Paper Money

Australia reveals new bank notes

Australia’s new $5 bank note, the first in its Next Generation Banknote Program, will enter circulation on Sept. 1 according to an April 12 statement by the nation’s Reserve Bank. 

Based on its plastic material, size, color and subjects, the new note bears an intended resemblance to its predecessor that is meant to aid recognition and ease disruption. New features include a tactile one to help the vision impaired, and security enhancements including a distinctive top to bottom window and the Omron rings (a pattern of small circles, usually yellow in color). 

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Also new is that each note in the new series will depict a different species of Australian wattle and a native bird within the design elements. On the $5 note, these are the prickly moses wattle (Acacia verticillata subspecies ovoidea) and the eastern spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris). 

Not all Australians look favorably on the new issue. A columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald called it cringeworthy, wondering first why Queen Elizabeth II is honored on the face when there are plenty of deserving Australians, and second why it then was decided to touch up her photo so she looks 30 years younger than she actually is. The same columnist also took issue with the wattles, calling them “yellow witchetty grubs” crawling up the page in front of the queen.

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