New Decimal Coin Designs
In this Commonwealth Film Unit production from 1964, Federal Treasurer Harold Holt introduces Steward Devlin's designs for the new decimal coins. The designs are based on Australian fauna – a kangaroo, emu, platypus, lyrebird, echidna, frilled-neck lizard and feathertail glider (possum).
Australia had been considering a decimal system since 1901 but it was not until 1959 that a federal government committee began to investigate the issue. In June 1963, Holt confidently announced that the new decimal currency would be called the ‘royal’. Public outrage followed and by September he was telling Parliament that the 'royal' was now the 'dollar'.
A government campaign hit radio and television to educate Australians and prepare them for the changeover to decimal currency on 14 February 1966, by which time Holt was prime minister.