Initially, the First Fleet in 1788 brought British currency with them, but the British Government considered the Australian Colonies as little more than an outdoor prison, and currency was not a major priority. Adding to the problem, Britain had major problems producing sufficient coins for its own use due to the ravages of years of war. Commodities such as wheat were sometimes used as a currency because of the shortage of coins.
Coins from other countries such as the Netherlands, Spain and it's Colonies, Portugal and India were used and ascribed values in keeping with the British currency. These were known as Proclamation Coins.
The “Holey Dollar” came from this period when Lachlan Macquarie arrived in Sydney Cove with Spanish Dollars. These had the centre punched out. The “Holey Dollar” was worth 5 Shillings and the “Dump” (the centre) was worth 15 Pence.
In the rough early conditions barter was necessary, and payment in commodities like rum sometimes replaced money in transactions. Some of the first official notes used in Australia were Police Fund Notes, issued by the Bank of New South Wales in 1816.
Around 1855, the Sydney Mint was established as an antipodean branch of the Royal Mint. Due to the many gold rushes around the Australian Colonies at the time, the Sydney Mint, and later the Melbourne Mint were able to produce gold coins for Britain and a range of coins for the Colonies as well. Many businesses also produced their own “Tokens” for use by customers within the business.
After Federation in 1901, when Australia became an independent nation, the Australian Federal Government became responsible for the currency. The Australian Notes Act was passed in 1910. In 1910 and 1911, the full range of coins was issued. In 1913 and 1914, the first series of Australian bank notes was issued. The currency was based on the old British system of 12 Pence to a Shilling, 20 Shillings to a Pound. The Australian Pound was at parity with the British Pound. For nine years after federation had welded the colonies into a nation, Australia continued to exclusively use British coinage. Finally, in 1910, the first distinctive Australian Commonwealth coins, struck at the Royal Mint in London, were introduced.
So prior to 1901 all coins were identical to British coins, after 1901 the monarch of Britain was still portrayed on the coin very much identical to British coins but the Australian coins differ from the British coin instead bearing the coat of arms of Australia or an aspect of Australia.
In 1913 the first national banknotes were introduced in denominations of 10 shillings, 1, 5, and 10 pounds. 1914 saw the introduction of 20, 50, 100, and 1000 pound notes. The 1000 pound note only saw limited circulation and was later confined to inter-bank use.
Note: with pre-decimal and decimal there are various temporary issues coins and notes not mentioned here such as crowns, square shaped pennies…