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Who Are On Australian Money Of All Time. Photo tourtogo

Australia is one of many countries having Queen Elizabeth II’s face on their banknotes and coins. Who else appear on Australian money?


History of Australian Money

When the first fleet arrived in Australia it was decided that no currency was required as the population consisted of only soldiers and convicts. Rum became one of the original forms of currency during the first 25 years despite all the issues of spillage and loss. Working in a bank might have been fun!

The first coins used in Australia, in 1813, were created by punching the centre out of a Spanish dollar to produce two coins the Holey Dollar and the Dump, they were then stamped with their new values making them worthless elsewhere in the world.

1910, nine years after Federation, Australian silver coins were introduced, a year later Australian bronze pennies and half pennies and in 1913 the first Australian notes were issued. In 1966 decimal currency, dollars and cents replaced the pounds, shillings and pence.

Today, Australia is a world leader in bank notes and coins and pioneered the use of polymer bank notes in 1988, although it wasn’t until 1996 that paper notes were fully replaced. Notes of different denominations vary in both size and colour. Each of the Australian dollar notes depict a famous Australian or notable person who has some important significance to 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 developed the world’s first plastic bank note

Due to paper money forever needing to be replaced due to wear and tear, Australia was the first country to pioneer plastic, or polymer, money. Many other countries have since adopted using polymer bank notes for their currency.

The polymer notes can stay in currency four times longer than their paper counterparts. Pair this with the fact they are harder to counterfeit, our polymer invention seems to be the future of printed money — although countries such as the US seem to be welded on to paper bank notes (and they even retain their 1 cent coin).

Plastic notes even withstand going through the washing machine, which has been a notorious unintended way to destroy good money in the past. As the notes are made of plastic, people often wonder whether they are capable of withstanding the heat of an iron — the answer is yes, though only at a mild temperature. As with any plastic, it definitely has a melting point, which Wilson points out is a sure fire way to burn through your money (pun intended).

Who are on Austrlian banknotes?

Australian $5 note - Queen Elizabeth II

Photo Reserve Bank of Australian Banknotes
Photo Reserve Bank of Australian Banknotes

The present $5 note is the only current circulation note that doesn’t have an actual person on both sides. One side features Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, while the other features a picture of the Parliament House in Canberra (Australia’s capital city).

The portrait of Queen Elizabeth II – which is displayed along with a small branch of eucalyptus – was actually commissioned in 1984 by the Reserve Bank, but didn’t appear on the first polymer $5 note until 1992.

Both the Old and New Parliament Houses are represented as architectural sketches (including an aerial view) on the back of the $5 note.

The image shown is a new more secure and colourful $5 note released in September 2016 which features some slight changes from the original polymer notes.

What Happens To Australian Coins And $5 Banknotes Now That Queen Elizabeth II Has Died?

Tradition states that the head of the monarch on coins will now face the other direction, which in our case will now be left. And, as is common practice, it’s likely that another competition will be held to decide on the design. However, the Royal Australian Mint has said it will follow protocols set out by Buckingham Palace.

It’s also expected that the monarch on the $5 banknote will change, but once again, the Royal Australian Mint is waiting on instructions.

An RBA spokesperson has told the ABC, “all Australian banknotes issued from 1913 retain their legal tender status. So the currently circulating $5 banknotes would still be able to be used should a new banknote be issued as a result of a change in monarch.”

Australian $10 note

Who Are On Australian Money Of All Time
Photo Reserve Bank of Australian Banknotes

Andrew Barton Paterson (1864-1941), or Banjo Paterson, the poet behind ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and ‘The Man from Snowy River’, was born in 1864 at Narrambla, near Orange, NSW.

As a child, Banjo grew up in the Yass district of NSW enraptured by the world of stockmen and drovers that surrounded him and which would later be central to his poetry. After finishing school in Sydney in 1875, he worked as a lawyer.

His first published poem, ‘El Mahdi to the Australian Troops’, was published in The Bulletin in February 1885. He wrote under the pen name ‘The Banjo’, after the station racehorse owned by his family.

Banjo’s poetry proved popular. He remained anonymous until his first poetry collection, The Man from Snowy River, and Other Verses, was published in 1895 and sold out in a week, establishing Banjo as a literary celebrity.

Banjo, who spent most of his life living in the city, was most popular with urban audiences. His ballads and verses presented – and continue to present – a powerful image of the bushman and country life, creating a mythic figure and embodying the colony’s resilience and determination in the face of hardship and harsh country conditions. Banjo became somewhat of a stoic-figure like that of the working class men of his poems; a laborious lyricist and folk-poet.

The $10 note has the portraits of poets AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Dame Mary Gilmore. The unique feature of the $10 note is the microprint on all other notes is the value, on the $10 note it includes extracts from works by the two poets featured on the note.

Photo wikipedia
Photo wikipedia

Dame Mary Gilmore (1865–1962) was also a poet, as well as an author, journalist and keen campaigner against inequality and deprivation. She campaigned against a huge range of injustices, such as the inability of women to vote, the treatment of Indigenous Australians and poor people and pushed for reforms to old age and disability pensions, child endowment and better treatment of returned servicemen. She published several works of poetry – some under pseudonyms – and an extract of her poem ‘No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest’ appears on the $10 note.

READ MORE: Top 15+ Interesting Facts about Australia

Australian $20 note

Mary Reibey

Photo Wikipedia
Photo Wikipedia

The $20 note features philanthropist Mary Reibey, and aerial medical service pioneer, the Reverend John Flynn.

