Excellent 1966 Australian PSA on the switch from £sd to decimalized currency

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/12/31/excellent-1966-australian-psa-on-the-switch-from-sd-to-decimalized-currency.html


The 50 cent coin had to be changed later because it was too similar to the 20c.

I was one year old when this change went through so I don’t remember the old system.


Early mainframe computers could be hard-coded to work in £sd math … crazy!!


Holy shit - i had no idea it was like this.

So does the UK still use this system, or did they convert their pound to a decimal and forgo the shilling and pence?

ETA - never mind - I see from the recommended video - the day Britain went Decimal.

What on earth kind of accent does the little dude have in the video?

It almost sounds like an American doing a bad “British” accent.

I think its appropriate for a time when many entertainers were expected to have English accents.

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UK moved to decimalized currency in the early 1970s. I wasn’t even aware of the bizareness of this system until watching an episode of Repair Shop where they were restoring an old cash register and I was flummoxed by its various weird symbols.

It’s about as ridiculous as us Americans stubbornly continuing to use imperial measurements when metric is so much better.


As famously overheard on a bus about the time decimalisation happened “They could have at least waited until all the old people were dead”


I think it’s subtly different.

In UK currency, it was 12 pennies to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound. The brits set the value of the shilling (12 denarii or pennies) equal to 5 newpence. This means that there are 20*5 newpence to the pound

The Australian scheme sets the exchange rate at 5 cent= 6 pence. The dollar is 120 old pence, or half of an old pound.

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That makes sense. It probably was an Aussie taking his posh Oz accent up a notch and just going English. But there is something odd about how he pronounces Rs in the middle of words. It sounds neither English nor Australian. Sounds more like dollers than than dollahs.

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When I lived in Australia for a while in the early noughts, they also had abandoned using pennies and rounded to the nearest 5¢ when using cash, it was SO NICE. And tax was computed before the final price, so everything had nice round final prices, which was again SO NICE. Moved back to the states again and have been dealing with nasty decimals again ever since.


To be clear: we abandoned one and two cent coins. Pennies would refer to previous, non-decimal currency.


Some of the Brexiters want to go back to £sd, even though no-one under 50 remembers it.


Haha. Tony Abbott (now living in the UK and 100% their problem) re-introduced knighthoods in Australia. He’s gone now and that change has been quietly forgotten.


He’s only a minor problem at the moment, unless de Pfeffel puts him in the House of Lords

Well NOW you tell me.

You might also remember that the original 50 cent coin had more than 50 cents worth of Silver in it (about 53 cents if I remember correctly). That made it an attractive proposition for smarties to amass and the situation became rampant - with loads of coins going offshore (to China I believe) where it was melted down for easy profit. Later iterations of the coin had their metal composition adjusted. I miss all those coins. In fact I miss every penny I ever owned.

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Not just entertainers. The true Australian accent was then considered uncouth and everyone from politicians to radio announcers had a proper “British” accent. Listen to old recordings of newreaders on the ABC and you’d think you were in another world. I think that “properness” may also be resurfacing with “dahnce” and “chahnce” being more occassionaly heard even on JJJ - rather than dance and chance. Perhaps this is a bit of creepy class consciousness?

As a kid I had an aunt who used to give me 50c coins as a present on a regular basis. These were the later coins but I wonder if the silver content in the original coin was the reason.

Yes I have a young sister who migrated to the UK (can’t image why) but she does that to me all the time. Talking in the way you describe and claiming not to understand “you Australians”.

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