The first Australians used a barter system, with items such as tools, food, ochres, shells, raw materials and stories.
Australian Coin History
Early Settlers' Currency
A varied collection of international coins, tradesmen's tokens and promissory notes were used by European settlers, while soldiers participated in the notorious rum trade.
The First Official Currency
Spanish dollars were converted into two Australian coins known as the 'dump' and the 'holey dollar' in 1813. In 1825, the British government made the English Pound the only form of legal currency in Australian colonies.
Great fortune was found in Australian soil during the gold rush in the 1800s. Gold was turned into ingots and tokens for trading, and in 1855 an official mint opened in Sydney to turn the gold into coins called sovereigns.
In 1910, nine years after Australia federated as a nation, a national Australian currency was formed, based on the British money system of pounds, shillings and pence.
On 14 February 1966, Australia introduced the decimal currency system of dollars and cents that is still in use today.
Australian Coin History downloadable factsheet.