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Australian Decimal currency 50 years

Australian Decimal currency 50 years celebrated through Special stamp

Australia post marks 50 years of Australian Decimal currency that supplanted pounds, shillings and pence in Australia on 14 February 1966.

The $1 stamp features the images of new $1 banknote and coin along with the image of £1 banknote which was replaced.

On 14 February 1966, one era ended and another began when Australia replaced British-style currency with decimal notes and coins.

Not only did it require individuals to rethink the method for everyday transactions (the three-unit system replaced by two units), but it also meant designing, producing and distributing new currency (and stamps); converting monetary machines; training banking and retail staff; and a huge public education campaign.

Design of Australian Decimal currency


Designer Gordon Andrews (1914–2001) created the $1, $2, $10 and $20 notes released in 1966, as well as the $5 note, released in 1967, and the $50 note, released in 1973 and the $100 issued in 1984.

His bright, bold and airy designs depict a diverse and inclusive Australia, representing Aboriginal culture, a woman other than the Queen for the first time (Caroline Chisholm on the $5 note), architecture and arts, science and industry, and Australian fauna.

The first polymer banknotes were issued in 1988 by the Reserve Bank of Australia, specifically polypropylene polymer banknotes (produced by Note Printing Australia), to commemorate the bicentenary of European settlement in Australia.

Australian Decimal currency 50 years
Image courtesy Australia Post


Gold- and silversmith Stuart Devlin (1931–) designed the coins. Like Andrews, Devlin created superbly modern and beautifully composed designs, featuring native fauna and the Australian coat of arms. He also designed the $1 coin, which replaced the $1 note in 1984.

The initial 50-cent coins contained high silver (80%) content and were withdrawn after a year after the intrinsic value of the silver content was found to exceed the face value of the coins.

One-dollar coins were introduced in 1984, followed by two-dollar coins in 1988. The one- and two-cent coins were discontinued in 1991 and withdrawn from circulation.

Rate of conversion for the new decimal currency

The rate of conversion for the new decimal currency was two dollars per Australian pound, or ten Australian shillings per dollar. The exchange rate was pegged to the pound sterling at a rate of $1 = 8 shillings ($2.50 = UK £1).

In 1967, Australia effectively left the sterling area, when the pound sterling was devalued against the US dollar and the Australian dollar did not follow. It maintained its peg to the US dollar at the rate of A$1 = US$1.12.

Australian Decimal currency 50 years
Image courtesy Australia Post

Title: Australian Decimal currency 50 years
Date of Issue: 9 February 2016
Country: Australia
Denominations: $1

Source: Australian Stamps

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