Australian dollar

The Australian dollar (currency code AUD) is the official currency of the Commonwealth of Australia, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Norfolk Island and Tuvalu.

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 Monetary History
3 Banknotes
4 Issues of Currency
5 External Links
6 See Also

Overview

Each Australian Dollar is composed of 100 cents. The smallest coin in current circulation is equal to five cents, the one and two cent coins having been discontinued and withdrawn from circulation.

The Australian dollar was introduced in February 14, 1966, not only replacing the Australian pound (long since distinct from the pound sterling) but also introducing a decimal system. The Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies wished to name the currency "the Royal", and other names such as "the Austral" and "the Koala" were also proposed.

Monetary History

In 1966 following the introduction of the Australian Dollar the value of the national currency continued to be managed in accord with the Bretton Woods gold standard as it had been since 1954. Essentially the value of the Australian Dollar was managed with reference to gold, although in practice the US dollar was used.

In 1971 the US government discontinued the practice of managing the value of the US dollar with relation to gold and from this point onward Australia slowly loosened its usage of US dollar as a means of measuring value. However for more than a decade it continued to peg to the US dollar using a moving peg.

In 1983 the Australian government "floated" the Australian dollar, meaning that it no longer managed its value by reference to the US dollar or any other foreign currency. Today the value of the Australian Dollar is managed with almost exclusive reference to domestic measures of value such as the CPI (Consumer Price Index).

In 2002, the value of one Australian dollar went below a value of 50 US cents. As of October 2003, the Australian dollar is worth about 70 US cents.

{note that a higher CPI figure indicates a reduction of value for the Australian Dollar}

Banknotes

Since the 1980s, Australian banknotes are made of plastic, specifically polypropylene. These have a transparent 'window' with a holographic image as a security feature. The first of these notes was experimental $10 note showing Aboriginal scenes. Australian currency was the first in the world to use such features in currency. Prior to this, the currency was produced in paper.

All Australian notes are issued by the Reserve Bank of Australia. Australian coins are produced by the Royal Australian Mint.

Issues of Currency

There have been two basic issues of currency. The first paper issues of Australian dollars, issued in 1966, featured the following persons:

The plastic dollar bills and coins that became effective throughout the 1980s and 1990s and are currently in use are as follows:

  • One dollar (first issued 1984)- a coin featuring five kangaroos and Elizabeth II
  • Two dollars - a coin featuring an Aboriginal elder and Elizabeth II
  • Five dollars - Sir Henry Parkes (front); Catherine Helen Spence (reverse) This controversial issue emerged in 2001 and has supplanted another banknote, first issued in 1992, also still in use, which features Elizabeth II on the front and Parliament House in the reverse side
  • Ten dollars (issued 1993)- Banjo Patterson (front); Dame Mary Gilmore (reverse)
  • Twenty dollars (issued 1994)- Mary Reibey (front); John Flynn (reverse)
  • Fifty dollars (issued 1995)- David Unaipon (front); Edith Cowan (reverse)
  • Hundred Dollars (issued 1996) - Dame Nellie Melba (front); Sir John Monash (reverse)

The fractional coinage features the monarch on the obverse side, and Australian native animals on the reverse:

  • Five cent - smallest "silver" coin featuring an echidna
  • Ten cent - a lyrebird (a native bird)
  • Twenty cent - the platypus
  • Fifty cent - a kangaroo and an emu holding the Australian coat of arms. This large coin is dodecagonal (twelve-sided) cupro-nickel, it replaced a round silver 50 cent coin which, soon after issue, became far more valuable for its silver content than as a unit of currency.

Copper one cent and two cent coins were abolished in 1991.

External Links

See Also


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