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Fred Hollows could be the new face on the $5 note

Photo: Supplied.

The Fred Hollows Foundation is calling for former Australian of the Year, Fred Hollows, to be the new face on the $5 note in Australia.

The campaign, “Put Fred on the Fiver”, was launched today with the backing of former prime minister of Australia, Bob Hawke, Cathy Freeman and television personality Ray Martin. It coincides with the 25th anniversary since Hollows was awarded Australian of the Year in 1990.

During his lifetime, five dollars was the price of a sight-saving intraocular lens which is why Hollows famously “asked Australians to donate $5 towards his work”, according to the Fred Hollows Foundation CEO Brian Doolan.

The Australian $5 note — which currently has a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and a sprig of eucalyptus — is the only note without an Australian pictured on it.

“The images on notes at the moment are all of great Australians, most of whom did wonderful things in Australia, some of whom had an international career,” Doolan told the ABC.

The current design hasn’t been changed since it first appeared on the $5 polymer banknote on July 7 in 1992.

“We’d be suggesting that we put Fred on the side that currently has a picture of the Old Parliament House and the new Parliament House.”

The New Zealand-born ophthalmologist was first exposed to the low standards of eye health in rural Australia among indigenous Australians during his time in camps in the Northern Territory.

Since then, he traveled to Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka and other developing countries and eventually developed affordable intraocular lenses costing $5 to treat cataracts despite having a previous market cost of around $150.

The foundation was established in 1992 and currently operates in 25 countries helping to restore eyesight to over 2 million people.

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