After the capture of German New Guinea in September, 1914, one of the earliest engagements of World War I, the Australian Treasury released an emergency issue of paper money which circulated with the German currency. The notes became famous as the Rabaul Treasury banknotes.
1914 German New Guinea
Commonwealth Government of Australia
Denominations of 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 marks were printed on poor quality paper. The conversion rate used was 1 mark = 1 shilling. A total of between £2,600 and £4,500 worth of notes were issued against gold and silver coins brought in to pay the Australian troops.
The opening of a branch of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in the area in 1916 enabled a complete change to sterling and the withdrawal of both the German currency and the emergency notes. A total of only 29 notes are known to have survived.
Five Marks 1914The note shown at right, is dated 14th October, 1914.
Notes:A full set of Rabaul Treasury banknotes, with the serial number 0001, resides in a museum in Germany. In 2000, the museum commissioned a re-print of 3,000 complete sets. The reproductions, which sold in Australia for $25 per set, were housed in individually numbered presentation folders.
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Last modified: 05 December, 2007