Australia’s new $100 banknote enters general circulation

The new $100 banknote features Sir John Monash an engineer, soldier and civic leader and Dame Nellie Melba, an internationally renowned soprano. (Image: Reserve Bank of Australia)

Australia: “The new $100 banknote enters general circulation today”, the Reserve Bank of Australia announced on Thursday, 29th October, 2020.

The new $100 banknote features Sir John Monash an engineer, soldier and civic leader and Dame Nellie Melba, an internationally renowned soprano.

The side featuring Sir John Monash (Image: Reserve Bank of Australia/Facebook)
The side featuring Dame Nellie Melba (Image:Reserve Bank of Australia, Facebook)

Governor Philip Lowe said, ‘The release of the new $100 marks the completion of the decade-long program to upgrade the security of our banknotes. As a result, Australia continues to have some of the best and most secure banknotes in the world. We also continue to celebrate the outstanding contributions of two well-known Australians, Sir John Monash and Dame Nellie Melba, on the new $100.’

Monash is widely recognised for his service as a commander in the First World War and was instrumental in building the Shrine of Remembrance in his hometown of Melbourne – which is featured on the banknote. Melba performed in Australia, Europe and the United States of America in the late 19th and early 20th century. In addition to performing, Melba made important contributions to the arts through teaching at the Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music, now the Melba Opera Trust, in her home town of Melbourne.

Innovative new security features have been incorporated in the new $100 banknote to help keep it secure from counterfeiting. These security features are similar to those in the $5, $10, $20 and $50 banknotes issued progressively since 2016, such as the top-to-bottom clear window that contains a number of dynamic features including a reversing number and flying bird. There is also a patch with a rolling colour effect and microprint featuring excerpts of a letter written by Monash and Melba’s autobiography Melodies and Memories.

Each banknote in the new series also features a different species of native Australia wattle and bird. The $100 banknote features the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) and the Australian Masked Owl (Tyto novaehollandiae).

As previously announced, key aspects of the existing design – colour, size and people portrayed – have been retained for ease of recognition and to minimise the disruption to businesses. The new banknote series also has a ‘tactile’ feature to help the vision-impaired community distinguish between different denominations of banknotes.

According to RBA, the $100 bill is the final denomination to be redesigned as part of the Reserve Bank’s Next Generation Banknote Program.

The first denomination in the new series, the $5 banknote, was issued on 1 September 2016. The new $10 banknote was issued into general circulation from 20 September 2017 followed by the new $50 banknote on 18 October 2018. The new $20 was issued into circulation on 9 October 2019 and the new $100 was issued on 29 October 2020.

The RBA has also said that “It may take some time before you see one in the wild, but the existing $100 banknote can continue to be used. In fact, all previous banknotes issued by the Reserve Bank retain their legal tender status and can continue to be used.”

Information sourced from the website of the Reserve Bank of Australia.