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What type of currency did Australia have before 1966?

Before 1850:

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.

Before 1901:

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.

Before 1966:

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.

Pre-decimal 1910 - 1966


  • Third Farthing (Australia did not issue)
  • Farthing (a farthing is a quarter penny or a half half penny) (Australia did not issue)
  • Halfpenny 19011-1966
  • Penny 19011-1966
  • Silver Penny (Australia did not issue)
  • Silver Twopence (Australia did not issue)
  • Silver Threepence 1910-1966
  • Silver Fourpence (Australia did not issue)
  • Sixpence 1910-1966
  • Shilling 1910-1966
  • Florin 1910-1966
  • Halfcrown (Australia did not issue)
  • Crown (Australia did not issue)
  • Half Sovereign (Australia did not issue)
  • Sovereign (Australia did not issue)


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.

  • 10 Shilling 1913 - 1966
  • One Pounds 1913 - 1966
  • Five Pounds 1913 - 1966
  • Ten Pounds 1913 - 1966
  • Twenty Pounds 1913 - 1966
  • Fifty Pounds 1913 - 1966
  • One Hundred Pounds 1913 - 1966
  • One Thousand Pounds 1913 - 1966

Decimal 1966 - Present


  • One cent 1966 - 1984
  • Two cent 1966 - 1984
  • Five cent 1966 - present
  • Ten cent 1966 - present
  • Twenty Cent 1966 - present
  • Fifty Cent 1966 - present
  • One Dollar 1966 - present (note became coin in 1984)
  • Two Dollar 1966 - present (note became coin in 1984)


  • Five Dollar 1966 - present
  • Ten Dollar 1966 - present
  • Twenty Dollar 1966 - present
  • Fifty Dollar 1966 - present
  • One Hundred Dollar 1966 - present

Note: with pre-decimal and decimal there are various temporary issues coins and notes not mentioned here such as crowns, square shaped pennies…

what_type_of_currency_did_australia_have_before_1966.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/17 21:05 (external edit)