In Australia, the currency also carries faces of the dead. The only exception is the five-dollar note, which depicts a rather youthful Queen Elizabeth II and sketches of the capital city of Canberra as it was redesigned beginning in 1913. But the remaining faces have all been laid to rest. However, unlike the United States these people are far less political yet more interesting and diverse.
The $10 note pays tribute to writers. There's bush poet Andrew Barton "Banjo" Patterson and poet/journalist Dame Mary Gilmore. Two pioneering individuals can be found on the $20 note: convict-turned-shipping-magnate Mary Reibey and Reverend John Flynn who founded the world's first aerial medical agency: the Royal Flying Doctor Service. On the $50 note you can find inventor David Unaipon (first Aboriginal to wrote and publish a book) and the first female representative elected to Parliament (in 1921 just a year after women were given the right to vote in the United States, though in Australia women voted since 1901) Edith Cowan.
Last we have the highest denomination, the $100 note, which features the likenesses of world-renowned soprano opera singer Dame Nellie Melba as well as engineer and World War II commander General Sir John Monash. Australia's $1 and $2 coins, introduced in 1984 and 1988 respectively, along with the 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent pieces show the more natural, native side of the nation. From kangaroos to emu to a tribal Aborigine the images pay tribute to what was already on the continent before the influx of Europeans. Of course, they all can still be found there.
These iconic people will undoubtedly hold up to wear much better than Lincoln, Washington, and the others on US dollar notes. That's because Australia was the first country to make their notes out of a polymer beginning in 1988 to help curb counterfeiting. Having just received my converted currency from the bank I can see the advantages. It behaves very similarly but since it's a form of plastic it can't be ripped in two. Of course, nothing—even plastic—is infallible. Currency values fluctuate in uncertain times. Right now, the Australian dollar is having a bit of trouble. But nothing lasts forever.