Today begins an occasional feature on Australia's banknotes or, more particularly, the designs, pictures and people on them.
On 14 February 1966, Australia went from £/s/d to $ and ¢, or, in the spoken word, from pounds, shillings and pence to decimal currency of dollars and cents. This was accompanied by a public awareness campaign featuring a character, Dollar Bill, who explained what it all meant.
The first notes were paper, replaced from 1988 by polymer notes. In addition, the $1 and $2 denominations were represented by notes, not coins, and there were coins for one and two cent denominations.
Notwithstanding the picture of Her Maj on the $1 note, the new decimal currency notes were much more Australian than their predecessors. Apart from greater focus on women, architecture and aboriginal culture, the notes now looked to Australia’s history and contributions to the world.
The face of the $1 note featured Her Majesty in regal robes, with the Australian coat of arms. In a surprising break with tradition, the coat of arms is depicted in aboriginal art style. Compare it with the pre-decimal equivalent, the ten shilling note (click on the pics to enlarge):
The reverse of the $1 note features an interpretation of an Aboriginal bark painting by David Daymirringu and of other paintings and carvings.