Reserve Bank of Australia

The Reserve Bank and Reform of the Currency: 1960–1988

Introducing the New Decimal Notes

Image showing the cartoon character Dollar Bill, circa 1965

In the lead up to the introduction of decimal currency there was a concerted program to educate the public. This included extensive media coverage, including the famous Dollar Bill campaign.

In come the dollars and in come the cents
to replace the pounds and the shillings and the pence.
Be prepared folks when the coins begin to mix
on the 14th of February 1966.

Clink go the cents folks
clink, clink, clink. Changeover day is closer than you think.
Learn the value of the coins and the way that they appear
and things will be much smoother when the decimal point is here.

In come the dollars and in come the cents
to replace the pounds and the shillings and the pence.
Be prepared folks when the coins begin to mix
on the 14th of February 1966.

Dollar Bill decimal currency jingle, circa 1965, sung to the tune of 'Click go the Shears'.

Dollar Bill Decimal Currency Jingle sung to the tune of 'Click go the Shears'. Lyrics written by Ted Roberts.

Other educational material included games and play money in schools.

Image showing a play money one dollar note Image showing a play money twenty dollar note

A wide range of brochures was issued explaining the conversion of pounds, shillings and pence into dollars and cents and the effects of this on prices of various goods and services.

Image showing educational material and brochures used during the 'Dollar Bill' campaign Image showing a brochure explaining the conversion of pounds, shillings and pence into dollars and cents

Helped by the smooth conversion to a decimal currency, the new notes were well received. But high-quality counterfeits of the $10 note appeared in late 1966, prompting the Reserve Bank to begin a process of collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to combat threats to the security of the note issue.

Some two decades later, the public would see the results in the form of a unique Australian invention – polymer currency notes. You can read the story of Australia's polymer notes on the New Era - Polymer Currency Notes: 1988 onwards page.