header Notes Collection

50 Dollars 2018, Australia

no number in katalog -
Years of issue: 18.10.2018
Edition: 46 000 000 (with mistake)
Signatures: Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia: Mr. Philip Lowe, Secretary to the Treasury: Mr. John Fraser (in office from 15 January 2015 till 31 July 2018)
Serie: Polymer Serie
Specimen of: 14.02.2018
Material: Polymer
Size (mm): 151 x 65
Printer: Note Printing Australia, Craigieburn, Melbourne

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

50 Dollars 2018



In a transparent strip, from top to bottom:


Opened book (it is also in the transparent window below, on the left - in the photo of the watermark) and denominations 50.

Cygnus atratus

National bird of Western Australia.

The black swan (Cygnus atratus, also in top left corner - on watermarks photo) is a large waterbird, a species of swan which breeds mainly in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia. Within Australia they are nomadic, with erratic migration patterns dependent upon climatic conditions. Black swans are large birds with mostly black plumage and red bills. They are monogamous breeders, with both partners sharing incubation and cygnet rearing duties.

Black swans were introduced to various countries as an ornamental bird in the 1800s, but have escaped and formed stable populations. A small population of black swans exists on the River Thames at Marlow, on the Brook running through the small town of Dawlish in Devon (they have become the symbol of the town), near the River Itchen, Hampshire, and the River Tees near Stockton on Tees. Described scientifically by English naturalist John Latham in 1790, the black swan was formerly placed into a monotypic genus, Chenopis. Black swans can be found singly, or in loose companies numbering into the hundreds or even thousands. Black swans are popular birds in zoological gardens and bird collections, and escapees are sometimes seen outside their natural range.

Acacia humifusa

Acacia humifusa (they are, also, in the transparent window below, on the left - in the photo of the watermark).

Acacia humifusa A.Cunn. ex Benth., London J. Bot . (1842).

Spreading, sometimes almost prostrate, resinous shrub to 3 m. high, to 6 m. wide. Bark fissured or rarely smooth, grey or brownish grey. Branchlets terete, light fawn to dark brown, velvety, tomentose or hirsute. Phyllodes asymmetrical, obliquely ovate-rhomboid to suborbicular, 4-8 cm. long, 20-60 mm. wide, sometimes with a setose point at apex, coriaceous, tomentose mainly along nerves and margins, with 3 or sometimes 4 prominent, curved nerves joining the upper margin at different, slightly indented points, the lowest nerve concurrent with lower margin for several mm and terminating at or just below apiculate phyllode apex, the minor nerves strongly reticulate; gland 1, basal, prominent. Spikes 1-3 cm. long, golden. Flowers 5- or 6-merous; calyx 0.7-2 mm. long, dissected to 1/3-1/2, hirsute, sometimes glabrous near base; ovary densely pubescent. Pods linear, slightly constricted between and raised over seeds, often curved, 3.7-7.5 cm. long, 3-5 mm. wide, crustaceous, velvety-hairy, breaking into 1-seeded portions. Seeds longitudinal, broadly oblong-to narrowly oblong-elliptic, 4.3-6 cm. long, blackish brown; areole open, elongate, depressed.

Occurs in the Kimberleys, W.A., on the offshore islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria and on the N.T. mainland N of 16S, also from Cape York to Cape Cleveland, Qld, along the east coast and offshore islands, Qld. Grows in sand, in heath, low Acacia woodland and along the sea shore, on hillsides or above gorges on shallow rocky soil in eucalypt woodland, in sandstone, granite or quartzite. Flowers Feb. - Sept. (

mission church Point McLeay mission church Point McLeay

At the bottom is the mission church at Point McLeay as it was in the late XIX century. Point McLeay (the Aboriginal name is Raukkan) is the community where David Unaipon's people live.

The Church was staying under the canopy of tall trees, and two people - a man and a woman - how to meet us halfway. These are James Ngunaytponi and his wife, Nimbilda (parents of David Unaypon), natives of the tribe Ngarrindzheri. James was the first of his tribe converted to Christianity and became a preacher-evangelist. Here, in the Christian mission Point McLeay, in September 1872, was born David Unaypon.


