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The first versions of the Australian dollar released as paper issues date back to 1966. The $20, $10, $2, and $1 notes were exactly equivalent to their former versions in pound banknotes. The $5 note first became available in 1967; the banks waited until people had become familiar with the decimal currency before releasing the paper notes. In the past, there had not been a 2 pound 10 shilling note that held equivalent value. The $50 note first became available in 1973. In 1984, a coin replaced the $1 note, and a $100 note also entered circulation. The $2 note was replaced in 1988 with a coin.
In 1988, the Reserve Bank in Australia released the first polymer banknotes. They were specifically made from polypropylene polymer. Note Printing Australia produced them. They were created to mark the 200th anniversary of when Europeans first settled in Australia. Today, all paper currency in Australia is made from some form of polymer.
To aid the visually impaired in choosing currency, different notes have different sizes, depending on their assigned denominations. All notes share the same height; they vary by their lengths in accordance with their value. The $100 bills, therefore, are the longest, while the $5 bills are the shortest. Each paper note also has its own colour code. $100 bills are coloured green, $50 are coloured yellow, $20 are coloured red, $10 are coloured blue, and $5 are coloured pink. Security features have also been added to each of the bills. They have a transparent window that contains a picture of Captain James Cook that varies under different light settings. Additionally, each note also contains a star with seven points; the star contains only half of its print on each side of the bill. There is also a picture of the Coat of Arms for Australia that can only be seen when it is held with a light behind it. Banknotes in Australia were the first around the globe to use all of these features for security.
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