Australia’s Next Generation Banknote $50 Is Now In Circulation - A True Black Swan Event

One of the biggest business books of the past decade was surely "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable”, written by Nassim Taleb and published in 2007.

Taleb's book focuses on the impact that rare and unpredictable events have, as well as the human tendency to retrospectively find simplistic explanations for these events. (Named by Taleb as "Black Swan Theory”).

As the release of Australia’s NGB $50 note into circulation on October 10th 2018 had been meticulously planned and even publicised it definitely would not be classified by Taleb as a "Black Swan event", however as there are several black swans featured in the designs either side, we may be able to classify the launch as a black swan event on that technicality....

The table below lists the main characteristics of each of Australia's NGB notes, you can see that there are two black swans listed as visible on the $50:

Security Features




Top Right Rolling Colour

Flying Eastern Spinebill & Prickly Moses Wattle

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo & Bramble Wattle

Black Swan

Bottom Left Security Feature In Clear Window

Federation Star

Pen Nib

Open Book

Top-To-Bottom Window Feature 

3D Federation Star

3D Pen Nib

3d Book

Top-To-Bottom Window Feature 

Flying Eastern Spinebill & Prickly Moses Wattle

Flying Cockatoo

Colourful Black Swan

Top-To-Bottom Window Feature 

Colourful Eastern Spinebill

Colourful Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

Flying Black Swan

Top-To-Bottom Window Feature 

Reversing 5 in Federation Pavillion

Reversing 10 in Homestead

Raukkan Church

Flowers Either Side of Clear Window

Prickly Moses Wattle

Bramble Wattle

Acacia Humifusa

Tactile Feature

1 Raised Dot

2 Raised Dots

4 Raised Dots





Release Date

September 1st 2016

September 20th 2017

October 10th 2018

There is an additional black swan in the designs however, one that only becomes visible when the note is placed under ultra-violet light, as you can see in the images below.

I believe the muted public reception of the NGB $50 note is due to the design and colour continuity between the 1st Generation $50 note and the NGB $50 - compare the two together and you’ll see they are very, very similar.I believe the improvement in printing technology has allowed the lines in the intaglio print to be applied much more finely than on previous designs - that is plainly evident when comparing the two portraits of Edith Cowan to each other.

As the $50 note is the denomination seen in circulation more often than any other denomination, this in turn means that the 1st prefixes will be much rarer relative to all of the other prefixes printed for this denomination across 2018.

Due to the sheer number of notes required to replace those in circulation, my understanding is that up to 3 different sheets will be used - 2 more than was used for either the NGB $5 or the NGB $10.

A Distinct Western Australian Theme

Us Sangropers here in Western Australia can often complain that we're overlooked in the general scheme of things when it comes to such things as the distribution of the GST and credit where credit is due - whether such complaints are valid or not are of course quite another thing.

The NGB $50 note has a distinct West Aussie theme to it however:

- Edith Cowan was Western Australian born and bred;

- The black swan is featured on the Western Australia's State coat of arms;

- King Edward Memorial Hospital is featured on the top left of the front of the note;

- The wattle used within the designs of this note (Acacia Humifusa) is native to the Kimberley region of the Far North of WA;and

- An outline of the seating plan for the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia can be seen on the right hand side of the front of the note when under ultra violet light.

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