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Australian Money

Obverse and Reverse of Australian bank notesObverse and Reverse of Australian bank notesBank notes come in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 and the first thing that will strike you are the bright bright colours. When I first saw Australian bank notes I immediately thought of toy money from the game Monopoly. The second thing will only happen when you actually touch a bank note. Unlike Euros or US Dollars, Australian bank notes are not made from paper but from a special polymer (plastic). Originally introduced because it made the bank notes extremely hard to counterfeit, Australians have quickly come to like the new material because it is more durable than paper and water resistant. If you go to the beach or get soaked in the pouring rains of the tropical top end's wet season, you never need to worry about your bank notes. Great, isn't it?


Many countries have by now adopted the polymer technology for bank notes and I cannot wait for Euros to come in polymer technology as well. The third thing is something you would probably not even realise if you had not been told. The height of all Australian bank notes is always the same but the width increases with value, making the $5 note the smallest and the $100 note the largest one.

I am not going to take you through all of the celebrities depicted on the various bank notes but limit this to the two that are most likely to have at least some meaning to non-Australians:

On the obverse of the $10 note is a picture of Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson, the author of Australia's most famous song, Waltzing Matilda and on the reverse of the $20 note is a picture of John Flynn, the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Australian CoinsAustralian CoinsCoins come in denominations of 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 Dollar and 2 Dollars with the 1 and 2 dollar coins being gold-coloured and the other coins silver-coloured. The 50 cents coin is one of the largest in the world and is not round like the other coins but has 12 sides (Dodecagon). As you might have noticed, there are no 1 or 2 cent coins but in shops you see prices like $9.49. So, how does this work?

The rule is actually quite simple. Individual prices are added up as usual and in the end the sum is simply rounded to the closest 5 cents. 1 and 2 cents are rounded down as are 6 cents and 7 cents. 3 and 4 are rounded up as are 8 cents and 9 cents. If the bill is $1.98, $1.99, $2.01 or $2.02 you always end up paying $2. This is of course only true for cash transactions. If you use electronic payment forms like EFTPOS or credit cards, you will end up paying the exact amount.

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