Australia would be circulating a new $50 banknote with better security features on 18th October. Like all Australian notes issued since 1995, the new ones also honour works of two social reformers. David Unaipon was Australia’s first published Aboriginal author and inventor. Edith Cowan was the first female member of an Australian Parliament.
Various design elements highlight the works of these two great personalities. These elements include shields from Unaipon’s Ngarrindjeri nation, images showing the practices of a state of consciousness called Miwi, and the Aboriginal practice of navel cord exchange, about which Unaipon wrote. The note also depicts the gum nut brooch made by Cowan to symbolise that entry into Parliament was a “hard nut to crack” for women. Another illustration of King Edward Memorial Hospital is also featured as Cowan was actively involved in establishing the Hospital.
The colour and size remain the same to avoid any confusion among the general public. Security features include a top-to-bottom clear window with elements like a reversing number and flying bird. A patch with a rolling colour effect is included. Micro-printing of excerpts from Unaipon’s Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines and Cowan’s first speech to the Western Australian parliament is also featured. Earlier versions of $50 notes would remain legal tender.
Every note in the new series depicts a different species of an Australian plant and a bird. The $50 note features the Acacia humifusa and the black swan. Black Swans are found in Cowan’s home state of Western Australia.
Image Courtesy: The Central Bank of Australia