Australia $5 - Federation    Click to enlarge
New Note Series: Federation Five Dollars - 2001.

On 1st January, 2001, Australia celebrated 100 years of Federation under which the 6 self governing colonies combined to form the Commonwealth of Australia. As part of the celebrations, Australia's second commemorative note was issued the Federation $5. It became available on 2nd January, 2001 and circulates alongside the recoloured $5 note.

During 2001 formal issue of the $5 was primarily limited to the Federation $5.

A totally newly designed note, it ushered in two minor changes which will be progressively incorporated in regular Australian notes thereby creating a new series. On the existing $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes the people depicted (in each case on the front and back) are identified only by their signatures. These are difficult to read in some cases and the name will now be printed under the portrait. Apparently a significant number of people have contacted the RBA to query who these people are on the notes and hence it has considered it appropriate to make this change.

Under the section on the Bicentenary $10 mention was made of how the order of signatures was changed in 1984 with the paper $100. The signature Secretary of the Treasury preceded that of the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia. With the Federation $5 the old order has been restored and now the signature of the Governor comes first reading from top to bottom.

A packaged Federation $5 was released on 26th January, 2001 (The Reserve Bank in Sydney was opened on this public holiday to facilitate sales.) The packaged note includes the red commemorative the legend "1901 2001" at top right on the front . There are sufficient elements on the issued note for it to qualify as a commemorative.

Federation $5 - 2001 - Front - P 56, Mc306 & R219
>Federation $5 - 2001 - Front - P 56, Mc306 & R219
Federation $5 - 2001 - Back - P 56, Mc306 & R219
>Federation $5 - 2001 - Back - P 56, Mc306 & R219
The note displayed here is actually the packaged version with the "1901- 2001"
commemorative imprint (Mc$5GF9). Other reference numbers given are for the issued note.

Designed by Garry Emery, the front of the note features a portrait of Sir Henry Parkes, the "Father of Federation", which is based on an 1892 painting by Tom Roberts, a leading artist of the day. (Parkes long advocated federation and he breathed life into the ailing movement with a rousing speech in Tenterfield, New South Wales, in 1889. He continued to work towards this goal but died in 1896.)

To the right of Parkes, are architectural drawings of the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne which was the site of the first Commonwealth Parliament in 1901. Below this is a scene of the opening of Australia's First Federal Parliament based on a painting once again by Tom Roberts who was commissioned to record the opening. His Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall and York (later to be King George V) who can be seen in the foreground, performed the honours.

At the bottom is the Federation Pavilion in Sydney's Centennial Park which was specially constructed for the celebrations.

To the left of Parkes is the Tenterfield School of Arts building, the site of his rousing speech in 1889. The six State badges are at the bottom left.

Catherine Spence features on the back of this note. She was a journalist, a social reformer very active in the cause of state children, a novelist and a prominent supporter of electoral reform. Although unsuccessful, she was the first woman to run for electoral office in Australia, a candidate for the Australasian Federal Convention of 1897. To the right are portraits of prominent campaigners for Federation, one from each of the six colonies viz Clark (Tasmania), Barton (New South Wales), Forrest (Western Australia), Deakin (Victoria), Kingston (South Australia) and Griffith (Queensland). Barton became Australia's first Prime Minister, Deakin was Prime Minister on three occasions and Griffith was the first Chief Justice of the High Court.

To the left is a building of the South Australian Children's Department, Adelaide, with which Spence was closely involved for almost 40 years. A spray of wattle, a sun burst and the stars of the Southern Cross complete the back.

In keeping with the naming of the portraits, several of the scenes on this note are also named Viz "OPENING OF THE FIRST PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA ON MAY 9, 1901" is printed underneath the scene. The "STATE CHILDREN'S DEPARTMENT" building is so named as are the names of the six campaigners for Federation. Whilst in small print, it is understood that the reason for doing so is as much informational as it is a security feature.

