If you’re lucky enough to be able to hold on to a $50 note to look at it for more than a minute before the rising cost of living whisks it away, you’ll be seeing something very different from October onwards.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has revealed its new $50 note design and while the portraits on it won’t change – you’ll see have Aboriginal writer and inventor David Unaipon on one side and Edith Cowan, the first female member of an Australian parliament, on the other – the central bank says there are quite a few other new features, including a ‘reversing number’ and and ‘rolling colour’ effect on the transparent strip that runs from top to bottom of the note.
Other new design features including the shields used by Unaipon’s Ngarrindjeri nation, plus the gumnut brooch Cowan made to symbolise her entry into parliament – she meant to imply that getting in had been a “hard nut to crack”! The good old wattle – in this case, the acacia humifusa – and native bird – a black swan, which was Unaipon’s totem as well as being the symbol of Cowan’s home state Western Australia – will also feature on the note.
And unlike most pieces of currency, this one may actually help its owners save money. That’s because it’s unlikely to be accepted by many vending machines, self-serve checkouts and pokies for some time, so is likely to be hard to spend once you have it!
Although the RBA is working with banknote equipment manufacturers and retailers to help them get ready for the new note’s launch, some won’t upgrade their machinery in time for October, and the old machines will spit out the new note.
The same occurred when the new $10 note was introduced in 2017 and the $5 note in 2016. The president of the National Vending Association told the Daily Mail that it was due to the fact that older machines saw the clear strip, which is an upgraded security feature, as if it was the end of the note and thus don’t recognise it as being the correct size.
That said, the RBA did point out to news.com.au that it has taken until now for the $5 note launched in 2015 to comprise just over half of the $5 notes in circulation, so it expects the old notes to remain the most common for some time.
The $20 is next in line for a facelift, with the new note due to be revealed in 2019.