Australia’s Next Generation Banknote $10 - the Bramble is Paler Than the Prickly Moses

Australia's NGB $10 banknote was released into general circulation on 20 September 2017, with nowhere near the same vacuous fury that we saw on social media 12 months earlier when the NGB $5 note was released.

It is interesting to speculate whether the paler appearance of the wattle either side of the clear vertical window on the NGB $10 relative to the NGB $5 was intentionally adjusted after the hue and cry of September 2016, however the official version from the RBA is that "The wattle flowers on the new $10 banknote are paler than those on the new $5 banknote – just like the two wattles in real life."

The test of the accuracy of this statement will be to compare images of any early specimens or press releases against the notes we’re seeing in circulation. I’m not an expert on the relative brightness of the Prickly Moses Wattle relative to the Bramble Wattle, however if these images are any indication, it does appear the Prickly Moses does indeed have brighter flowers.

As with the NGB $5 note, the NGB $10 banknote still features the same portraits seen on the equivalent First Generation polymer $10 - Dame Mary Gilmore and AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson. The style of their depiction has been refreshed, arguably from an earlier time in each person’s life.

Although the notes have been in circulation for close to 3 months now, here is a comparison table that explains the design features seen on each of our NGB notes:

Security Feature



Top Right Rolling Colour

Flying Eastern Spinebill & Prickly Moses Wattle

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo & Bramble Wattle

Bottom Left Security Feature In Clear Window

Federation Star

Pen Nib

Top-To-Bottom Window Feature 1

3D Federation Star

3D Pen Nib

Top-To-Bottom Window Feature 2

Flying Eastern Spinebill

Flying Cockatoo

Top-To-Bottom Window Feature 3

Colourful Eastern Spinebill

Colourful Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

Top-To-Bottom Window Feature 4

Reversing 5 in Federation Pavillion

Reversing 10 in Homestead

Flowers Either Side of Clear Window

Prickly Moses Wattle

Bramble Wattle

Tactile Feature

1 Raised Dot

2 Raised Dots

What I’ve found most interesting about the NGB $10 note is not so much the designs seen on the note, nor the security features, but it’s the way the notes are being distributed.

When the NGB $5 was released, it wasn’t unusual at all to be able to obtain bundles of notes with the same prefix - not all of the notes were consecutive mind you, however it was possible to obtain bundles of the first and last prefixes as an example.

I have to say that with the NGB $10, released just 12 months later and printed using the exact same machinery that was used to print the $5 note, I haven’t seen one intact bundle that contains notes all with the same prefix - anywhere.

For some reason, the bundles of NGB $10 notes that are being seen in the banking system feature notes with a range of prefixes - any particular bundle might start with notes that have the AA17 or EA 17 prefix, however that has been no guarantee at all that the remaining notes in those bundles have the same prefix.

For some reason, it looks like the notes are somehow being shuffled before being packaged into bundles. Just why that might be necessary for distribution purposes I’m not yet sure - I don’t recall seeing this for any other Australian banknote at all, polymer, NGB or otherwise!

It will be interesting to get an explanation for the reason for this apparent shuffling from someone that has knowledge of the reasons for it - as soon as I get clear on why this is happening, I’ll be sure to post it online.