What is the Currency of Australia?

By Joseph Kiprop on August 1 2017 in Economics

Australian dollar bills.
Australian dollar bills.

The Holey Dollar was the first ever currency to be struck in Australia, in the then New South Wales colony. The Holey Dollar was essentially Spanish Dollar with the middle part of the coin being punched out to form two types of coinage. The larger coin with a hole was known as the Holey Dollar and the small coin was called the dump. Due to the alteration of the original Spanish Dollar during the production of the Holey Dollar, the currency was only valuable within New South Wales and was not used anywhere else.

Australian Pound

A sudden decline in the supply of the Spanish Dollar in the early 19th century caused the Imperial British Empire to reconsider the usage of the Holey Dollar in its New South Wales colony. In 1816, the United Kingdom introduced the gold standard which led the British Empire to adopt the use of sterling coinage in all of its colonies. The Bank of New South Wales was subsequently formed in 1817 and began issuing sterling pound banknotes. However, other regions also began minting their distinct currency, with Sydney commencing the minting of sovereigns and half-sovereigns in 1855, Adelaide’s Government Assay Office began the issue of gold pound coins in 1852, and the Government of Queensland issued its distinct banknotes in 1893.

In the early 20th century, the Australian Government established policies in line with the adoption of a common national currency. The Australian Pound was adopted in 1910 and was made up of subunits known as shillings, with 20 shillings being equivalent to 1 Australian Pound. The Australian Pound was known in the money markets by its symbol AE. The use of the Australian Pound was spread to neighboring islands during the Second World War by the Imperial Japanese Empire. The Australian Pound was issued in coins and banknotes, where coins were minted in 1 shillings, 6 pence, 3 pence, 1 penny and half a penny denominations while banknotes were issued in 1000, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 1 pound and 10 shillings denominations. The currency was replaced in 1966 by the Australian Dollar.

Australian Dollar

The Australian Dollar is currently the official currency used in the Commonwealth of Australia which includes Australia, Christmas Island, Keeling Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, and Norfolk Island. The Australian Dollar is known in the money markets via its abbreviations A$ or AU$. It is made of subunits known as cents with 1 Australian Dollar being equivalent to 100 cents. The Australian Dollar was first issued on February 14th, 1966 replacing the Australian Pound. Before the currency’s adoption by the government, there was a tussle in the determination of its name with names such as the roo, emu, Boomer, the Zac, and the ming among others being proposed. The Australian dollar has been the 5th most traded currency in the world behind the US dollar, the Euro, the Yen, and the sterling pound.

Coins and Banknotes

The Australian Dollar is issued by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the currency comes in minted coins and banknotes. The coinage of the Australian Dollar is issued in A$2, A$1, 50 cents, 20 cents, 10 cent, and 5 cent denominations. The banknotes in circulation are comprised of A$100, A$50, A$20, A$10, and A$5 denominations.

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