The second of its series for World Money Mondays, we will be channeling our inner Aussie and exploring the Australian banknotes, particularly the 10$ banknote from 1988 because of its significance to banknote history. This banknote is one of the most vibrant and detailed banknotes that has an interesting backstory to go with it. Just one of many of the neat Australian banknotes in their several currency series.

Source: Banknote World, 10 Dollars Australian banknote, 1988

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Australian banknotes have a reputation for having some of the most intriguing details! From their detailed images to symbolic features, Australia’s banknotes always pay homage to their rich culture. This particular banknote on the obverse (front of the banknote) features the Naval ship the HMS Supply docking on what is known today as Sydney Cove. Sydney Cove is in the city of Sydney, Australia. Surprisingly, Sydney Cove was not the original destination the fleet came across. The HMS Supply along with ten other ships, to become known as the “First Fleet” left Portsmouth, England, on May 13th, 1787 and arrived in Botany Bay on January 20th, 1788. However, this location was seen as unsuitable to settle down. Six days later, the settlement arrived and was established in Sydney Cove.

Source: In times gone blog, First Fleet, 1788
Source: WordPress, Flag raise, 1788

This picture shows the European settlers arriving in Sydney Cove.  On the actual banknote, above the ship and land, we see the settlers that represent people who have contributed to Australia’s rich history, from early settlers to the left and modern working women to the right . This is to showcase the diversity and the different backgrounds of the nation. On the reverse (back of the banknote) we see more of a Aboriginal influence. We see portraits of rock paintings, the center picture is a native aboriginal youth with traditional ceremonial paint, and in the background is a Morning Star Pole. These poles are used by the Aboriginal people of North and East Arnhem Land (Northern Territory), during significant ceremonial occasions. Australian banknotes are known to pay homage to both the aboriginal and European cultures that have merged with time.

January 26th is Australia’s National day (a public holiday) and on the exact day it is understood that the note was available.
To fit the occasion, this Australian banknote depicts scenes of European settlement and the general development of a multi – cultural nation on one side and Australia’s aboriginal heritage on another.

Fun Fact: The Birth of Polymer- Began in Australia!

Source: WordPress, Polymer Currency

Australia’s currency has changed several times over the years, but one thing has stayed consistent, and that’s the amount of detail shown in every banknote. On January 27th 1988, the 10 Dollar Australian banknote made history by being the first banknote made with (the popular now) polymer.  Polymer is , “A substance that has a molecular structure consisting chiefly or entirely of a large number of similar units bonded together, e.g., many synthetic organic materials used as plastics and resins” (Oxford Dictionary). It is bonded on certain parts of the banknote to take shape of a specific figure and to merely add security and authenticity, embellishment and design to the banknote. Polymer banknotes tend to last two to three times longer than paper notes and have a more waxy feel to them. Since the making of this banknote, there has been hundreds of banknotes made out of the popular plastic like substance, especially with counterfeit currency increasing.

Fast Forward to Today…

Source: Banknote World, Australia 5 Dollars 2 Piece Matching Set

As we see, Austrailian Currency has evolved quite a bit over the decades. However, one thing is the same, Australian banknotes today are still made with polymer and still prided on their detailed and symbolic banknotes. As we see here with the 5 Dollar banknote from 2016, we have Queen Elizabeth front and center of the banknote, and several symbolic monuments and animals native to Australia featured as well. Austrailia is ranked as one of the most advanced banknotes out and a trailblazer for the polymer banknotes behind it!

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