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Museum Displays

Our displays showcase the sorts of money used before Federation and each of the series of banknotes since, culminating in the current polymer banknotes. This fascinating story is illustrated through a number of stages.

The new $5 Banknote

The new $5 banknote is the first of the next generation of Australian banknotes. The new banknote, issued from September 2016, contains significant innovations in design and security. It is the first Australian banknote to have a clear top-to-bottom ‘window’ that includes sophisticated security features. It also introduces a tactile feature that can be used by people who are blind or have low vision to determine the value of their banknotes. Read details »

Thumbnail of Before Federation Display - Five Pounds - 1835

Before Federation: To 1900

After some chaotic currency experiments, the discovery of gold led to the production of Australian gold coins and boosted the issue of private banknotes. But by Federation, Australia did not have a national currency. Read details »

A New Currency Display main photo

A New Currency: 1900–1920

The various displays of notes, including some interesting notes that were designed but never used. What do they portray about Australia? Who are the people shown on our banknotes? Read details »

Old £1 Banknote showing portrait of King Edward VIII

The Commonwealth Bank and the Note Issue: 1920–1960

In this period, Australia's banknotes changed several times, mainly in response to changes in the British Monarchy but the designs continued to reflect our economic development. Read details »

The Reserve Bank and Reform of the Currency

The Reserve Bank and Reform of the Currency: 1960–1988

The Reserve Bank was established and decimal currency introduced. A distinctively Australian series of banknotes was issued which captured Australia's emerging cultural diversity and its contribution to the world. Read details »

Polymer Currency Notes

Introducing Polymer Banknotes: 1988

Australia's banknotes were transformed during the 1980s. They were made using an innovative polymer (or 'plastic') base and were substantially redesigned. Read details »

Polymer Currency Notes

A Complete Series of Polymer Notes

The trial of the polymer note technology following the bicentennial commemorative banknote was judged a great success. A complete series of polymer banknotes from $5 to $100 was issued between 1992 and 1996. Read details »

A Guide to Dollar Bill

A Guide to Dollar Bill

The introduction of decimal currency required the education of a nation. An animated character Dollar Bill assisted Australians with the transition from pounds, shillings and pence to dollars and cents. Read details »

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