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Before Harold Holt saw cents, there was a right royal runaround en route to dollar we call our own
Australia's decimal currency celebrates its 50th birthday this week, but it nearly had another name altogether.
This week marks a momentous Australian anniversary. Fifty years ago this weekend — on February 14, 1966 - we switched our currency from the venerable colonial pound to the shiny, freshly minted Australian dollar.
It was a bright new day for a bright new country, the first step, many hoped, on the road to entirely severing the mother country's apron strings.
Half a century later we don't think twice about the name on the money in our pocket but for a while what it was to be called was front page news.
And there was a right royal bump in the road on the way to the dollar's eventual dominance.
In April 1963, Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced that pounds, shillings and pence were to be ditched in favour of decimal coinage.
In the wake of this bombshell, the whole country had an opinion about what the new money should be named.
The kwid, the champ, the deci-mate and even the hughes were among hundreds of names suggested.
There were other, more tempered possibilities — the austral and the emu had their supporters — but one name was the standout, the obvious and best choice, and on June 5, 1963, Treasurer Harold Holt revealed all.
Our currency would be, he told Parliament and an expectant nation, the royal.
Full article http://www.smh.com.au/money/before-haro … mo8h8.html
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