Peter Russell

Pete is a technology expert. He founded Joomla with a great group of people in Europe. He is an author of a range of content including stories and tutorials.

Can You Change 20 Dinkums into Emus?

Can You Change 20 Dinkums into Emus?

This Sunday marks the 50th Anniversary of the change over from Pounds, Shillings and Pence to Dollars and Cents.

These days the Australian dollar is the fifth most traded currency in the world, accounting for 7.6 per cent of all trades.

However the dollar could have been called a number of different names.  The Prime Minister of the time, Robert Menzies, who was a monarchist, wanted to call it the Royal.

Other proposed names included more exotic suggestions such as the Austral, the Oz, the Boomer, the Roo, the Kanga, the Emu, the Digger, the Quid, the Dinkum and the Ming (Menzies' nickname). Menzies' influence resulted in the selection of the "Royal," and trial designs were prepared and printed by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

The "Dollar" was eventually chosen as the name, and decimal currency was introduced on 14 February 1966.  I like the Digger.  That would have been fun.

Shortly after the changeover, substantial counterfeiting of $10 notes was detected. This provided an impetus for the Reserve Bank of Australia to develop new note technologies jointly with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

This policy eventually led to polymer note technology.  It was developed by Australia, and Australia prints polymer banknotes for a number of other countries. In 1988, Australia introduced its first polymer bank note and in 1996, Australia became the first country in the world to have a complete series of polymer notes.

These are great the way they survive a heavy wash in a washing machine or even a spin in a dryer — something where the old paper notes failed miserably.

One of the ironies I like to relate to the younger generation is when two pennies are used for two-up on ANZAC Day.  Our modern coins just don't have the same appeal or nostalgia for would be diggers. 

My great grandmother told me a story about when she was a little girl walking the main street of Bendigo.  She had dropped a penny down a drain gate and was in tears peering down it.  A man approached and asked "what is wrong, little girl."  To which she replied: "I've lost my shilling."  The kind man reached into his pocket and  gave her a shilling.  Not a bad profit!

 

 

 

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Comments 3

 
Guest - D.A.Cairns on Saturday, 13 February 2016 16:06

I have only ever known decimal currency. The suggested names you listed made me laugh, especially the Ming. I just cant imagine anything other than dollar being sensible...but if I had to chose one, I'd go for the emu. By the way, could you ;lend me 20 emus mate?

I have only ever known decimal currency. The suggested names you listed made me laugh, especially the Ming. I just cant imagine anything other than dollar being sensible...but if I had to chose one, I'd go for the emu. By the way, could you ;lend me 20 emus mate?
Guest - P. D. McDermott on Saturday, 13 February 2016 17:57

Would be hilarious if your mate turned up with a mob of real emus, David.

Would be hilarious if your mate turned up with a mob of real emus, David.
Peter Russell on Saturday, 13 February 2016 18:54

If the notes were called Emus and you had a "mob" in your wallet — then you'd be loaded!!!

If the notes were called Emus and you had a "mob" in your wallet — then you'd be loaded!!!
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