Mary Reibey (1777–1855) actually arrived in Australia in 1792 as a convict, but this tenacious achiever then went on to become a successful shipping magnate and philanthropist. Reibey developed a reputation as a perceptive, successful businesswoman after taking over her husband’s enterprises, following his death in 1811. With her success, she spread her fortune by funding charitable work and participating in church and education interests. Along with her portrait, the $20 note also contains images of the schooner Mercury and a building in George Street that she owned.

Photo Reserve Bank of Australian Banknotes
Photo Reserve Bank of Australian Banknotes

Reverend John Flynn (1880–1951) founded the first aerial medical service in the world. You may recognise the contemporary name of his legacy- the Royal Flying Doctor Service! After helping to establish the Presbyterian Church’s Australian Inland Mission, Flynn could see a dire need for inland Australians to have access to medical services, so – after many setbacks – he achieved the feat of establishing the aerial medical service, as well as its associated radio communications. In 1928, the service’s maiden voyage occurred with the DeHavilland 50 aircraft Victory, which is also pictured on the note.

Australian $50 note

David Unaipon

Photo Reserve Bank of Australian Banknotes
Photo Reserve Bank of Australian Banknotes

The $50 note displays Indigenous inventor and writer, David Unaipon, and Australia’s first female parliamentarian, Edith Cowan.

David Unaipon (1872–1967) was an inventor, writer and public speaker, hailed for his contributions to science. The Ngarrindjeri man only had a basic education; however, he was able to research and invent a number of groundbreaking innovations, including a much-improved sheep-shearing tool, which is also depicted on the note with him.

Unaipon was also Australia’s first published Indigenous writer, with works including newspaper and magazine articles, as well as a 1929 booklet publication, called Native Legends.

He was also a strong supporter and campaigner for improvements to Indigenous living conditions.

Photo Reserve Bank of Australian Banknotes
Photo Reserve Bank of Australian Banknotes

Edith Cowan (1861–1932) was a social worker and feminist who went on to become Australia’s first female politician. Cowan worked towards – and campaigned strongly for – reforms for women, children and migrants. Her contribution was crucial towards the founding of the Women’s Service Guild and the Children’s Protection Society. The later organisation helped establish the Children’s Court, and Edith was one of the first women appointed to the bench. In 1921, Cowan was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia.

Fake $50 notes have been successfully made

Polymer plastic notes are reputed as near impossible to counterfeit, however some crafty crooks out there have still managed to copy the $50 note, making it the most frequently copied banknote. Police have managed to shut down most of these illegal operations and clamp down on these illegitimate notes.

There are however some slight design variances between $50 notes (such as some having names printed under the portraits used on the note, which were added in 2002), but these are still legitimate.

To spot a “real” fake fiddy, as it were, the Federal Police advise that the stars of the Southern Cross found on the note’s translucent window can be scratched off with a fingernail or coin. The real notes have stars that are unable to be removed as they are covered by a very durable coating.

Other security measures found on Australian bank notes include; micro printing, raised ink (you can actually feel the texture on the note), fluorescent ink (Wilson says you can see the denomination numeral on $20, $50 and $100 notes along with a square shape on $5 notes) and more. You simply need an ultraviolet light to view these.

Australian $100 note

Dame Nellie Melba

Photo Reserve Bank of Australian Banknotes
Photo Reserve Bank of Australian Banknotes

Helen Porter Mitchell (1861-1931), better known by stage name Dame Nellie Melba, was an internationally renowned opera singer, touring worldwide with her near three-octave soprano range.

Nellie was born in Richmond, Victoria but moved to Queensland with her father following the death of her mother and youngest sister in 1881, meeting and marrying Charles Armstrong a year later. Nellie did not enjoy the marriage, which ended in divorce in 1900. Her frustrations were channelled into her singing career.

Nellie sung in Australian concerts, but her first Opera debut, in 1887, was in Brussels, Belgium, as Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto. A debut in Paris followed and an acclaimed career began. Nellie was based overseas, but regularly returned to Australia to perform. Her largest homecoming tour was in 1902 – the tour program is depicted on the $100 note.

Between 1904 and 1926, Nellie made almost 200 recordings. She retired in 1928 after a series of final concerts across Australia before retiring, passing away on 23 February 1931.

Sir John Monash

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Photo eBay

Sir John Monash (1865-1931) was an engineer, university vice-chancellor and an accomplished military officer during World War I.

An ambitious and gifted scholar, John studied arts, engineering and law at the University of Melbourne, graduating after ten years of study in 1892. Repeatedly retrenched from engineering work, John increasingly focused on a military career.

He rose through the military ranks, and at the outbreak of WWI, John was appointed commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade of the Australian Imperial Force, fighting in Gallipoli until 1915.

Who are on Australian Coins?

All the Australian coins you have in your pocket, purse or piggy bank are made at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra. Every coin has two sides: the ‘heads’ side (sometimes called the ‘obverse’ side) and the ‘tails’ side (sometimes called the ‘reverse’ side).

The heads (obverse) side of the coin will always have a picture of the monarch on it. Today that is Queen Elizabeth II. This side will also have the word ‘Australia’ and the year the coin was made printed on it.

The tails (reverse) side has a picture of something very Australian and is different for each coin.

Photo depositphotos
Photo depositphotos

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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