50 Dollars 2018

David Unaipon

The engraving on banknote is made after this photo of David Unaipon, 1938.

David Unaipon (born David Ngunaitponi) (28 September 1872 - 7 February 1967) was a well-known Indigenous Australian of the Ngarrindjeri people, a preacher, inventor and writer. Unaipon's contribution to Australian society helped to break many Indigenous Australian stereotype about aboriginals.

He was born on 28 September 1872 at the Point McLeay Mission, South Australia, fourth of nine children of James Ngunaitponi, evangelist, and his wife Nymbulda, both Yaraldi speakers from the lower Murray River region. James was the Congregational mission's first Aboriginal convert. David attended the mission school from the age of 7. In 1885 he left to become a servant to C. B. Young who encouraged his interest in philosophy, science and music. Back at Point McLeay from 1890, Unaipon read widely, played the organ and learned bootmaking at the mission. A non-smoker and teetotaller, he grew frustrated at the lack of work for educated Aborigines at mission settlements and in the late 1890s took a job as storeman for an Adelaide bootmaker before returning to assist as book-keeper in the Point McLeay store. On 4 January 1902 at Point McLeay he married a Tangani woman from the Coorong, Katherine Carter, née Sumner, a servant.

His fame, urbanity, fastidious manner of speech and Aboriginal identity confounded current stereotypes: Unaipon embodied the potential-in White terms-for Aboriginal advancement. His lectures for the Anglican Church stressed improvement: "Look at me and you will see what the Bible can do", and his rhetorical skills were shared by other Point McLeay Aborigines.

In 1912 Unaipon led a deputation urging government control of Point McLeay Mission; next year he gave evidence to the royal commission into Aboriginal issues and became a subscription collector for the "Aborigines Friends Association". For fifty years he travelled south-eastern Australia, combining this work with lectures and sermons in churches and cathedrals of different denominations. In addresses to schools and learned societies he spoke on Aboriginal legends and customs, and about his people's future. He also demonstrated his inventions, but his public requests for financial support provoked the disapproval of the mission authorities. His wife (d.1928) stayed at home; their marriage was not happy.

In the 1920s and 1930s he influenced government Aboriginal policy. Assisted by friends like Rev. John Sexton, Dr Herbert Basedow, Sir George Murray and Dr Charles Duguid, Unaipon remained relatively free from the official restraints usually placed on Aborigines. In 1926 he appeared before another royal commission into the treatment of Aborigines. That year he also advocated a model Aboriginal state in an attempt to provide a separate territory for Aborigines in central and northern Australia; his involvement in the movement may have contributed to his arrest in November on vagrancy charges.

In 1928-1929 he assisted the Bleakley inquiry into Aboriginal welfare. By then the best-known Aborigine in Australia, Unaipon was accepted as his people's spokesman. His skill in manipulating members of the press-who invariably described him as a full-blood Aborigine-lent authenticity to his statements at a time when governments were concerned with the so-called "half-caste problem". In 1934 he urged the Commonwealth to take over Aboriginal affairs and proposed that South Australia's chief protector of Aborigines be replaced by an independent board. Educated Aboriginal men from Point McLeay and Point Pearce supported him, among them Mark Wilson; their view that the Aborigines transition to European society should be facilitated through education was supported by the A.F.A. and was later expressed in the Commonwealth's assimilation policy. Unaipon's preference for gradual change was highlighted by his disagreement with the New South Wales branch of the Australian Aborigines' League over its National Day of Mourning on Australia Day, 1938.

In 1953 Unaipon received a Coronation medal. He continued to travel on foot in Adelaide and country centers, where he was often refused accommodation because of his race, and was still preaching at 87. In his nineties he worked on his inventions at Point McLeay, convinced that he was close to discovering the secret of perpetual motion. Survived by a son, he died at Tailem Bend Hospital on 7 February 1967 and was buried in Point McLeay cemetery. (Australian Dictionary of Biography)

