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Pretty Girls on Banknotes ~ Australia


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Australia is a land of immigrants, aside from the Aboriginal people that settled what we now know as Australia approximately 40,000 years ago, most people have settled Australia in the last 220 years. Many came from Great Britain, quite a few not so willingly. After WWII many came from the rest of Europe. This note was introduced in 1954, design changes were prompted by the 1952 death of King George VI, who was the subject of the Australian notes up to that time. With the change of monarchs, The Commonwealth Bank of Australia decided to feature more historical Australians on the new series, whilst retaining Queen Elizabeth on the £1 note.


The front of the note has a portrait of Arthur Phillip, first governor of the New South Wales territory, but the reverse, the design representing Science and Industry portrays a young model, an immigrant to Austrlia, named Karina Nartiss who was a native of Latvia. The Commonwealth Bank had hired her as a model, and photographed her, and had her sign over rights to the photographs to the Commonwealth Bank. Curiously she was not informed of the purpose of the photographs, until just prior to the release of the notes in 1954. For her part she was paid £10/10, now AUD$21.00. The identity of the person on the reverse of the £10 note was afterwards a mystery, until a couple of years after Karina Nartiss's death in 1985, when her identity was thence made known.


In the £SD system the £10 note was the largest denomination actually printed and used, though £20 and £50 notes were designed and planned. There are two varieties of this note, this note P-32 has "Governor, Commonwealth Bank of Australia" under the Governor's signature, whilst the later variety, P-36 has "Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia".

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