22 February 2019 - The Reserve Bank has today revealed the design of the new $20 banknote, which will be released into general circulation in October 2019. As with the existing banknote, the new $20 features portraits of Mary Reibey and Reverend John Flynn.
Governor Philip Lowe said: ‘The new $20 banknote continues to celebrate the lives of two outstanding Australians. Their stories are told through the images we have incorporated on the banknote, which provide a rich and diverse narrative about their life in Australia.’
Mary Reibey arrived in Australia as a convict, but soon broke out of rigidly defined social norms to earn a reputation as an astute and successful businesswoman running her shipping and trading enterprises. She also became known for her support of charity, religion and education. Reibey's story is illustrated on the new $20 banknote through an image of a Port Jackson schooner in Sydney Cove in the early 1800s, similar to the type owned by Mary Reibey. Beside it is a traditional Eora nowie (canoe). Aboriginal women fishing from these vessels were a common sight on the harbour in Reibey's time.
John Flynn pioneered the world's first aerial medical service in 1928, now known as the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), to spread a ‘mantle of safety’ across 7.65 million square kilometres of outback. Today, it remains the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical emergency and healthcare service in the world. His stories are told through a RFDS De Havilland aircraft leaving a remote Broken Hill homestead in 1948 and a pedal-powered transceiver used by the service to improve communication in remote areas.
The Governor also said of the new banknote: ‘Improved security and ease of recognition are important characteristics of the new $20 banknote. The same innovative security features from the previously released $5, $10 and $50 banknotes have been incorporated to help keep them secure from counterfeiting.’
These features include a top-to-bottom clear window that contains dynamic elements, including a flying kookaburra that moves its wings and changes colour, and a reversing number ‘20’. There is also a patch with a rolling-colour effect and microprint featuring excerpts from Flynn's book The Bushman's Companion and the names of Reibey's ships. As with the $5, $10 and $50, the new banknote includes representations of a wattle and a native bird. The $20 features Acacia buxifolia and a Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae).
The Reserve Bank continues to work closely with banknote equipment manufacturers and retailers to help them prepare ATMs and other banknote authenticating machines to handle the new $20 banknote. This has included the distribution of test notes to allow manufacturers and owners of these machines to update their equipment. The design is being released today to facilitate this ongoing work with the industry as well as staff training to ensure a smooth transition when the banknotes are released later this year.
The new banknotes also has a ‘tactile’ feature to help people who are blind or who have low vision to distinguish between different denominations of banknotes. On the $20 banknote, this is three raised bumps on each of the long edges of the banknote.
Existing $20 banknotes can continue to be used, as all previously issued banknotes remain legal tender. It is expected that the $100 banknote will be released next year.
Full details of the design and security features on the new $20 banknote, and other denominations, are available on the Bank's website at banknotes.rba.gov.au.