Exhibition theme – 50 years of Decimal Currency

14th February, 1966

In 1963 the Australian Government announced it would introduce Decimal Currency to replace the existing system of pounds, shillings and pence. Coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. Notes were issued in values of $1, $2, $10 and $20. These notes had exact equivalents in the former pound banknotes. The $5 note was issued in 1967, after the public had become familiar with decimal currency. The $50 note was introduced in 1973 and the $100 note in 1984 due to the impact of inflation, which also eventually led to the replacement of the $1 and $2 notes by coins of these denominations, and the retirement of the 1c and 2c coins.

Decimal Stamp Issues

New decimal stamps were issued to Post Offices on 7/2/66 and all previous issues were withdrawn on 12/2/66. On Monday 14th February the new decimal stamps were available. All £-s-d stamps including the old State stamp issues were valid for postal use for a further two years, until 13/2/68. New recess-printed low values depicting Queen Elizabeth II, of 1c, 2c, 3c and 4c, were issued, plus similar 3c and 4c coil stamps in photogravure. Policy of the time dictated that the basic letter rate definitive should depict the monarch, so the 4c was replaced by 5c, 6c and ultimately 7c values over 1967-71 as this rate increased. Five of the photogravure “Birds” series were re-issued in their equivalent decimal values of 5c, 15c, 20c, 25c and 30c, as were the recess-printed “Navigators” of 40c, 50c,  75c, $1, $2 and $4. Where an exact £-s-d value was not current as at 12/2/1966, new designs, all in photogravure, were introduced: – three “Birds” of 6c, 13c and 24c, plus four “Marine Life” designs of 7c, 8c, 9c and 10c.