From the early 1920s Unaipon studied Aboriginal mythology and compiled his versions of legends; he was influenced by the classics and by his researches into Egyptology at the South Australian Museum. The A.F.A. funded publication of Hungarrda (1927), Kinie Ger-The Native Cat (1928) and Native Legends (1929). Unaipon sold these and other booklets while employed by the A.F.A. His articles, beginning on 2 August 1924 in the Sydney Daily Telegraph, were written in a prose that showed the influence of Milton and Bunyan; they pre-dated the work of other Aboriginal writers by over thirty years. Unaipon published poetry in the 1930s and more legends in the 1950s and 1960s. Gathered before 1930, the legends are in his surviving manuscript in the Mitchell Library: they were commissioned and published by William Ramsay Smith, without acknowledgment, as Myths and Legends of the Australian Aboriginals (London, 1930). Unaipon also wrote "My Life Story" and "Leaves of Memory" (A.F.A. Annual Reports, 1951 and 1953).

On the right side from the portrait (lower) is is an extract from David Unaipon's handwritten preface to his story "Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines". It's based on copies of the original manuscript provided by the State Library of New South Wales.


Right, as background of portrait, is as micro text, where, armed with a magnifying glass, you can read an extract from the original manuscript of David Unaipon's book "Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines", for which he is known as the first Aboriginal author.

"As a full-blooded member of my race I think I may claim to be the first - but I hope not the last - to produce an enduring record of our customs, beliefs and imaginings. As a mother and child is linked to each other before birth, so the Nnung e umpie (Miwi - spiritual and cultural practice Unaipon wrote about, the Ngarrindjeri peoples’ spiritual connection to all living things) must be so linked as mother and child. The navel cord is a physical reality, so Nhung e umpie should be so true love, true fellowship, true pity." (

shield shield

The new $50 banknote shows shields from Unaipon’s Ngarrindjeri nation which depict particular clan groups, lands and waters, and represent the kind of traditional technologies from which Unaipon drew inspiration for his own inventions. It depicts two types of shields used for defence against spears. The rounder of the two was made from the bark of the red gum tree (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), the slimmer shield - from wood beneath the bark. Both were decorated with ochres, white pipeclay and carvings.


The banknote also includes references to a spiritual and cultural practice Unaipon wrote about, the Ngarrindjeri peoples’ spiritual connection to all living things (called Miwi). That connection, or sixth sense, is located in the pit of the stomach and symbolised with an exchange of naval cords. The banknote includes two such cords (right of portrait, on background), painted by Yarraldi Aboriginal artist Muriel Van Der Byl.

Denomination in numeral is in top right corner.


50 Dollars 2018

Edith Cowan

The engraving on banknote is made after this photo of Edith Cowan (1929) from the biographical register of West Australian Parliament.

Edith Dircksey Cowan (née Brown), MBE (2 August 1861 - 9 June 1932) was a politician, social campaigner and the first woman elected to an Australian parliament.

She was born on 2 August 1861 at Glengarry near Geraldton, Western Australia, second child of Kenneth Brown, pastoralist and son of early York settlers Thomas and Eliza Brown, and his first wife Mary Eliza Dircksey Wittenoom, a teacher and the daughter of the colonial chaplain, J. B. Wittenoom. Edith's mother died in childbirth in 1868 and she went to a Perth boarding school run by the Misses Cowan, sisters of her future husband; she completed her education with Canon Sweeting, ex-headmaster of Bishop Hale's School. Her adolescence was shattered in 1876 by the ordeal of her father's trials and hanging for the murder, that year, of his second wife. These experiences made her a solitary person, committed nevertheless to social reforms which enhanced women's dignity and responsibility and which secured proper care for mothers and children.

On 12 November 1879 in St George's Cathedral Edith married James Cowan, registrar and master of the Supreme Court. His appointment in 1890 as Perth police magistrate gave them permanent social and economic security and gave her an insight into the wider society's social problems. They had four daughters and a son between 1880 and 1891.

