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Reserve Bank of Australia Reveals Next $100 Design

(Above) The newly-designed $100 bank note from the Reserve Bank of Australia and (below) the old design. (All images courtesy Reserve Bank of Australia)

On Feb. 24, The Reserve Bank of Australia revealed the design of the new $100 bank note, which is the final denomination to be redesigned as part of the Next Generation Banknote Program. The banknote will be released into circulation in the second half of 2020.

As with the existing banknote, the new $100 features Sir John Monash and Dame Nellie Melba.

Governor Philip Lowe said, “Australians should feel proud of our bank notes. They are innovative and contain world-leading security features that keep the bank notes secure. The new $100 bank note celebrates the contributions that two outstanding Australians – Sir John Monash and Dame Nellie Melba – made to our society.”

Sir John Monash was an engineer, soldier, and civic leader. He was a significant figure in the building-construction industry. Monash is also widely recognized for his service as a commander in the First World War. He led the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during its successful campaigns in 1918 and subsequently managed the repatriation of Australian soldiers and presided over the AIF Education Scheme, which assisted with their transition to civilian life. Monash was instrumental in building the Shrine of Remembrance – which features on the bank note – in his hometown of Melbourne. He also served as the vice-chancellor of Melbourne University from 1923 to 1931.

Dame Nellie Melba was an internationally renowned soprano who performed in Australia, Europe and the United States of America in the late 19th and early 20th century. The banknote includes an image of Melba in costume as Rosina in Rossini’s Barber of Seville and the monogram from the cover of her homecoming concert tour program of 1902. In addition to performing, Melba made important contributions to the arts through teaching at the Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music, now the Melba Opera Trust, in her home town of Melbourne. She also published the Melba Method (1926), an educational resource for singers.

As with the previously released denominations, the new bank note includes representations of Australian flora and fauna. The $100 features the Australian Masked Owl (Tyto novaehollandiae) and Australia’s national floral emblem, the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha), which is native to south-eastern Australia and southern inland areas of New South Wales. The wattle frames the edges of the top-to-bottom window on the bank note, which features a number of dynamic security elements such as the flying owl, and a reversing number ‘100’.

All of the bank notes in the Next Generation Banknote Program have a ‘tactile’ feature to help people who are blind or who have low vision to distinguish between different denominations. There are five raised bumps on each of the long edges of the new $100 bank note.

The Reserve Bank continues to work closely with bank note equipment manufacturers and retailers to help them prepare banknote accepting and dispensing machines to handle the new $100 bank note. This has included the early distribution of bank notes to allow manufacturers and owners of these machines to update their equipment. The design was released Feb. 24 to facilitate this ongoing work with the industry as well as staff training to ensure a smooth transition when the bank notes are released later this year.

Existing $100 banknotes remain legal tender and can continue to be used.

Full details of the design and security features on the new $100 bank note, and other denominations, are available on the Bank’s website at banknotes.rba.gov.au.

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