Australia’s new $5 banknote enters circulation today. Nothing special about that right? Well think again.

The special part is a new ‘tactile’ feature to help the vision-impaired community distinguish between different banknote denominations. The tactile feature on the $5 banknote is one raised bump on each of the long edges of the banknote next to the top-to-bottom window. And this all came about because of the tenacity of a then 12 year old visually impaired boy.

“Before today, I could only tell the difference between coins. That’s fine for the tuck shop, but what about when I get older? Mum won’t be around forever to help me. I realised I’d need to learn how to use notes, because — hopefully — when I’m older, I’ll have more money than just coins to deal with!” says Connor McLeod, now 15.

“I was already thinking about this when I was given some money for a Christmas present inside a card, but had no idea how much it was and how generous or tight-arse the present-giver had been! It was frustrating and slightly embarrassing. If I come across something that doesn’t sound right, I like to do something about it rather than just complain. So me and mum logged on to and started a petition asking for the next print of bank notes to include tactile markings.

At first, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) refused to include tactile markings for the notes that come out today. I found out that Australia actually prints banknotes with tactile markings on them for other countries and sends them there, but they wouldn’t do it here. Can you believe that?!

Me and mum had to find a way to prove that there was a need for bank notes for blind people here. When 57,000 people signed my petition, we kind of proved that need. We could then ask those signers to contact the RBA and put the pressure on. Still, they refused. Then me and mum went to Canberra and met a politician who worked in the treasury. We delivered our petition to him. After that, things started to change and sound more positive.”

Read Connor’s full story here. What a little champion.

The new $5 banknote has a range of security features that have not previously been used on an Australian banknote and that will help to keep our banknotes secure against counterfeiting into the future. New features include a world-first clear top-to-bottom window and a number of dynamic features that change as the banknote is tilted.


The $5 banknote is the first in a new series and other denominations will be upgraded over coming years. Each banknote in the series will incorporate the same security features. Additionally, they will each feature a different species of Australian wattle and a native bird within a number of distinctive elements. The new $5 banknote features the Prickly Moses wattle and the Eastern Spinebill.

The existing $5 banknote will be progressively withdrawn from circulation but can continue to be used as usual. All previously issued banknotes remain legal tender. It will take some time for the new banknotes to be widely circulated.

Further information on the new banknote, including a video explaining the new features, can be found at