The Australian twenty dollar banknote was issued when the currency was changed from the Australian pound to the Australian dollar on 14 February 1966. It replaced the £10 note which had the same orange colouration. There have been only two different issues of this denomination: a paper note which had a gradient of yellow and red, with a distinct orange background, and a polymer note which can be recognised for its distinct red-orange colouration. It is because of this vivid colour that the current note is often called a “lobster”. The polymer note was issued in 1994.
According to Reserve Bank statistics, at the end of June 2007 there was a net value of $2,846 million in $20 notes in circulation representing 7.1% of the cash value of all issued notes. Actual banknotes in circulation account for 15.8% of all denominations, or 142.3 million banknotes.
Since the start of issuance there have been 14 signature combinations, of which the 1967 issue is of the greatest value, issued for one year only; and the 1989 Pillip/Fraser being issued for less than a year.
From 1966-1974 the main title identifying the country was Commonwealth of Australia, there were 146,960,000 notes issued in its life. This was subsequently changed to Australia until the end of the issuance of paper currency for this denomination in 1994 with 1,661,970,048 of these notes being issued.
The polymer note features Mary Reibey on the obverse with an early colonial building and sailing ship including her signature. John Flynn is on the reverse with features of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia of a biplane de Havilland DH 50 victory supplied by Qantas, medical instruments, Coledge Harland (the man on the camel), who was a missionary to the inland people of Australia. His signature is included. A compass is in the clear window with the raised 20 lettering. These famous people are depicted against a definite red background.
Colouration is said to be red but has been debated many times over the years, some people claim it is of orange pigmentation. Official documentation states that the colour of the twenty dollar note is red. This polymer note is occasionally colloquially referred to as a “Red Back” after the Australian spider species of the same name.
AUSTRALIAN BANKNOTE SUBLIMINALS
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in these banknotes:
First Published: Aug 6, 2012 – Last Updated: Jan 14, 2013