In the 1890s Edith Cowan became involved in voluntary organizations: she was the Karrakatta Women's Club's first secretary in 1894 and later vice-president and president. There Perth's leading women mastered public speaking and shared their reading on health, literature and women's rights: Cowan's included Olive Schreiner, J. S. Mill and Charlotte Perkins Stetson (Gilman). A state education advocate, she served several terms on the North Fremantle Board of Education, one of the few public offices then open to women. She worked with the Ministering Children's League (from 1891) and the House of Mercy for unmarried mothers (Alexandra Home for Women) from 1894. A foundation member of the Children's Protection Society in 1906, she pioneered its 1909 day nursery for working mother's children. The society was instrumental in the passing of the State Children Act, 1907, which set up the Children's Court. She was among the first women appointed to its bench in 1915; also an early woman justice of the peace (1920), she constantly urged the appointment of women to such positions.

Cowan was an initiator of the Women's Service Guild in 1909 and was vice-president to 1917 when she resigned. Amongst other work, the guild undertook the fund-raising, public meetings and government lobbying, in which she was prominent, which led finally to the opening of the King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women in 1916. She was secretary of the new hospital's advisory board. In 1911 she was prominent in the creation of the Western Australian National Council of Women; she was its president in 1913-21 and vice-president until her death. She was a foundation member of Co-Freemasonry in her State in 1916, and the first female member of the Anglican Social Questions Committee from 1916 and a co-opted member of synod from 1923.

Up to 1915 the many women's organizations co-operated confidently and harmoniously, with the same people prominent in several of them, like Cowan, Lady James, Jane ("Jean") Beadle, and Bessie Rischbieth and Roberta Jull. After a bitter controversy that year over amendments to the Health Act concerning venereal disease, the movement split: the National Council of Women and a group around Cowan, who supported the clauses recommending compulsory notification; and a more radical group around Rischbieth and the Women's Service Guild. The rift between these two women was never healed.

Cowan went overseas in 1903 and 1912 to Britain and Europe, and in 1925 to the United States of America as an Australian delegate to the sixth convention of the International Council. During World War I, already heavily engaged in social welfare, she took on a wide range of war work for which she was appointed O.B.E. in 1920. Immediately after the war women's organizations renewed their efforts for civic rights, as part of "the full democratic re-generation of the world", and in 1920 legislation ended the legal bar to women entering parliament. In the 1921 elections Cowan was one of five women candidates. As an endorsed Nationalist for the Legislative Assembly seat of West Perth, she opposed an independent Nationalist and T. P. Draper, the sitting Nationalist attorney-general in Sir James Mitchell's government. The electorate had a majority of women on the roll, but was solidly wealthy with a few potential Labor voters. She campaigned on her community service record, the need for law and order, and for women in parliament 'to nag a little' on social issues. She narrowly defeated Draper to become the first woman member of an Australian parliament.

Cowan used her term to promote migrant welfare, infant health centres and women's rights: she "was convinced of the necessity of motherhood endowment", even defended the idea, in parliament, of a housewives' union, and continued to press for sex education in state schools. The Women's Legal Status Act, which she introduced in 1923 as a private member, opened the legal profession to women. She had taken seriously the wartime Nationalist claim to be a non-party organization, and voted sometimes with the government and sometimes with the Opposition, impressing neither. In the 1924 elections West Perth business interests stood a strong candidate in T. A. L. Davy. A Labor candidate and the continuing conflict between the two major women's organizations further depleted her support and she lost. She failed again in 1927.

Cowan was a founder of the (Royal) Western Australian Historical Society in 1926 and contributed to its journal, her daughter Dircksey was its first keeper of records. She was active in planning the State's 1929 centenary celebrations. Until her last illness she maintained her committee and social work. Survived by her husband (d.18 October 1937), she died on 9 June 1932 and was buried in the Anglican section of Karrakatta cemetery. She left an estate of £161. (Australian Dictionary of Biography).

Edith Cowan Silver brooch

On banknote right side, also is one of the silver brooches, given by Edith Cowan to members of her Election Committee in 1921.

Edith Cowan, the first woman parliamentarian in Australia, gave her inaugural speech in the Legislative Assembly on this day in 1921. Following her election, she gave tiny silver brooches, depicting a gumnut and leaves, engraved "The Nut", to members of her election committee. A friend wrote, that Edith had a tough nut to crack and her historic election was a symbol, that the gumnut had finally been cracked. (


On left side of the protrait of Edith Cowan are text excerpts from her maiden speech to the Parliament of Western Australia, and the 1923 Women's Legal Status Act which was one of Cowan's most important achievements.

"It is a great responsibility to be the only woman here, and I want to emphasise the necessity which exists for other women being here - If men and women can work for the State side by side and represent all the different sections of the community..- I cannot doubt that we should do very much better work in the community than was ever done before - I stand here today in the unique position of being the first woman in an Australian Parliament." (Harry C.J.Philips)

The King Edward Memorial Hospital

On left side is facade of The King Edward Memorial Hospital, a women’s and maternity hospital, that she helped establish.

"Founded by the zealous campaigning of Western Australian women in 1916, for over 99 years King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women been a beloved Perth institution.

"This place holds great significance for people in Perth because a lot of them were born here," Richard Offen from Heritage Perth said.

The calls for a dedicated maternity hospital for Perth began early in the XX century.

"The state's principal medical officer Dr Hope was complaining that there really needed to be something done.

"On 8th November, 1909, the women's service guild held a meeting in the Government House Ballroom attended by 400 people to discuss further the establishment of a maternity hospital."

A committee, which included Edith Cowan, Mary Molloy [the wife of the Lord Mayor], Deborah Hackett and James Battye, was formed to work towards creating the hospital.

The committee chose the name King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women to commemorate King Edward VII who died in 1910.

"In 1913, the Public Health Annual Report noted the suggestion that rather than building the proposed hospital, a new ward should be added to Perth Public Hospital [now Royal Perth Hospital], but that wasn't considered good enough," Mr Offen said.

In a rousing speech at a meeting to campaign for a stand alone hospital, Edith Cowan suggesting that if finances were the delaying factor, then perhaps the Government Industrial School building in Subiaco should be used.

"The Minister for Health was present at the meeting and he agreed that the hospital should be commenced immediately and that's how the Industrial School became the new hospital.

"The new and existing buildings that were built around the school building provided accommodation for 20 patients and staff and in July 1916 King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women was officially opened." According to Cohen and Hutchison's history of the hospital, 101 babies were born in the first 6 months and the hospital charged a standard fee of £3 for delivery and 14 days of postnatal care.

Almost immediately however, the facility was overcrowded and unsuitable.

"They brought a galvanised shed down from Coolgardie, formerly a TB [tuberculosis] ward, to serve as an after-care ward," Offen said.

"During the 1920s and 30s lots of additions were made to the building to cope with increasing number of patients."

In the 1930s planning began on the art deco expansion to the hospital, which still forms the main entrance to the hospital today.

The state heritage register documents state that the hospital's matron travelled overseas to research the design.

The King Edward Memorial Hospital

"Among the noteworthy features incorporated in the new building were a central heating system, air conditioning, sound absorbing ceilings, a reserve auxiliary for electrical lighting and power, controlled lighting, and a public address system for paging doctors," the heritage register states.

"It was officially opened on December 6, 1939 by the minister for health, Alexander Panton, who said it was part of what was intended to become the best maternity hospital in Australia," Mr Offen said.

In the 1950s new nurses quarters were built and in 1979 the multistorey B block was also built. In 1988 the hospital's first building, the old industrial school, was renamed Harvey House in honour of the hospital's first matron Eleanor Harvey. It is now used as the WA Medical Museum.

The King Edward Memorial Hospital

The nurses quarters have since been converted to clinics and offices, as staff no longer live on site.

In 2002 the whole site was placed on the state heritage register, but continues to operate as Western Australia's only tertiary women's hospital.

Thousands of babies are born there every year and many hold fond memories of the hospital, which have been shared on social media. (

Denomination in numeral is in lower right corner.


My banknote is with mistake!

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) put into circulation 46 million denominations in denominations of 50 Australian dollars, the printing of which made a mistake. The bank has officially confirmed this information, reports NBC. Banknotes were mistakenly printed in February 2018 and seven months later put into circulation.

So, a mistake was made in the word “responsibility” in the microtext on the front side of the banknote. The word is missing the last letter i. An error was discovered by one of the listeners of the Australian radio station Triple M, who posted a message about it on Instagram on the page of the radio station.

The RBA representative noted that the Reserve Bank of Australia is aware of the error, it will be corrected when printing the next circulation of banknotes in the next few months.