Sunday, April 11, 2010

Banknotes: $1/Queen Elizabeth II

It seems a bit slack that their faces are handled each day, that they are even rolled up and used to snort cocaine, but we don’t know their names or histories. I refer to the faces on the Australian banknotes.  I previously advised that there would be regular posts about the people on our decimal currency banknotes, both past and present.

Here is the first...

On 14 February 1966, Australia went from £/s/d to $ and ¢, or, in the spoken word, from pounds, shillings and pence to decimal currency of dollars and cents. This was accompanied by a public awareness campaign featuring a character Dollar Bill who explained what it all

The first notes were paper, replaced from 1988 by polymer notes. In addition, the $1 and $2 denominations were represented by notes, not coins, and there were coins for one and two cent denominations.

Notwithstanding the picture of Her Maj on the $1 note, the new decimal currency notes were much more Australian than their predecessors. Apart from greater focus on women, architecture and aboriginal culture, the notes now looked to Australia’s history and contributions to the world.

The face of the $1 note  featured Her Majesty in regal robes, with the Australian coat of arms. In a surprising break with tradition, the coat of arms is depicted in aboriginal art style. Compare it with the pre-decimal equivalent, the ten shilling note:

The reverse of the $1 note features an interpretation of an Aboriginal bark painting by David Daymirringu and of other paintings and carvings.

The $1 note was replaced by a $1 coin in 1984:

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