The Commonwealth Bank and the Note Issue: 1920–1960
Unissued Notes of the 1950s
Denominations above £10 were not issued in the 1953/54 series. However, the need for higher-value notes had been kept under review and the Commonwealth Bank began work on possible notes so as to be able to respond quickly if the need arose.
A 5 shilling note bearing George VI's portrait had been printed as a contingency against a scarcity in the supply of silver coin. This need did not arise and, except for some specimens now held by the Reserve Bank, the notes were destroyed in 1953.
A number of £20 notes were designed.
One of the notes featured Sir John Monash, the general in command of Australia's forces in France in World War I.
Another carried a portrait of Captain John Macarthur who was important in the development of Australia's wool industry.
These men were to appear on later series of Australia's currency notes.
A £50 note featured Sir Henry Parkes, while a £100 note featured Sir Edmund Barton, Australia's first Prime Minister. These designs were to symbolise Australia's Federation. Sir Henry Parkes (1815-1896) became known as the 'Father of Federation', in recognition of his efforts in the last decade of his life to advance the cause of nationhood.
Designs for the backs of these unissued notes represented literature (£20), the arts and architecture (£50), and music (£100). Only the design for the back of the £50 note survives.
Sir Edmund Barton (1849–1920) was to be represented on a £100 note. Barton was Australia's first Prime Minister from January 1901 to September 1903. He had acted as caretaker until the first Federal election in March 1901.