Paper Money

Australia reveals its new $100 bank note

The Reserve Bank of Australia has revealed the designs of its new $100 bank note. The persons depicted are the same found on the current notes.

Original images courtesy of Reserve Bank of Australia.

The Reserve Bank of Australia revealed the designs of the new $100 bank note on Feb. 24. It is the last denomination to be issued as part of the Next Generation Banknote Program. It will be released into circulation in the second half of 2020.

The portraits of Sir John Monash and Dame Nellie Melba, both natives of Melbourne, are the same as on the existing note. Melba is depicted on the face of the note and Monash is seen on the back of the note.

Sir John Monash was an engineer, soldier and civic leader. He was a leader in the building-construction industry and is also well known for his service as a commander during World War I, and later helped soldiers in their transition back to civilian life. He was instrumental in building the Shrine of Remembrance — seen to the left of his bust on the note — in Melbourne. He was also the vice-chancellor of Melbourne University from 1923 to 1931.

Dame Nellie Melba was a well-known soprano in the late 19th and early 20th century who performed in Australia, Europe and the United States. One of her two images on the bill shows her in costume as Rosina in Rossini’s Barber of Seville. Also seen is the monogram from the cover of her homecoming concert tour program of 1902. Melba also made important contributions to the arts through teaching at the Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music, now the Melba Opera Trust, Melbourne. She also published the Melba Method in 1926, a how-to guide for opera singers.

As on the other denominations, the $100 note includes Australian flora and fauna. This time it is the Australian masked owl (Tyto novaehollandiae) and Australia’s national flower, the golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha), a plant native to south-eastern Australia and southern inland areas of New South Wales. The yellow wattle frames the edges of the top-to-bottom window on the banknote, which has multiple dynamic security elements such as a flying owl, and a reversing number ‘100’.

The note also bears a tactile feature to help people who are blind or who have low vision to distinguish between different denominations: five raised bumps on each of the long edges of the note.

Existing $100 bank notes remain legal tender.

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