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POCKET GUIDE TO AUSTRALIAN BANKNOTES 4 The Reinvention of BanknotesTHE AUSTRALIAN INNOVATION OF POLYMER BANKNOTES

The Rise of Talent

Dame Nellie Melba and Sir John Monash, were united on the $100 banknote, designed by Note Printing Australia's Bruce Stewart. Both identities received international recognition: Nellie Melba as an acclaimed soprano, and John Monash as the commander of the Australian Corps during the First World War.

Nellie Melba appeared in the major opera houses of Europe and North America and reigned as the prima donna of Royal Covent Garden, London. In 1902, Melba returned to Australia for the first time since her European success and was given an overwhelming reception. The interior of Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, is shown on the banknote with a detail from Melba's Australian and New Zealand concert tour program, including her monogram. She was in Australia at the outbreak of the First World War and remained based in the country for its duration, except for concert tours of North America. During this period, her performances and charitable work raised as much as £100 000 for the war effort.

Keyline drawing of the interior of Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, for the $100 banknote.

Reserve Bank of Australia Archives, P12/211.

Preliminary design by Bruce Stewart of the $100 banknote.

Reserve Bank of Australia Archives, NP-004228, NP-004229.

Preliminary design by Bruce Stewart of the $100 banknote.

Reserve Bank of Australia Archives, NP-004228, NP-004229.

As a civil engineer prior to the war, John Monash introduced the use of reinforced concrete into Victoria while also serving as a citizen soldier. With the outbreak of the First World War, he became a full-time army officer, and his promotions continued until he was given command of the Australian Corps. From May 1918, Monash led a sequence of attacks that succeeded in breaking Germany's Hindenburg Line, its strongest defence on the Western Front. A scene of the Australian field artillery attacking the Hindenburg Line is represented on the banknote to the right of Monash's portrait. Private John Simpson is portrayed with the donkey used to transport the wounded during the battles of Gallipoli. Above the image of Simpson is the badge of the Rising Sun, worn by the Australian Imperial Force.

Monash became the Director-General of Repatriation and Demobilisation and oversaw the demanding task of returning 160,000 Australian troops home within eight months. He continued his leadership in the civic sphere with roles that included Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, chairman of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria and as an expert proponent for the creation of the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne.


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