Australia's Currency Goes Decimal

February 13, 2019

On 14 February 1966, Australia converted its currency to decimal from British-styled pounds, shillings and pence.

The Australian pound equated to 20 shillings, each of which constituted 12 pence, making retail and other financial transactions unnecessarily difficult. This simplifying conversion was a key economic reform and productivity enhancement implemented by the Coalition governments of Sir Robert Menzies and Harold Holt. It was hailed as a major logistical and public relations triumph for Australia.

Prior research indicated that decimalisation would save over £11 million a year which, within three years, would offset the £30 million conversion cost. The maturity of Australia’s political leaders, the media and polity enabled such gains to be captured despite opposition.

Celebrate the anniversary of this important currency conversion and economic reform by:

    • listening to this jingle that Australians were encouraged to learn, preparing for the conversion to decimal currency (which includes the character, “Dollar Bill”)
    • understanding the complexity of our previous system of currency and its ancient (Roman) origins
    • reflecting on how it used to be easier to implement common sense economic policy in Australia – to benefit the generations ahead
    • if you have one, sharing your coin collection and some memories with your children or grandchildren (or showing them an original, round 50 cent coin)
    • apprising yourself of the Conservative Party’s principles and policies around returning common sense to our body politic and public discourse, including bursting the Canberra Bubble, and/or
    • sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends and those proud and fascinated by our nation’s history and economic development.

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