Australia was the first country in the world to make bank notes out of polymer (plastic), these provide added security against counterfeiting as well as being able to last much longer than the old paper notes.
In 1966 Australia changed to decimal currency after using the old British system of pounds, shillings and pence.
The $100 note features world-renowned soprano Dame Nellie Melba, and the distinguished soldier, engineer and administrator General Sir John Monash.
The $50 note features Aboriginal writer and inventor David Unaipon, and Australia’s first female parliamentarian, Edith Cowan.
The $20 note features the founder of the world’s first aerial medical service (the Royal Flying Doctor Service), the Reverend John Flynn, and Mary Reibey, who arrived in Australia as a convict in 1792 and went on to become a successful shipping magnate and philanthropist.
The $10 note features the poets AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Dame Mary Gilmore. This note incorporates micro-printed excerpts of Paterson’s and Gilmore’s work.
The $5 note features Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Parliament House in Canberra, the national capital.
The $2 coin, which replaced the two dollar note in 1988, depicts an Aboriginal tribal elder set against a background of the Southern Cross and native grass trees.
The $1 coin, which replaced the $1 note in 1984, depicts five kangaroos. The standard $1 design, along with the 50, 20, 10 and 5 cent designs, was created by the Queen’s official jeweller, Stuart Devlin.
The 50 cent coin carries Australia’s coat of arms: the six state badges on a central shield supported by a kangaroo and an emu, with a background of Mitchell grass.
The 20 cent coin carries a platypus, one of only two egg-laying mammals in the world. It has webbed feet and a duck-like bill that it uses to hunt for food along the bottom of streams and rivers.
The 10 cent coin features a male lyrebird dancing. A clever mimic, the lyrebird inhabits the dense, damp forests of Australia’s eastern coast.
The 5 cent coin depicts an echidna, or spiny anteater, the world’s only other egg-laying mammal.