The Reserve Bank of Australia on Feb. 15 revealed both the design of
its new $50 bank note and a release date of October 2018.
As with the other notes in the new series, the $50 note bears a
similarity in color, size, and people portrayed, but has enhanced
security devices. Basically unchanged are portraits of Aboriginal
writer and inventor David Unaipon of the face and the first female
member of the Australian Parliament, Edith Cowan, on the back.
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New elements include a top-to-bottom clear window containing
features such as a reversing number and a three-dimensional book. The
note will also bear what the bank calls a patch with a rolling-color
effect, and it will also feature microprinting of excerpts from
Unaipon’s book and Cowan’s first speech in Parliament.
The note tells the stories of Unaipon and Cowan through the use of
several elements. Among them, says the bank, are shields from
Unaipon’s Ngarrindjeri nation and the practices of miwi and navel cord
exchange about which Unaipon wrote. The bank note also has a picture
of the gumnut brooch Cowan had made to symbolize that entry into
Parliament was a “hard nut to crack” for women, and the King Edward
Memorial Hospital, a women’s and maternity hospital that she helped establish.
As on the $5 and $10 issues, the new $50 bank note includes a wattle
and a native bird. On the $50 note they are the Acacia humifusa wattle
and a black swan (Cygnus atratus). The black swan is both Unaipon’s
ngaji, or totem, and the bird of Western Australia, Cowan’s home state.
More information is on the bank website.
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