Golly if you remember pounds, shillings and pence you’re as old as I am!
The decimal currency is definitely an improvement over the old system but I still know my 12 times table. A bit hard to forget, the 12 times table, it was one of those things drummed into our heads like the ABC song and the catechism. The very bricks of the school building would sway rhythmically in time with the class of seven year olds chanting …
One twelve is 12
Two twelves are 24
Three twelves are 36
and so on ad nauseum.
Still, you never know when knowledge like this will come in handy, mentally calculating large numbers of eggs in cartons for example, or for baffling grandchildren.
A long wait for decimal currency
Sensible people wanted decimal currency at the turn of the twentieth century, there was a cry for Australia to be modernised. A government select committe, sitting from 1901 to 1904 recommended it but conservative elements feared this would place Australia at odds with Great Britain.
In 1959 attitudes changed and after heaps of hot air and hullabaloo, the government told us that decimal currency would be based on a 10 shilling/100 cent system and that the major unit would be called the Royal. The Royal! We were told that the name ‘Royal’ demonstrated our loyalty to the Queen of England.
I recall a public naming competition with suggestions such as the Emu, Digger, Oz, Boomer, Roo, Kanga, Kwid and Dinkum. I personally favoured the “Kwid”. Sadly, we ended up with the mundane ‘Dollar’.
So the education campaign started in 1963.
Here’s a TV commercial in the ‘Dollar Bill’ campaign.