Catherine Spence and Henry Parkes never realised what a huge collectible they would one day become. It is a huge honor to be given a spot on the currency banknotes of Australia but there personal endeavors were nothing short of outstanding.
These notes were only available for a very short time and many were used in everyday circulation. Here is one that escaped and is still in mint uncirculated condition.
It has remarkable technological achievements in polymer banknote security features found on no other Australian banknote.
A solid collection of these will make an average collection look pretty good indeed.
The Federation 5 dollar note incorporates these very special security features:
1. The clear window contains an embossing of the number ‘5’. Part of this window is mauve coloured in appearance.
2. Very slightly raised printing can be felt by running your finger or fingernail across the main design elements, such as the portraits, the notes denomination numeral and the word Australia.
3. The words of Parkes’ Tenterfield speech (Obverse) and ‘Advance Australia Fair’ (Reverse) are reproduced in microprint and can be read with the aid of a magnifying glass.
4. When the note is held up to the light, a seven pointed star within a circle is formed by four points on one side of the note combining perfectly with three points on the other side.
5. A hidden number ‘5’ below the small printed triangle in the bottom right hand corner of the back of the note is revealed when that area of the note is viewed through the mauve coloured area of the clear window. To see this better fold the note so that the triangle in the window is on top of, and in direct contact with, the printed triangle. To accentuate the effect, move the triangle in the window around the printed triangle.
6. Intricate, multi-coloured, fine-line patterns and images appear on both sides of the note.
7. The serial number of each note is printed vertically on the reverse side of the note. Under ultraviolet light the serial number is fluorescent.
8. Under ultraviolet light on the reverse of the note, the stars of the Southern Cross, the sunburst, the yellow orientation bars at the top and bottom of the note, and the wattle flowers will all fluoresce. There is a spray of wattle leaves and the numeral ‘5’, that are normally not visible, which also become visible under ultraviolet light.
Obverse: Sir Henry Parkes, GCMG (27 May 1815 – 27 April 1896) was an Australian statesman, the “Father of Federation.”
As the earliest advocate of a Federal Council of the then colonies of Australia, a precursor to the Federation of Australia, he is generally considered the most prominent of the Australian Founding Fathers. Parkes was described during his lifetime by The Times as “the most commanding figure in Australian politics”. Alfred Deakin described him as “though not rich or versatile, his personality was massive, durable and imposing, resting upon elementary qualities of human nature elevated by a strong mind. He was cast in the mould of a great man and though he suffered from numerous pettinesses, spites and failings, he was in himself a large-brained self-educated Titan whose natural field was found in Parliament and whose resources of character and intellect enabled him in his later years to overshadow all his contemporaries”.
Reverse: Catherine Helen Spence (31 October 1825 – 3 April 1910) was an Australian author, teacher, journalist, politician and leading suffragette. In 1897 she became Australia’s first female political candidate after standing (unsuccessfully) for the Federal Convention held in Adelaide. Known as the “Greatest Australian Woman” and given the epitaph “Grand Old Woman of Australasia”, Spence is commemorated on the Australian 5 dollar note issued for the Centenary of Federation of Australia. Spence was born in Melrose, Scotland, as the fifth child in a family of eight. In 1839, following sudden financial difficulties, the family emigrated to South Australia, arriving in November 1839 at a time when the colony had experienced several years of drought and the contrast to her native Scotland made her “inclined to go and cut my throat”. Nevertheless, the family endured seven months “encampment” growing wheat on an eighty acre (32 ha) selection before moving to Adelaide.
Watermark: With the introduction of the new polymer banknotes we saw the end of the customary watermark. It was replaced with a Variable Optical Security Devices.
Bibliography of Catherine Helen Spence:
Clara Morison: A Tale of South Australia During the Gold Fever (1854)
Tender and True: A Colonial Tale (1856)
Mr. Hogarth’s Will (1865) originally serialised as Uphill Work in the (Adelaide) Weekly Mail
The Author’s Daughter (1868) originally serialised as Hugh Lindsay’s Guest in the (Adelaide) Observer
Gathered In serialised in Observer and Journal and Queenslander, possibly never published in book form
An Agnostic’s Progress from the Known to the Unknown (1884)
A Week in the Future (1889)
Handfasted (1984) Penguin Originals ISBN 0-14-007505-4
A Plea for Pure Democracy (1861) pamphlet praised by John Stuart Mill and Thomas Hare
The laws we live under (1880) for South Australian Education Department
State children in Australia: A history of boarding out and its developments (1909) principally dealing with the work of Emily Clark This book was used by the British Home Secretary when at the end of her reign Queen Victoria asked him to formulate Child Laws in Britain that up until that time were non-existent. He wrote and thanked her for her work.
Catherine Helen Spence: An autobiography (1910) (unfinished, but completed posthumously by Spence’s friend Jeanne Young, working from diaries.)
*All biographical details are taken from Wikipedia for education purposes only.