Australian Decimal Currency 50th Anniversary – Happy Valentines Day
Happy Valentines Day! I thought I would do a valentines day post about something that is having its 50th anniversary on the 14th of February 2016. That’s right, on valentines day just fifty short years ago Australia made the switch to decimal currency. For everyone who helped make, or was part of the change I offer up a very big THANK YOU!
I may not have been alive back then, but being a coin collector in a previous life, I have always been aware of the change. My father used to sing the song to me every time the topic of “when did we change to decimal” came up. I can still hear his voice singing “on the 14th of February 1966”.
I don’t know if I would have enjoyed getting my head around the Australian pound:
1 pound (£) = 20 shillings (s) = 240 pence (d)
so 1s = 12d – so simple…
Yes pence had the symbol “d”. There was also a florin (2 shillings) and a crown (5 shillings), and I wont get started on gold sovereigns. So we really have:
1 pound (£) = 4 crowns = 10 florins = 20 shillings (s) = 240 pence (d)
Of course now we have dollars and cents (similar to many other countries around the world). Japan even managed to get rid of that pesky sub-unit and only have Yen. Australia is on its way. We got rid of one cent and two cent coins in 1992 and there has been some talk about getting rid of the five cent coin too. Before long we might catch up to Japan with just one unit.
For those of you asking what I am going on about here is a quick educational YouTube clip of a video that was released for the occasion:
This next clip shows four of the ads that were used to help introduce the idea to people:
The Perth Mint is also commemorating the milestone with a set of pure silver one and two cent pieces. For $199 it costs just a tad more than the $22 the raw material is worth. They are producing 2000 of them for a total of around $350k after the cost of raw materials. Not a bad way to literally print (mint) some money.
I think I need to go and buy something just to enjoy the fact that calculating totals and change with decimal currency is so simple.
Thanks for the informative article RTW.
I’m a little surprised Australia, New Zealand and Canada didn’t go with the decimal pound & pennies decimal system that the UK now has. The old system sounds very cute and quaint, it doesn’t make much sense though. The current system makes things much easier.
As long as inflation continues at a nice, steady pace then the elimination of the 5 cent piece should be easy.