Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Polymer Money: Who Is On The Australian $10 Note?

Banjo Paterson 1864 - 1941

Banjo Paterson 1864 - 1941 is on the front of the $10 Australian polymer note. Who is he? Paterson was named Andrew Barton Paterson at birth, born to grazers Andrew Bogle and Rose Isabella Paterson. He was called Barty by his family and "Banjo" by friends and the outer world at large.
Now I don't know about you but I'm excited to find out that the man who actually wrote the popular tune "Waltzing Matilda" is on the face of one of his country's banknotes.

Banjo Paterson is the man who wrote this world famous ballad, he was a poet, ballad writer, journalist and horseman. Here is an excerpt of one of his poems.

"We're All Australians Now"

Australia takes her pen in hand
To write a line to you,
To let you fellows understand
How proud we are of you.

From shearing shed and cattle run,
From Broome to Hobson's Bay,
Each native-born Australian son
Stands straighter up today....

Read the full poem of this polymer money poet.

He was quite prolific and you can find links to his works listed on this Banjo Paterson page.

Mary Gilmore (1865 - 1962)

Mary Gilmore is also to be found on the reverse of the Australian $10 note. She was born in New South Wales on 16 August 1865, her parents moved around Australia a lot after her first birthday. She had a very varied education as an outback child but grew up to train and become a teacher.

Mary is a very popular figure in Australian history, she was a poet, unionist and journalist of some sorts. She is known to have held very strong political views often championing the causes of women, children and the indigenous Australians.

Her literary works were viewed mostly as political propaganda by many, but for me
"No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest", which inspired the illustration on the $10 note is poignant and very patriotic. She wrote this in 1940 when Australia was in danger of being attached by the Japanese.

No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest

Sons of the mountains of Scotland,
Welshmen of coomb and defile,
Breed of the moors of England,
Children of Erin's green isle,
We stand four square to the tempest,
Whatever the battering hail-
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail.

Our women shall walk in honour,
Our children shall know no chain,
This land, that is ours forever,
The invader shall strike at in vain.
Anzac!...Tobruk!...and Kokoda!...
Could ever the old blood fail?
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail...

To read the rest of the poem go to this Mary Gilmore page.

Interestingly enough the text of this poem is also on the note in micro print as part of the security features. Mary Gilmore was made a Dame in 1937 despite her political views. She died in 1962 at the ripe age of 97.

The Australian $10 note therefore graces the faces of top Australian Poets who loved their countries, but remained true to themselves. Australia for me is now becoming a cultural forerunner for the west than I ever thought was possible and "Waltzing Matilda" has a lot to do with this.

No comments: