50 dollars - Spelling Error and Mistake
By CAA | Friday, 9 February 2024
Starting in 2016, the Next Generation Banknote (NGB) program sought to increase the security of Australia's banknotes to ensure they remain secure against counterfeiting. But a mistake happened with the release of the new Australian 50 dollars notes. 46 million (worth $2.3 billion) of them have been printed with a typo.
The 2018 $50 banknotes printed contain a spelling error in the microprinted excerpt of Edith Cowan's maiden parliamentary speech. The error has been corrected from 2019. The word responsibility is incorrectly spelled responsibilty without the third i on three different places on the banknote.
This mistake was found and reported by a citizen, whose identity was withheld.
These banknotes are legal tender and can continue to be used as normal. The spelling error does not affect their validity and functionality in any way. They will not be withdrawn from circulation. All existing polymer banknotes can continue to be used.
- Reserve Bank of Australia
The $50 banknote retains the portraits of two of Australia's social and political pioneers - David Unaipon and Edith Cowan, who were both featured on the previous banknotes.
The work of David Unaipon and Edith Cowan is recognised in several design elements on the banknote, including shields from Unaipon's Ngarrindjeri nation and images portraying the practices of miwi and navel cord exchange about which he wrote. The banknote also includes pictures of the gumnut brooch Cowan had made to symbolise that entry into Parliament was a tough nut to crack for women, and the King Edward Memorial Hospital, a women's and maternity hospital that she helped establish.
Each denomination of the next generation of banknotes features a different species of wattle and native Australian bird. The $50 banknote features the Acacia humifusa and the Black Swan (Cygnus atratus), Unaipon's ngaitji, or totem, and the bird of Cowan's home state of Western Australia.
On March 12, 1921, Edith Cowan became the first woman to be elected to Australian parliament, a major event in Australian history. Edith Cowan was elected to the seat of West Perth in the Legislative Assembly of the Parliament of Western Australia. She was very mindful of the privilege afforded to her.
At the age of 59, Edith had an impressive record in public life having been a member, often founding member, of over 40 community organisations and boards. She planned to continue her progressive agenda in Parliament, to improve women's position and to provide the best health care for children.
Whilst Edith was elected in March, she did not give her maiden or inaugural speech until July. The government recognised the symbolic significance of her presence and gave her the honour moving the Address-in-Reply speech (annual response to the Governor's opening of parliament). On Thursday July 28, 1921, Mrs Cowan, Member for West Perth gave her maiden speech (sometimes known as the Debut Speech): a unique position to the Legislative Assembly:
I stand here to-day in the unique position of being the first woman in an Australian Parliament. [...] It is a great responsibility to be the only woman here. [...] If men and women can work for the same state side by side and represent all the different sections of the community. I cannot doubt that we should do very much better work in the community than was ever done before.
[...] I know many people think perhaps that it was not the wisest thing to send a woman into Parliament, and perhaps I should remind honorable members that one of the reasons why women and men also considered it advisable to do so, was because it was felt that men need a reminder sometimes from women beside them that will make them realise all that can be done for the race and for the home
[...] I am a Nationalist, and I belong to no party in this House. I was sent to uphold law and order and constitutional government, and it will be my desire to assist in carrying out these objects in a proper and satisfactory manner; while I discharge my duties here I shall be responsible only to my own constituents... There are too many here today who are possessed of the old party spirit.
- Edith Cowan
- Denomination: $50
- Date of first issue: October 18, 2018
- Size: 65 mm x 151 mm
- Concept Designer: emerystudio
- Signatures Governor/Secretary to Treasury (2018 to 2021):
- AA 18 – EA 18: 0000001-6494801 (2018)
- EB 18 – IB 18: 0000001-6050277 (2018)
- AA 20 – EA 20: 0000001-5361359 (2020)
- AA 20 – EA 20: 5361360-6820290 (2020)
- AA 21 – EA 21: 0000001-2184611 (2021)
- AA 21 – EA 21: 2200000-5292426 (2021)
Next Generation Banknote
Like their predecessors, the new banknotes are printed on polymer, a type of plastic. They retain key aspects of the previous series-the people portrayed, colour palette, size and denomination-but incorporate new security features and designs.
Issued from 2016, the banknotes reveal innovations that have been envisaged to enhance the banknotes' accessibility and protect them from counterfeiting. A clear top-to-bottom window represents a distinctive feature of the banknotes; it includes a number of sophisticated security features. This generation of banknotes also introduces a tactile feature that can be used by people who are blind or have low vision to determine the value of their banknotes.