Security Features:

Those discrete to this note include:
(a) A clear window containing the embossed denomination numeral "5" which can be seen from both sides of the note. There is a mauve tint to the window.
(b) When the note is held up to the light, the seven pointed Commonwealth Star becomes visible with four points on the front registering perfectly with three on the back.
(c) An image of Parkes in the under-print (instead of the Coat of Arms as on other issues) becomes apparent at the top right on the front when the note is angled to the light.
(d) Micro-printing of an extract from Parkes' Tenterfield speech in 23 lines to the left and in 24 lines to the right of his portrait and the words of the national anthem "Advance Australia Fair" in 26 lines to the right of Spence. "FIVE DOLLARS" appears many times in micro-print diagonally in a band across the top and bottom of both sides of the note.
(e) One vertical serial number in black at the right on the back in Butsch Grotesque font.
(f) A self authenticating feature in the form of a hidden "5" below the small printed triangle in the bottom right hand corner of the back of the note is revealed when that area of the note is viewed through the mauve coloured area of the clear window. Fold the note so that the triangle in the window is on top of and in direct contact with, the printed triangle. To accentuate the effect, move the triangle in the window around the printed triangle.
(g) Intricate, multi-coloured, fine-line patterns and images appear on each side of the note.
(h) When exposed to ultraviolet light, the serial number, the stars of the Southern Cross, the yellow orientation bars at the top and the bottom of the note and the wattle flowers fluoresce. Additionally, the denomination numeral "5" below the printed "5" on the back of the note also fluoresces. It is not visible under normal light conditions.

First and Last Prefixes:
Issued Note : AA 01 (first) and JD 01 (last).
Packaged Note : AA 01 only. Has special "1901- 2001" imprint.

With the issue of this note, the RBA discontinued the practice of issuing specimen notes. Australian specimen notes command very high prices and RBA became concerned that many of those given to other central banks on an imputed custodial basis have found their way on to the market. Several years ago it varied the conditions attached to notes given to other central banks, making them "on loan" and effectively "returnable on demand".

Accordingly on the issue of this note, the first 500 notes i.e. AA01 00001 to 000500 were reserved for use as specimens for loan to central banks and perhaps certain individuals. As it turned out these reserved numbers were not used - just regular numbered notes were distributed to central banks - and the majority were subsequently put out to tender. AA 01 000001 to 000008 were retained in RBA archives.

Forty notes in the prefix range AA01 to DA 01 with a 000000 serial number but without "SPECIMEN" overprint were released.

Catalogue No:SCWPM P56, Mc306 (Issued) & Mc305 (Special Tender Issue) and R219.
Precise Date of Issue:Issued note:       2nd January, 2001.
Packaged note:   26th January, 2001.
Numbers Issued:Not Available.
Theoretically 121,000,000 notes could be printed in total if 1,000,000 were done for each prefix.
Packaged notes: 100,000 notes carried the additional "1901-2001" imprint; sales were thought to be well short of this number. Number printed is included in the above theoretical maximum.
Prefix Range:Refer above.
Signatures:Governor of the Reserve Bank:
Ian Macfarlane.(18th September, 1996 to date.)
Secretary to the Treasury:
Edward (Ted) Evans. (24 March, 1993 to 26th April 2001.)
Dimensions:130 x 65 mm.
Printer:Note Printing Australia using Guardian polymer substrate.
Specimens:No. See above comment.
Replacements:No. Australia ceased to issue replacement notes in 1972.
Country Ranking:Australia is the first country to issue a NPA polymer note.
Printing Method:Intaglio.
Sheet Size:40 notes per sheet.
Product:Folder: Mc $5 GF 8 (first 50 notes AA 01 001001/ 50 - earlier numbers are retained in RBA archives) and Mc $5 GF 9. Refer to detail above.

Uncut Sheets: 400 uncut sheets of 40 notes each were made available for sale by NPA by public tender in mid 2001. In September 2001, NPA announced that only 356 sold. Mc$5U21. 1,500 blocks of 4 with black serials were released. Mc$5 U 22. Notes in the sheets carry the prefix GD 01 to JD 01.