The Reserve Bank of Australia will feature the native wattle as the new design of the five dollar note. It will be introduced on September 1, the National Wattle Day.
SBS News reports that this is the first of the nation’s next generation of banknotes. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens said the new AUD$5 will have new security features. Different species of Australian wattle will also be portrayed on each denomination.
The banknotes, however, will have the same colour, size, and displayed people on each denomination. “The public will recognise the new banknotes,” Stevens assures. “The new series will also include a ‘tactile’ feature to help the vision-impaired community distinguish between different denominations of banknotes,” Stevens added.
There were controversial petitions on who should be the persons included in the $5 dollar note. High-profile people such as former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, Olympian Cathy Freeman and Dr. Fred Hollow’s widow launched a petition to put the face of eye surgeon Fred Hollows on the currency. They started the “Get Fred on the Fiver” campaign. Dr. Hollows’s foundation has been instrumental in restoring the sight of more than two million people worldwide.
Golden Wattle: The National Flower
According to The Wattle Day Association, the plant played vital roles in Australia’s history. Its first known use dates back in 1838 when the natives are encouraged to wear silver wattle sprigs on the anniversary of the 17th century European discovery of the country. As decades passed, wattle species became objects of furniture and symbols of nationalism. The first ‘national’ Wattle Day was celebrated in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide on September 1, 1910.
The Wattle Day Association was founded to continue the legacy of celebrating the Wattle Day and to “promote a new Wattle Day oriented towards the future, encompassing positive virtues in the celebration of Australia and the Australian spirit.”
“While appreciating the history of the day, we can adapt [wattle’s] rich symbolism to the great issues Australia faces as a nation still seeking to find its place in the world and as a community-minded people within a global economy,” the organization further adds.
The $5 dollar bank note release in September marks Australia’s 50th anniversary in currency conversion from pounds shillings and pence to dollars and cents.