Have you noticed the fresh new polymer “tenner” floating around Australia recently? Or better yet, do you have one of those bad-boys in your wallet?
The new note will continue to flaunt the same historical characters that it has since 1993 but the very first $10 note following the move to Australia’s own decimal currency in 1966, presented two different individuals...
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Francis Greenway was born to a family of stonemasons, builders, and architects. He followed in the footsteps of his ancestors with a career path in architecture. In March 1812, Greenway pleaded guilty to forging a financial document and was sentenced to death. However, his sentence was changed to 14 years transportation in Australia.
Upon arrival in Australia via the ship General Hewitt in February 1814 as a convict, he reinstated his private architectural practice.
Governor Lachlan Macquarie contracted Greenway a year later to design the Rum Hospital.Unfortunately the project was a disaster, the government and fellow contractors lost a lot of money due to Greenway’s faux pars.
In 1815 he worked for the government as a civil architect for 3.s /day in a last ditch attempt to redeem his reputation. He later designed the lighthouse known as Macquarie Tower on the southern extremity of Port Jackson, the Hyde Park Barracks, extensions of the First Government House and St James’ Church in Sydney’s CBD.
Macquarie alleged that the fees that greenway charged were exorbitant for the work he had done and was later dismissed by the next Governor, Thomas Brisbane in 1882.
In 1837, with the exact date still unknown, Francis Greenway died of typhoid. Although, his design and architectural legacy can be seen scattered across New South Wales.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Henry Archibald Hertzberg Lawson, was an author and poet. He was responsible for some some of the most iconic Australian short stories and ballads.
He was born on 17 July 1867 at Grenfell, New South Wales to parents who illegitimately boarded a ship that saw them sifting into the Australian gold rush.
Lawson had a lonely a childhood. At a young age he was estranged from his family. In 1876, following an earache, he awoke with a slight deafness that would progress to a permanent hearing loss which further devastated his psychological state.
Lawson didn’t finish school and began working as a labourer. Around the same time, he began writing, and his interaction with his mother’s republican friends drove the inception for his first published poem, ‘A Song of the Republic’ (Bulletin, 1 October 1887) at age 20. This was followed by ‘The Wreck of the Derry Castle’ and ‘Golden Gully.' While he lived in the city, his experiences from the outback created an anecdotal presence that shone through his work and won the hearts of the nation.
Dame Mary Gilmore
The Australian writer and journalist was born on 16 August 1865 at Cotta Walla just outside of Goulburn, New South Wales.
Gilmore, a school teacher in the countryside was transferred to the big city known as Sydney. It was in Sydney where she became immersed in the burgeoning labour movement and an adherent of socialism views.
Gilmore found work with The Australian Worker as an editor of the women’s section from 1908 to 1931. She also wrote for The Bulletin and The Sydney Morning Herald and became a recognised advocate for the welfare of the marginalised.
Dame Gilmore’s first volume of poetry was published in 1910, and she continued to write throughout the rest of her life, catching public attention with her perceptions of life in the outback. Her most notable work “No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest” was an uplifting literary piece during the darkness of WWII.
Gilmore was a common player in media and television, and her wisdom was revered and valued right up till the last book she ever published at the ripe age of 89. She would continue to write for the Tribune which was the official news publication of the Communist Party until her death at age 97, in 1962.
Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson
Banjo Paterson, as he was commonly known was a poet, solicitor, journalist, and soldier born on the 17th of February 1864 at Narrambla near Orange, NSW.
He lived a privileged childhood in the bushland of North West New South Wales. At the age of 7, his family moved to Illalong near the Yass district where he established a deep fondness of horses and horsemanship.
The bush poet was the writer and composer of the infamous ‘Waltzing Matilda’. Paterson’s equally iconic poem, ‘The Man from Snowy River’ was first published in The Bulletin in 1890. A famous epic of a horseback chase and wrangling of a colt of a highly decorated racehorse that had previously escaped to the mountain ranges.
Following his return home after WWI, he continued to write and publish verse, short stories, and essays and released his third collection of poetry, Saltbush Bill PJ.
He died of a heart attack in Sydney on the 5th of February 1941, aged 76, but his life’s work is still held in high esteem across the nation today.