Already, new $5, $10 and $50 notes are in circulation, and the new $20 note will join them from October 2019.
“Improved security and ease of recognition are important characteristics of the new $20 banknote,” said RBA governor Philip Lowe, noting that they are the same measures incorporated into the other new notes.
According to the RBA, these new features include a top-to-bottom clear window that contains dynamic elements, a patch with rolling colour effect, and microprint recognising the works of the two people whose portrait it portrays.
It also includes a “tactile” feature to help people who are blind or who have low vision to distinguish between different denominations of banknotes. On the $20 banknote, there are three raised bumps on each of the long edges of the banknote.
The new $20 note will retain the portraits of Mary Reibey and Reverend John Flynn, Mr Lowe confirmed, as it “continues to celebrate the lives of two outstanding Australians”.
“Their stories are told through the images we have incorporated on the banknote, which provide a rich and diverse narrative about their life in Australia.”
As happened with the introduction of the other new notes, the RBA said that it would work with retailers and banknote manufacturers to prepare them for authenticating the new notes.
According to the RBA, Mary Reibey arrived in Australia as a convict, but soon broke out of rigidly defined social norms to earn a reputation as an astute and successful businesswoman running her shipping and trading enterprises. She also became known for her support of charity, religion and education.
Ms Reibey’s story is illustrated on the new $20 banknote through an image of a Port Jackson schooner in Sydney Cove in the early 1800s, similar to the type owned by Mary Reibey. Beside it is a traditional Eora nowie (canoe). Aboriginal women fishing from these vessels were a common sight on the harbour in Reibey’s time.
The central bank also noted that John Flynn pioneered the world’s first aerial medical service in 1928, now known as the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), to spread a “mantle of safety” across 7.65 million square kilometres of outback, which remains the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical emergency and healthcare service in the world.
It said that his stories are told through an RFDS De Havilland aircraft leaving a remote Broken Hill homestead in 1948 and a pedal-powered transceiver used by the service to improve communication in remote areas.
Existing $20 banknotes will still be eligible for use alongside the new notes.
The RBA said that the final new banknote — the $100 note — is scheduled for release in 2020.