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An Embarrassing Typo on 400 Million $50 Australian Currency Notes Went Unnoticed for Six Months

Last Updated June 14, 2024 8:44 AM
Stephen Samuels
Last Updated June 14, 2024 8:44 AM

By CCN.com: The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) made a serious spelling mistake that was printed on approximately 400 million $50 currency notes, of which 46 million are in circulation, adding up to roughly $1.6 billion dollars worth of misspelled currency.

The typo can be seen in extremely tiny print on the back of the banknote, which is part of a speech by Australia’s first female member of parliament, Edith Cowan. The note also shows another Australian cultural icon: David Unaipon, who is an aboriginal writer and inventor.

The error occurs three times where “great responsibility” is misspelled as “great responsibilty.”

The mistake was picked up by a caller of the local news station, Triple M, six months after the currency notes were released in October 2018. The caller sent in a magnified photo of the banknote and was uploaded to the station’s Instagram, quickly going viral.


The spelling mistake is now in circulation on about half of the newly redesigned banknotes that were printed in February 2018. Despite the typos, the notes will remain as legal tender as they continue to circulate throughout Australia.

People on social media were quick to poke fun at the badly designed banknotes and led to a minor Twitter storm of discussion and irony.

Addressing the banknote blunder, a spokesperson for the RBA said :

[We] are of it and the spelling will be corrected at the next print run.

New banknote features, including typos

As part of the redesign, the notes come with anti-counterfeiting features as well as top-to-bottom clear windows. Other features of the notes make them easier to identify for the visually-impaired and are made of a plastic material.

When the notes were first introduced, a bulletin was issued by the RBA to give clarity on the reasons behind the change. The bulletin stated that the new bills were intended to increase people’s confidence in the banknotes as a store of wealth and payment method.

The process has involved integrating artistic designs that reflect Australia’s cultural identity with a range of complex technical features designed to make the banknotes very difficult to counterfeit.

Banknotes in other denominations including $10, and $5 notes are also in circulation but have not yet reported being filled with errors or spelling mistakes.