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The Pen

Three-dimensional image of a pen nib from the $10 banknote.

The $10 banknote acknowledges the literature of Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson and Dame Mary Gilmore with the image of a pen nib appearing in the top-to-bottom and small windows.

Banjo Paterson's first collection of verse was published under the title The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses in 1895. The book received widespread popular attention and was quickly reprinted. The first stanzas of The Man from Snowy River are reproduced in microprint on the banknote, complemented by the image of a horseman. Like his depiction on the $10 banknote of the New Note Series (1993), Paterson's portrait is based on a poster advertising his lectures on the Boer War in South Africa, where he had worked as a newspaper correspondent.

The portrait of Mary Gilmore is also based on the same photograph used in the previous series; however, the new version has increased clarity and her familiar name of Jeanie is legible in her brooch. A humble bush hut is shown behind her portrait, and Gilmore's writing often championed the causes of the disadvantaged. From 1908 until 1931 she edited the women's page of The Australian Worker and promoted reforms for social justice through the publications.

Excerpts from Mary Gilmore's poem, No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest, are reproduced in microprint on this side of the banknote. Originally published in The Australian Women's Weekly, the poem reached a broad audience and rallied Australians' morale at a time when they were threatened by invasion. In a background image, the poet is depicted in her small King's Cross flat. She was living here when the Japanese midget submarines entered Sydney Harbour in May 1942 and she wrote of the attack in her diary the following day, ‘I thought of the dead all day – both sides; for all mothers are mothers and the dead men are women's sons.’ 1

An interpretation of Bramble Wattle (Acacia victoriae) and the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) appear on the banknote.

Dame Mary Gilmore in her King's Cross flat, Sydney, 1952.

State Library of Victoria.


1. Mary Gilmore, diary entry, 1 June 1942, from the collection of her papers, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, A3254.

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