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Penny for your thoughts?

Penny for your thoughts?

This Sunday marks fifty years since decimal currency arrived in the wallets of Australians.

It was on a Monday back in 1966, when the question, “A penny for your thoughts?” began drifting into history along with memories of pennies, shillings and pounds.

Retired Nuriootpa National Australia Bank branch manager, Mr Max Newcombe was stepping up in the banking industry at the time, working as a clerk in the mortgage department in the Adelaide

“I didn’t really have too much to do with money then, so we didn’t have to worry too much,” said Max.

“It all just happened….We just collected dollars and cents instead of pounds, shillings and pence!”

The impact of imperial to decimal currency was little more than a change in calculations for Max.

“The tellers at the front counter were the ones who had all the direct contact with the customers, the new currency – the old coming in and the new going out. I didn’t take a lot of notice really, all our work was hand written paperwork.”

The half penny disappeared along with the three pence, whilst the penny became one cent and the six pence became the new five cent coin.

“The shilling, which was 12 pence, came back to ten cents; two shillings became 20 cents and the 10 shilling note became the old $1 note,” explained Max.

One pound became the $2 note which has since gone, whilst the £5 note was replaced by $10 and the £10 note was replaced by the $20. 

The $5 note was another new introduction into the decimal currency system.

“We didn’t bring out the 50 cent piece until a lot later,” he said.

“There was a twenty pound note too, but not very many and they also had fifty pound notes, 100 pound notes and 1,000 pound notes which were rare.”

Max thought around 3,000 1930 pennies were minted compared to millions in other years and he wouldn’t mind if one of those turned up.

For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.