Typo on Australian Banknote


Australia printed 400 million $50 bills with a typo, and about 46 million of them are in use.

On the front of the bill, we see a picture of Edith Cowan, who was a social reformer and Australia’s first female parliamentarian. Near her shoulder, we also see a transcript of her first speech to the the Western Australian Parliament. In tiny print, but clear when it’s enlarged, is a misspelling of “responsibility,” missing the third “i.” The bills were in circulation for about six months before discovered by a radio station.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has since confirmed the mistake, saying it will correct the error in the next print run. A spokesperson explained the error:

“The process of designing and printing a banknote is complex and iterative. We have strict quality assurance processes, but like any manufacturing process, errors can occur. We have reviewed our processes to remove the likelihood of such an error occurring in the future.”


  • How does an error like this happen? How could it have been prevented?

  • How do you assess the bank’s response? Who is the audience, and what are the communication objectives? What, if anything, should the bank say or do differently now?