Monday, August 27, 2007

Dollar Dan

I heard the lyrics to the song that was played on tv to advertise the conversion in Australia from pounds, shillings and pence to decimal currency. I am not sure if I can recall the ad when it was shown or I have seen it since in archive footage. It was sung to the tune of Click Go the Shears. Clearly using a cartoon character would be risky if he was called Dollar Bill. The anti Americans would have been out in force. So we called our little chap Dollar Dan.

In come the dollars and in come the cents
to replace the pounds and the shillings and the pence.
Be prepared folks when the coins begin to mix
on the 14th of February 1966.

Clink go the cents folks
clink, clink, clink. Changeover day is closer than you think.
Learn the value of the coins and the way that they appear
and things will be much smoother when the decimal point is here.

In come the dollars and in come the cents
to replace the pounds and the shillings and the pence.
Be prepared folks when the coins begin to mix
on the 14th of February 1966.

Very catchy little tune it was, ah well Click go the Shears is catchy.

And mix they did. I lived in the country then and I was not quite born, but I vividly recall the excitement of seeing a shiny new five cent piece from the local shop. I was not too concerned that six pence only got me five cents. A round fifty cent piece was an absolute fortune, but I think they came a bit later. Any shop keeper who gave me old money in my change received a little boy look of disappointment.


At some point I learned how to add pounds shillings and pence, but it was long after they had disappeared. It certainly was not easy. Ten is not your base number but twelve is. Four pound, eleven shillings and sixpence. Maybe $8 dollars, plus $1, plus five cents. Screw the pennies that were the size of a side plate and never mind the guineas that I seem to recall as being 21 shillings, one shilling more than a pound. No one I knew called them shillings though, they were a bob, or ten bob which was half a pound. A hapeny, (I don't believe half penny were in use when decimal currency started), tupence, thripence, fivepence, a bob, two bob, a quid, a fiver, and tenner. I don't remember there being a nickname for twenty pound. It was such a large amount of money, it deserved some respect.

My grandparents were very concerned that about the devaluing of their fortune when decimal currency arrived. It is a shame that they weren't more concerned about inflation that actually ruined their wealth. They both died in the late 1970's. They never quite adjusted to decimal currency. They always had a feeling of being ripped off when something cost two dollars and it should only be one pound.

I suppose my grandparents learnt their financial lessons through their lives, which included two world wars and a very serious economical depression. I learnt one lesson from them. Money in the bank is not a good thing. Who knows when inflation will hit and your money will be devalued. I have successfully put this into practice through my life by never having any money in the bank, except for a couple of years when I was saving for my first house.

Actually, I wonder how I have arrived at my age without any money in the bank? Money just comes in and goes out. So long as it continues to come in, I guess I will survive.

3 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about the fifty-cent piece. I have a silver dollar that my grandfather gave me. It's one of my best treasures.

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  2. Money?

    Money in the bank?!

    You silly old bugger Shirl, what's wrong with pre decimal beads, mirrors, swap cards and cowrie shells?

    If you work the money market cleverly enough you can exchange five cowrie shells for a guinea. (And the beauty of that transaction is that neither GST nor capital gains tax is applicable ... but you knew that didn't you, you old canny market player you.)

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  3. Our money often amuses US folk Daisy. Notes are plastic and very colourful. Our present fifty cent piece is, ah, I don't have one to check, octagonal I think.

    I guess you would get a lot more for your fifty cent piece than its face value.

    I don't know about markets M'lord. I know about flogging off assets though.

    ReplyDelete

Whenever I wish I was young again, I am sobered by memories of algebra.