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Microprinting

Did you know Australia’s banknotes have areas of text unreadable to most human vision? The process in which this small text is applied is called microprinting. The text is approximately 0.25mm in height and can only be read with the help of a magnifying glass! The reason for its inclusion on our banknotes is for anti-counterfeiting purposes, as it is not easily reproduced by popular digital methods. The microprint not only keeps Australia’s banknotes safe but also tells us more about the people on our banknotes and Australia’s history.

Select one of the images below to learn the stories of the people on our banknotes and the histories that have helped shape the Australia we see today.

  • Parliament house of Australia

  • Portrait of AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson

  • Portrait of Dame Mary Gilmore

  • Portrait of Mary Reibey

  • Portrait of Reverend John Flynn

  • Portrait of David Unaipon

  • Portrait of Edith Cowan

  • Portrait of Dame Nellie Melba

  • Portrait of Sir John Monash

Australia’s Parliament$5 Banknote

$5 banknote Microprint of $5 banknote

Our $5 banknote acknowledges Australia’s system of government, which is based on the Westminster System. Our government comprises: a head of state, currently Queen Elizabeth II; an elected parliament made up of two houses – the House of Representatives and the Senate; a governing political party or coalition; and a Prime Minister, who is the leader of the government. In 1901, the first federal Parliament met in Melbourne at the Victorian Parliament House, before moving to Old Parliament House (as it is now known) in Canberra in 1927. The current federal Parliament meets at Parliament House in Canberra, which opened in 1988 and is the building depicted on the $5 note.

Listen to the microprint excerpt from the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act. This is the legislation that describes the workings and powers of the Parliament.