After conducting individual and group research and visiting the Museum of Australian Currency itself, several conclusions can be made in regards to not only who Australia chose to depict on their currency, but the significance of the individuals as well.
One noticeable difference between United States currency and Australian currency is that, rather than presidential figures, many of the people on Australian currency are people who were influential in the artistic realm. Not only that, but, unlike the United States currency, Australians place women on the currency, such as Queen Elizabeth (1952 until present) who is on all of the Australian coins due to her influence as a queen, as well as writer and feminist, Catherine Spence (2001 until present) on the five dollar bill. Furthermore, Andrew Banjo Paterson appeared on the ten dollar bill in November of 1993 and was an acclaimed poet, journalist, war correspondent, and soldier.
As opposed to the United States, Australians have a notably different history, due to the fact that the continent’s history is largely convict-based. This history of convicts being among the first creators of Australian society and the fact that many of these convicts rose up to become some of the most influential people of Australia is largely evident in Australian currency. For instance, former convict Mary Reiby is on the face of the twenty dollar bill (from 1994 until present) and is notorious for running away, stealing a horse, and being disguised as a boy going under the name of James Burrow. Later, Mary Reiby and her husband Thomas Reiby built a farmhouse called Reibycroft (now listed on the Register of the National Estate).
After visiting the Museum of Australian Currency, I was surprised to learn about the different methods that Australians use to produce their money (for example, their money is plastic and does not crumple in the rain as does United States’ currency). I also took it to heart that the Australians seem to prioritize art and artists in comparison to the United States who solely use presidential figures as the faces on our currency. Moreover, I appreciate how Australian coins can actually be worth one or two dollars each, as opposed to ten or fifty cents. This proves as very useful when making small purchases, instead of digging out twenty or fifty dollar bills.
Australia is continuing to pleasantly surprise me and I look forward to everything else that this continent has to teach me!
Until next time,
The Caro Chronicles