The design for Australia’s new $50 banknote has been revealed and the update has kept the two famous faces that graced the old note.
David Unaipon and Edith Cowan feature again on the $50 note, which goes into circulation in October this year, with the portraits of the late Aboriginal writer and inventor, and the country’s first female MP, both refreshed alongside excerpts from Unaipon’s book and Cowan’s maiden parliamentary speech.
Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said the new design features improved security and ease of recognition, following on from the release of new $5 and $10 notes over the past two years.
A three-dimensional open book with colourful lines features at the top and can be seen if you tilt the note. There’s a black swan and wattle in fluorescent ink that become visible under UV light.
“David Unaipon and Edith Cowan were campaigners for social change and we are proud to continue featuring them on the $50 banknote. The new banknote provides the opportunity to tell more of the rich story behind these distinguished Australians,” he said.
Their stories are told in several design elements, including shields from Unaipon’s Ngarrindjeri nation and the practices of miwi and navel cord exchange about which Unaipon wrote.
The note also includes a picture of the gumnut brooch Cowan had made to symbolise that entry into Parliament was a ‘hard nut to crack’ for women, and the King Edward Memorial Hospital, a women’s and maternity hospital that she helped establish.
As with the $5 and $10, the new note includes representations of a wattle and a native bird. The $50 features Acacia humifusa and a Black Swan (Cygnus atratus), Unaipon’s ngaitji, or totem, and the bird of Cowan’s home state of Western Australia.
The RBA says its working with retailers to help them prepare ATMs and other banknote authenticating machines to handle the new note, including trials and the early distribution of test notes.
Existing $50 banknotes can continue to be used.
The RBA expect to announce an upgrade for the $20 note around this time of the year in 2019.
If you want to check out all the security features on the $50, the RBA has the details in an interactive online feature here.
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