header Notes Collection

20 Dollars 1979, Australia

in Krause book Number: 46c
Years of issue: 1979 - 1983
Edition: --
Signatures: Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia: Sir Harold Murray Knight, Secretary to the Treasury: Mr. John Stone.
Serie: 1973 Issue
Specimen of: 1974
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 160.02 x 81.28
Printer: Note printing works at Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, Melbourne (1924 - 1981)

* 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.

20 Dollars 1979




Captain James Cook, The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, The Royal Navy (7 November 1728 - 14 February 1779) was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.


20 Dollars 1979

Charles Kingsford SmithThe engraving is, probably, made from this photo of Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith. This illustration comes from the frontispiece of a presentation copy of The Old Bus, published in 1932. It is the story of the early career of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith's famous "Fokker F.VIIb-3m VH-USU Southern Cross" and his exploits in her.

This copy was inscribed by Smithy to Edgar Johnston, the Controller of Civil Aviation, as follows: "To Edgar Johnston with kind regards C. Kingsford Smith" and is currently held in the Edgar Johnston Library Collection at the Civil Aviation Historical Society.

Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith MC, AFC (9 February 1897 - 8 November 1935), often called by his nickname Smithy, was an early Australian aviator. In 1928, he earned global fame when he made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia. He also made the first non-stop crossing of the Australian mainland, the first flights between Australia and New Zealand, and the first eastward Pacific crossing from Australia to the United States. He also made a flight from Australia to London, setting a new record of 10.5 days.

Kingsford Smith was in the army cadets until 1915; when he turned 18, he enlisted in the AIF. He became a signaller and despatch-rider and saw war service on Gallipoli and in Egypt and France before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

The young pilot joined No. 23 Squadron RFC on the Western Front in July 1917. He soon destroyed four enemy aircraft in combat, but in August he was wounded and shot down, resulting in the loss of some of his toes. He was awarded the Military Cross.

After the war flying became his passion and he piloted joy-flights overseas before returning home in 1921. In the following years he tried to establish viable aviation companies. It was an expensive business and he regularly sought publicity and sponsorship for record-breaking flights.

One epic flight, above all his many others, established “Smithy” as one of the greatest pioneering pilots of all time. On 31 May 1928 he took off from California with Charles Ulm and two American crewmen in a three-engined Fokker, the Southern Cross. For aircraft of this era it was an immense distance, over water all the way. They flew via Hawaii and Suva to Brisbane, fighting storms and near exhaustion, completing the journey in under 84 flying hours.

For his achievements, Kingsford Smith was given honorary rank in the RAAF and awarded the Air Force Cross. He continued on more record-breaking flights to show the feasibility of air passenger and mail services. In 1932 he was knighted for his contribution to aviation.

Most Australians loved Smithy’s dare-devil attitude and his larrikin streak: “a drink and cigarette in hand … he lived hard and fast”. But he was dogged by tragedy: a former colleague, Keith Anderson, died during a search when Smithy went missing briefly in the Northern Territory in 1929; then in 1931 a company aircraft Southern Cloud was lost with all passengers and crew. Finally, in 1935, Kingsford Smith disappeared off Burma while attempting yet another record-breaking flight. (Australian War Memorial)

In the center is, five times repeated, a stylized image of an airplane propeller of "Fokker F.VIIb-3m VH-USU Southern Cross".

Denominations in numerals are in top left and right corners.


20 Dollars 1979

Lawrence HargraveThe engraving on banknote is, probably, made from this photo of Lawrence Hargrave. The date and author are unknown.

Lawrence Hargrave, MRAeS (29 January 1850 - 6 July 1915) was an engineer, explorer, astronomer, inventor and aeronautical pioneer.

Hargrave was born in Greenwich, England, the second son of John Fletcher Hargrave (later attorney-general of NSW) and was educated at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland. He immigrated to Australia with his family, arriving in Sydney on 5 November 1865 on the La Hogue. He accepted a place on the Ellesmere and circumnavigated Australia. Although he had shown ability in mathematics at his English school he failed the matriculation examination and in 1867 took an engineering apprenticeship with the Australasian Steam Navigation Company in Sydney. He later found the experience of great use in constructing his models.

In 1872, as an engineer, he sailed on the Maria on a voyage to New Guinea, but the ship was wrecked. In 1875 he again sailed as an engineer on William John Macleay's expedition to the Gulf of Papua. From October 1875 to January 1876 he was exploring the hinterland of Port Moresby under Octavius Stone, and in April 1876 went on another expedition under Luigi D'Albertis for over 400 miles up the Fly River on the SS Ellengowan. In 1877 he was inspecting the newly developing pearlingindustry for Parbury Lamb and Co. He returned to Sydney, joined the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1877, and in 1878 became an assistant astronomical observer at Sydney Observatory. He held this position for about five years, retired in 1883 with a moderate competency, and gave the rest of his life to research work.

Lawrence HargraveLawrence Hargrave was firmly committed to sharing the fruits of his research, even though he conducted his experiments in Australia, far from the bustle of European and American aeronautics. He regularly communicated with the Royal Society of New South Wales and through that group (of which he was a member) to the rest of the world. He didn't patent the ground-breaking results of his research, believing that whatever he could do to promote the development of flying machines would be reward enough. Hargrave was also an historian, and remarked that the inventor of a new mode of transportation had never been made rich by that invention, patented or not. Octave Chanute certainly knew of Hargrave and appreciated the importance of what Hargrave was then doing. One of Hargrave's earliest achievements was to demonstrate that for a wing to lift and move through air efficiently, the center of pressure ought to be located at about 25% of the chord length of the wing section. This was an understanding of great significance and to ensure that it would find application by any aerial experimenters so interested, Hargrave published his discovery. It seems quite likely that Chanute had a hand in Hargrave's donation of his No. 14 (which made a flight of 312 feet in 19 seconds, powered by compressed air driving flapping-wing-type propellers which he termed "Trochoided planes") to the Field Columbian Museum in Chicago, Illinois, during 1894.

