British sovereigns will disappear from banknotes in Australia, where the portrait of Elizabeth II will be replaced on new $5 notes with a design honoring indigenous culture, not an effigy of Charles III, announced Thursday 2 February the country's central bank. The five dollar note is the only one currently featuring the effigy of a British monarch in Australia.
The Reserve Bank of Australia said Indigenous people will be consulted on a new design that "honors the culture and history of early Australians". Designing and printing the new banknote will take "a number of years," she said. Banknotes bearing the likeness of the late Queen already in circulation will continue to be legal tender. The death of Queen Elizabeth on September 8 was marked by a day of national mourning in Australia, a member country of the Commonwealth whose official head of state is King Charles III, represented by a governor general. But some indigenous groups denounced the destructive consequences of British colonization, calling for the abolition of the monarchy.
The central bank said its decision was backed by the centre-left Labor government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, which favors a possible move towards an Australian republic. In 1999, a referendum on the issue saw the Republicans narrowly defeated. The disappearance of the effigy of the rulers was hailed by the Australian Republican Movement (ARM), which pointed out that indigenous peoples predated British colonization by 65,000 years. The central bank, however, did not discuss plans for the queen's face which appears on some coins in circulation.