Fifty years ago today Australia was waking to these newspaper headlines. Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the change to decimal currency. Schools no longer had to teach shillings and pennies and divide by twelve. The new decimal system used multiples of ten and was a much simpler way. For half a century coin designs by Stuart Devlin have been passed from person to person without too much thought. Today is the day to look back.
“This is your money now C-Day Dawns 2 Hrs. Early. Australia today became a decimal country……Railway officials at city railway stations “jumped the gun” by giving 1 cent and 2 cent coins as change about 10.p.m last night…..A Sydney woman was the first person in Australia to receive decimal notes in an official transaction. Miss Thelma Stott, of Stanmore, received the notes when she converted some money at Mascot Airport at midnight.” Daily Telegraph, NSW
“C-Day for Australia. Easy change expected This morning the public will use its first decimal coinage -probably only one and two cent pieces, as commuters go to work by train and bus….Tonight in Melbourne the (Decimal Currency) council will hold a dinner to celebrate the success of its efforts at which Mr Holt and Sir Walter Scott will be present.” The Sydney Morning Herald, NSW
“Dollar Rush! Many were disappointed, as dollar notes and silver coins were scarce. There were, however, plenty of cent and two-cent pieces. Banks were rushed when they opened for the first time since last Wednesday when they closed to change over to decimal accountancy…… At the Harbour Bridge toll, motorists were disappointed at not receiving the new currency for change. “Most drivers wanted 10 cents change for their 2/- pieces,” said the toll supervisor. “But we just can’t oblige. There’s not enough new currency in circulation yet.” The Sun, NSW
“Dollars, Cents today. PM expects ‘C’ change to be smooth. Dollars and cents are a part of the Australian way of life from today -C-day. Decimal currency became legal tender throughout the nation at midnight last night. It will exist side by side with £ s. d. for about two years…..About 100 million decimal notes and 600 million coins have been issued to banks to be circulated in place of £ s. d….Anybody experiencing problems with decimal currency can ring for advice from the Decimal Currency Board’s “Dollar Jills” at 63 9734.” “The Age, Melbourne, Vic
“No need for rush, say banks. Among the first users in Canberra of the new coinage will be early bus travellers who will be given change in 1 cent and 2 cent pieces from the time of the first bus out of the Kingston depot at 5:10 this morning.” The Canberra Times, ACT