header Notes Collection

50 Dollars 2007, Australia

in Krause book Number: 60e
Years of issue: 2007
Signatures: Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia: Mr. Glenn R. Stevens, Secretary to the Treasury: Mr. Ken Henry.
Serie: Polymer Serie
Specimen of: 04.10.1995
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 2007



coat of arms watermark

Australian coat of arms depicted in the series as a watermark.

Arms of Australia is the official symbol of the state. The country was granted by King Edward VII, May 7, 1908, and the current version of the coat of arms - King George V 19 September 1912.

From the heraldic point of view, coat of arms is a six part shield with a silver border, burdened by fourteen black crosses.

In plastic windiw, at lower right, is the seven-pointed Commonwealth Star or Star of Federation.

Six of the points on the star represent the original six states, while the seventh point represents the combined territories and any future states of Australia.

coat of arms

In the upper half, from left to right, are the coats of arms of states: New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. At the bottom, left to right, are: South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

Above the shield is a 7-face "Commonwealth Star" or the Star of Federation over blue and gold wreaths.

Supporting the shield kangaroos and emus are unofficial emblem of the nation. Probably, they were chosen because they are "indigenous" Australian animals, which are found only on the continent. It is often argued that they can not move back, only forward - and that is progress. In fact, both the animals can move back, but rarely do.

south cross

Inside the clear window on the $50 banknote is a printed image of the Southern Cross, along with embossing of the number "50".

Southern Cross

The Southern Cross is emblem of Australia and it was placed on the federal flag of the Commonwealth in 1901.

Southern Cross is one of the brightest constellations in the southern hemisphere, and ever since the first British settlement on the continent symbolizes Australia. The Mariners, who went to the South Seas to an unknown land, crossing the equator, saw beautiful new unknown constellation, so for a long time Australia is associated with these stars.

Ivor Evans, one of the flag's designers, intended the Southern Cross to refer also to the four moral virtues ascribed to the four main stars by Dante: justice, prudence, temperance and fortitude.

The number of points on the stars of the Southern Cross on today's Australian flag differs from the original competition-winning design, on which they ranged between five and nine points each, representing their relative brightness in the night sky. The stars are named after the first five letters of the Greek alphabet, in decreasing order of brightness in the sky. In order to simplify manufacture, the British Admiralty standardized the four larger outer stars at seven points each, leaving the smaller middle star with five points. This change was officially gazetted on 23 February 1903.

A complete specification for the current design was published in the Commonwealth Gazette in 1934.


50 Dollars 2007

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.

An extract: "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."

A little look through the book you can take here State Library New South Wales.

patent application

On the right side of the portrait (above) are the diagrams of David Unaipon's mechanical handpiece for sheep shearing. This element is based on drawings from David Unaipon's 1909 patent application.

By 1909 Unaipon had developed and patented a modified handpiece for shearing. He was obsessed with discovering the secret of perpetual motion. In 1914 his repetition of predictions by others about the development of polarized light and helicopter flight were publicized, building his reputation as a "black genius" and "Australia's Leonardo". Between 1909 and 1944 Unaipon made patent applications for nine other inventions, including a centrifugal motor, a multi-radial wheel and a mechanical propulsion device, but the patents lapsed.

mission church Point McLeay mission church Point McLeay

On the left side 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.

Denomination in numeral is in top right corner.


50 Dollars 2007

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)

West Australian Parliament House West Australian Parliament House

On the left side is the front of the West Australian Parliament House as it was in the 1920s, when Edith Cowan was an MP.

The first stage of the construction of Parliament House - a frontage to Harvest Terrace, the two chambers and a small number of temporary offices, was undertaken between 1902 and 1904. At the time the instructions to the architects were to limit the construction to no more than $25,000 of the anticipated $100,000 total cost. The eventual cost of the first stage was $35,623.

The building on banknote was located in the courtyard behind the Western Wing of Parliament House. It was occupied by the Hansard department until demolition in 1961 to make way for the existing Members’ and Visitors’ Bars. (

Right of the portrait are foster mother and children who, due to parliamentary activity Edith Cowan, were wards of the state since the 1920's.

On the right side is the image of Edith Cowan at a lectern represents her frequent public speaking on matters such as women's rights and children's welfare issues.

Between images of Edith lectures and foster mother, vertically, is Edith Cowan's signature.

Denomination in numeral is in top right corner.


Designer: Brian Sadgrove.

Those discrete to this note include:

(a) Microprint is very small but well-defined text that usually requires a magnifying glass to read. The words "FIFTY DOLLARS" are microprinted on the $50 banknote.

(b) When the banknote is held up to the light, a seven-pointed star within a circle is formed by four points on one side of the banknote combining perfectly with three points on the other side.

(c) On all genuine banknotes the window should be very clear and look like it's an integral part of the banknote, not an addition. Inside the clear window on the $50 banknote is a printed image of the Southern Cross, along with embossing of the number "50".

(d) Multi-coloured and multi-directional patterns of fine lines appear on each side of the banknote.

(e) Under ultraviolet light, the serial numbers on the back of the $50 banknote glow and a patch showing the value of the banknote becomes visible.

(f) When the banknote is held up to the light, an image of the Australian Coat of Arms can be seen faintly, under other printing.

(g) Intaglio is raised dark printing with a distinct feel. It's used for the portraits on banknotes and some other design elements.