The Australian dollar is the official currency in Australia, subdivided into 100 cents.
Origins and history
The first Australian banknotes were printed more than a century ago, but there was currency in the country much earlier.
The discovery of gold in the country in 1851 led to the coinage of gold coins, stimulating the development of the banking system. Commercial banks issued their own banknotes, backed by gold, although people did not completely trust them, especially after several banks filing for bankruptcy in 1893.
The Australian Notes Act, passed in 1910, assigned the responsibility of issuing banknotes to the National Treasury and introduced the Australian pound as the official currency. During the first three years subsequent to its introduction, several private banknotes already existing were reprinted by the Treasury as a temporary measure until the designs were ready to use.
In 1966 Australia issued its first series of decimal banknotes, printed in paper, for the values of 1, 2, 10 and 20 Australian dollars, followed by the 5 $ denomination in 1967. 50 and 100 $ were reprinted later, in 1973 and 1984.
After the joint development of new technologies to print banknotes in Australia by the Reserve Bank, the country issued the 10 dollar banknote in polymer, in January 1988 to celebrate the bicentenary of Australia.
Between 1992 and 1996 a new series of banknotes were created, all of them printed in polymer, to replace the decimal original banknotes.
The Reserve Bank started to produce polymer banknotes to avoid counterfeit, which had been on the rise due to the new technologies in reprography systems.
Current Australian dollar coins and banknotes
Today, we have banknotes of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Australian dollars.
Did you know?
- 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.
Date of creation:
Reserve Bank of Australia
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