50 YEARS OF DECIMAL CURRENCY COMMEMORATED BY AUSTRALIA POST

50 YEARS OF DECIMAL CURRENCY COMMEMORATED BY AUSTRALIA POST

Australia Post marks the 50th anniversary of decimal currency in Australia with a new stamp.

The circulation of new currency, beginning on 14 February 1966, signified the successful completion of one of the most challenging reforms Australia had ever seen.

Demanding intense manufacturing and preparation, the replacement of pounds, shillings and pence required huge mobilisation across private and public sectors, with readjustments to transactions, advertising, postage and banking as well as intense education campaigns.

“Not only did the general public have to be educated on the changes,” said Australia Post Philatelic Manager Michael Zsolt, “but retailers and bank staff had to be trained to make conversions, update their signage and help customers”

Involving the input of some of Australia’s most brilliant minds, renowned Sydney-based designer Gordon Andrews (1914–2001) created the boldly coloured banknotes that depict a diverse and inclusive Australia.

“The bank notes were ground-breaking for a number of reasons. First, they featured Aboriginal culture, architecture, the arts, science, industry and native fauna. Second, the $5 note featured a woman other than the Queen for the first time ever – Caroline Chisholm,” Mr Zsolt said.

Gold and silversmith Stuart Devlin (1931–) designed Australia’s new coins, sculpting depictions of Australian fauna across the 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, and 20c coins, and the Australian coat of arms on the 50c coin.

Celebrating the effort and success of the introduction of decimal currency, Australia Post commissioned Melbourne-based Melinda Coombes of Coombes Whitechurch Design to create a new design for the $1 stamp.

“The stamp illustrates the change that our currency underwent with the layering of a pre-decimal £1 note with the decimal $1 note and $1 coin – the $1 coin replacing the note in 1984”, said Mr Zsolt.

The products in the stamp issue are a:

  • first day cover
  • sheetlet pack
  • sheetlet of 10 x $1 stamps
  • prestige booklet
  • two postal and numismatic covers, and
  • maxicard

The Decimal Currency 1966–2016 stamp issue is available from 9 February 2016 at participating Post Offices, via mail order on 1800 331 794 and online at auspost.com.au/stamps while stocks last.

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