Wattle aficionados are celebrating the inclusion of the national floral emblem Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) on an Australian banknote for the first time. The yellow bloom featured on the new $100 note which was released into general circulation on October 29.
Members of the Wattle Day Association were out early, lining up outside the Canberra branch of the Reserve Bank to secure their piece of monetary history, the new note also featuring engineer and military leader Sir John Monash and operatic soprano Dame Nellie Melba.
Canberra scientist Dr Phillip Kodela was intimately involved in the design of the new $100 as a botanical advisor for the Next Generation Banknote Program for the Reserve Bank.
He was the subject matter expert for the botanical inclusions on the note - the wattle, but also poppies, which highlight Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance, which is also on the note. Monash was instrumental in getting the shrine built in his home town.
Dr Kodela said different species of wattle featured on all the Australian bank notes but the new $100 note was the first time the Golden Wattle had got a guernsey.
"All the features of the wattle have been checked for the leaf sizes and the number of flower heads and the dimensions, all that's botanically correct," he said. "Even though the flowers themselves are abstract, they are botanically, scientifically correct."
Wattle Day Association president Dr Suzette Searle said it was so important to have the Golden Wattle featured because it was the national floral emblem.
Another association member, Pat Wright, explained it this way: "It's what represents you as an Australian".
The Reserve Bank has been progressively upgrading the security of Australia's banknotes, starting with the $5 banknote in 2015 and ending with the $100 release yesterday.
Dr Searle said with 1350 wattle species to choose from, the association had expected the Golden Wattle would be on that first $5 note back in 2015, but it wasn't to be .
"We've had to wait five years. Each year, they've put out a different note with a different wattle on it and finally in 2020 we've got the Golden Wattle, Acacia pycnantha, on a banknote for the first time. Huge," she said.
"Now the moment has come and we can finally get our hands on them."