The Reserve Bank of Australia has unveiled (22nd February) the fourth banknote which has undergone a re-design in addition to an update of its security features. The new $20 banknote continues to celebrate the lives of two outstanding Australians whose personal stories are told through the images that have been incorporated onto the banknote’s design. The selection of these prominent Australians also provides a rich narrative and an eventful history about their lives in Australia.
Australia became the first country in the world to develop, innovate, and circulate an entire series of polymer banknote denominations in 1996. The transition from paper notes was made after the world’s first banknote, a commemorative issue, was released in 1988 in celebration of the bicentenary of the first European permanent settlement of Australia. The same innovative security features from the previously released $5, $10, and $50 banknotes have been incorporated to ensure increased technology is applied to the new notes, which secures them from easy counterfeiting.
The redesigned $20 note retains the same orange
Face — Mary Reibey (1777–1855) arrived in Australia as a 15-year-old convict in 1792, and rose to become a landowner, merchant, and trader. She arrived in Sydney aboard the Royal Admiral in October 1792, and by 1820, she was said to be worth about £20,000 — a staggering amount of wealth at the time — and held 1,000 acres. She died on the 30th May
An image of a Port Jackson schooner in Sydney Cove in the early 1800s, similar to the type owned by Mary Reibey, is also included on the face design. Beside it is a traditional Eora nowie (canoe). Aboriginal women fishing from these vessels were a common sight on the harbour in Reibey’s time.
Back — John Flynn (1880–1951) founded the Australian Inland Mission, which later became Frontier Services. Flynn wrote The Bushman’s Companion, which was a small volume of useful information first published in 1910 and was composed for the benefit of outback residents and contained sections on first aid, bible readings, funeral services, and a calendar. Australia’s first flight of the Aerial Medical Service took place in 1928 from Cloncurry in Queensland. Today, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) remains the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical emergency and healthcare service in the world.
On the back and to the left of Flynn’s portrait is an image of an RFDS De Havilland aircraft leaving a remote Broken Hill homestead in 1948. A pedal-powered transceiver used by the service to improve communication in remote areas is seen to the far lower right.
Tactile application: Ease of recognition was an important characteristic when re-designing the new $20 banknote with the addition of “tactile” features being included. This added feature is designed to help people who are visually impaired to distinguish between different denominations of banknotes. On the $20 banknote,
Vertical transparent window: The new design also features a clear window that contains dynamic elements, including a flying kookaburra that moves its wings and changes
The Reserve Bank of Australia has announced that the new $20 banknotes are scheduled to be released in October, with existing $20 banknotes remaining legal tender as all previously issued RBA banknotes. A new $100 banknote within this new upgraded series is expected to be issued next year. For additional information about this banknote and others issued by the Reserve Bank of Australia, please visit their website.