Hargrave's experiments with a series of powered experimental model flying machines were of great interest to people then involved with aeronautics and aerial research. Chanute's now-classic 1894 book "Progress In Flying Machine" devoted more than thirteen pages to Hargrave's work. Chanute opened his section on Hargrave by writing:

"If there be one man, more than another, who deserves to succeed in flying through the air, that man is Mr. Lawrence Hargrave, of Sydney, New South Wales. He has now constructed with his own hands no less than 18 flying machines of increasing size, all of which fly, and as a result of his many experiments (of which an account is about to be given) he now says, in a private letter to the writer, that: I know that success is dead sure to come."

The full quote from Hargrave's private letter to Chanute reads

"The people of Sydney who can speak of my work without a smile are very scarce ; it is doubtless the same with American workers. I know that success is dead sure to come, and therefore do not waste time and words in trying to convince unbelievers."

Chanute seemed particularly impressed with the fact that Hargrave kept and maintained detailed notes and logs of his work "... so that a stranger, if an expert, could come into his shop, study his notes and drawings, pick up his tools and continue his work, and thus no portion of it would be lost." Hargrave and Chanute shared an unshakable and deep belief that aeronautical work would progress only through the continuity of labor and research of a number of people over time, which had, after all, been Chanute's motivation for writing "Progress In Flying Machines." Hargrave's series of experiments began with some 50 "Trochoided plane" model flying machines which sought to reproduce the propelling motions of birds and fish. Some of these models were powered by clockwork mechanisms. Using data derived from these experiments, Hargrave derived the average of the most successful of them and used those averages to design the next series of machines, using stretched (not twisted) rubber bands as power. He built and tested about 10 of these models.

The first of Hargrave's models to be powered by compressed air driving "Trocoided Planes" was #10, which flew a remarkable 368 feet in 1890. Hargrave #10 weighed a little over 2 1/2 pounds, had a length of slightly over 4 feet, its compressed air engine weighed in at only 6 1/2 ounces, and its wings were made of paper. That same year Hargrave built model #12, a development of #10, which, while heavier, nonetheless flew 343 feet. He powered his #15 with a chemical-reaction "explosion" engine which did not succeed, while his #17 and #18 machines were powered by lightweight yet powerful steam engines (which caused him considerable trouble).

Hargrave is most remembered, however, not for his numerous remarkable model flying machines but for his series of "cellular kites." He invented the box-kite, a lightweight yet very strong configuration of lifting surfaces which defined most aeronautical design prior to The Great War, WWI. Alberto Santos-Dumont's biplane No. 14-bis which flew in 1906 was the embodiment of Hargrave's box-kite, an inspiration which Santos-Dumont acknowledged. Gabriel Voisin first advertised his famous Voisin biplanes as "Hargrave" machines. The Herring and Chanute biplane and triplane gliding machines of 1896-1898 were based on Hargrave's box-kite, as, indeed, were the Wright Flyers and the biplanes produced by Glenn Curtiss, as well as the Voisin and Farman biplanes. It's difficult to imagine the pre-WWI period of aviation without the incorporation of the Hargrave's box-kite design, so dominent was the cellular structure on biplane and triplane aeroplanes. Hargrave introduced the design in a paper read at the great International Aerial Navigation Congress held during August of 1893 in Chicago, Illinois. Of particular note in Hargrave's 1893 paper is the comparison made to the lifting ability of the box-kites illustrated below, "E" and "F." Although they were virtually identical in all respects, save one, Hargrave box-kite "E" generated almost twice the lift of box-kite "F." The difference, which was noted with great interest at the time, was that the horizontal surfaces of box-kite "E" were curved in section while those of "F" were flat. Lawrence Hargrave was not one to claim credit where it was not deserved and he duly noted that it had been Francis Herbert Wenham in 1866 who first suggested superimposing lifting surfaces in his classic paper "Aerial Locomotion."

Hargrave sought to preserve his models for further study. After failing to find any other institution which he thought would be up to that task, in February of 1910 he donated 176 of his model flying machines to the Deutsches Museum in Munich. Allied bombing of Germany in WWII destroyed all but 25 of Hargrave's flying machines. The remaining Hargrave models were later transferred to Sydney, Australia's Powerhouse Museum, where they form the central exhibit of Hargrave's work. (Flying machines)

In center and on the right side are the flying machines by Hargrave.

One Of The First Hargrave Model Powered By Stretched Rubber Bands. Driving Trochoided Plane Propellers - ca. 1887 The Last Hargrave Model Powered By Stretched Rubber Bands - 1889 Hargrave Model #10 Driven By Trochoided Planes - 1890Hargrave Model #12 Driven By Trochoided Planes - 1890

Denominations in numerals are in top left and bottom right corners.


On the tops of obverse and reverse is an inscription "Australia".

In April 1964, designs by Gordon Andrews were accepted and detailed design work began with the specialist firm "Organisation Giori" in Milan, Italy. New note printing machinery was obtained from the UK.

Design painted by Sydney artist Guy Warren, paying tribute to a number of famous Australians.