The Reserve Bank of Australia has reminded Aussies that a new $50 banknote will enter general circulation on Thursday, marking a milestone in the upgrade of Australian banknotes.
While new and improved $5 and $10 notes have been in circulation for several years, it will be the first time the new $50 notes will be available to the public. While more Aussies are opting for cashless methods of payment, the $50 note remains the country’s most widely circulated note, accounting for close to half of all banknotes in use.
An updated $20 note is also set to be released next year, with a new $100 note due to be released in 2020. Although it’s been a couple of years since the $5 and $10 notes were released, Governor Philip Lowe said the decision to release the new $50 later was deliberate.
“We were keen for the new $5 and $10 [notes] to be well accepted before we launched the most popular note, the $50,” Lowe said in a statement. “This has involved working closely with businesses to assist cash handlers and cash-handling machines to identify and use the notes, which will help minimise disruption to people and businesses.”
While there are changes in the design of the new notes, they still include similar elements seen in earlier versions of the note. The updated version will still continue to feature a portrait of Aboriginal writer and inventor David Unaipon, as well was Australia’s first female member of parliament Edith Cowan.
The microprint includes excerpts of Unaipon’s book, Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines, as well as Cowan’s first speech to the Western Australian Parliament.
Similar to the new $5 and $10 notes, the new $50 note includes security features to prevent counterfeiting. This includes a top-to-bottom clear window containing a reversing number and flying bird, microprint and a patch with a rolling colour effect. It’s also been redesigned to help the visually impaired and will include a tactile feature of four raised bumps on each side of the banknote so those who have trouble seeing will still be able to tell the difference between different notes.
Those with the old $50 notes have nothing to worry about for now and it will take some time before they are withdrawn from circulation. Old notes will retain their legal tender status and can continue to be used as normal. It’s not the first time a change in money has impacted Australians. This year marked 30 years since the old $2 notes were replaced with the gold coins we use today.
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