It’s a cash decision. British sovereigns will disappear from banknotes in Australia, the Central Bank announced on Thursday February 2. Instead of the effigy of Charles III, the portrait of Elizabeth II will be replaced by a design honoring indigenous culture on the new five-dollar bills.
The Central Bank said its decision was backed by the centre-left Labor government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, which favors a possible move towards an Australian Republic.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has clarified that indigenous people will be consulted on a new design in honor “early Australians”. The design and printing of the new banknote will take “a number of years”, she clarified. Banknotes bearing the likeness of the late Queen already in circulation will continue to be legal tender.
A banknote unchanged for more than 30 years
British sovereigns have appeared on Australian banknotes since 1923. Until 1953, the year of the coronation of Elizabeth II, they were even present on all denominations. The Queen’s face first adorned the pound note and then the dollar note from 1966. Since 1992, Australians have been able to admire the Queen’s features on the polymer $5 note.
The death of Elizabeth II, on September 8, was marked by a day of national mourning in Australia, a member country of the Commonwealth which officially has King Charles III as head of state, represented by a governor general. But some indigenous groups had denounced the destructive consequences of British colonization, calling for the abolition of the monarchy.