is an ultraviolet light.
Dame Nellie Melba
With a soprano range of almost three octaves, Helen Porter Mitchell (1861–1931), better known by her stage name Dame Nellie Melba, was a well-known opera singer who performed all over the world.
Nellie was born in Richmond, Victoria, but after her mother and youngest sister passed away in 1881, she relocated to Queensland with her father. A year later, she would marry Charles Armstrong. The marriage, which ended in divorce in 1900, was not enjoyable for Nellie. She used her singing career as a way to vent her frustrations.
Although Nellie sang in Australian concerts, her operatic debut was in Brussels, Belgium, in 1887, where she played Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto. An acclaimed career began with a Paris debut. Nellie lived and worked abroad, but she frequently traveled back to Australia to perform. The itinerary for her biggest homecoming tour, which took place in 1902, is featured on the $100 bill.
In the years 1904 through 1926, Nellie recorded nearly 200 tracks. After giving a number of farewell performances across Australia, she retired in 1928. She died on February 23, 1931.
Sir John Monash
During World War I, Sir John Monash (1865–1931) served as an engineer, vice-chancellor of a university, and a distinguished military officer.
John was a driven and talented student who attended the University of Melbourne to study the arts, engineering, and law. He completed his ten years of studies in 1892. Retrenched from engineering work on multiple occasions, John became more and more focused on a military career.
After advancing through the military ranks, John was named commander of the Australian Imperial Force’s 4th Infantry Brigade at the start of World War I. He fought in Gallipoli until 1915.
The Royal Australian Mint in Canberra is the source of all Australian coins that you may carry in your pocket, handbag, or piggy bank. Each coin has two sides: the “tails” side, also known as the “reverse” side, and the “heads” side, also known as the “obverse” side.
There will always be an image of the monarch on the heads (obverse) side of the coin. That would be Queen Elizabeth II today. The year the coin was made and the word “Australia” will also be printed on this side.
The reverse, or tails, side of each coin features a unique image that is distinctly Australian.
The five cent coin has a picture of an echidna.
The ten cent coin has a picture of a lyrebird.
The twenty cent coin has a picture of a platypus.
The fifty cent coin has a picture of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms.
The one dollar coin has a picture of five kangaroos.
The two dollar coin has a picture of a traditional Australian Aboriginal man and the Southern Cross.
Like the $1 coin, the $2 coin replaced a note, which wasn’t lasting long because it was used so often.
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