John Ash succeeded Thomas Harrison as the Australian Note Printer in 1927 and oversaw the printing of a new series of banknotes, known as the Ash Series. First issued between 1933 and 1934, the new banknotes sought to improve the currency's resistance to counterfeiting.
A special watermark was created to increase the security of the new series. Shaped as a medallion, the watermark showed the profile of Edward, the Prince of Wales. A new portrait of the King was also introduced, depicting him frontally rather than in profile as he had appeared in the prior banknotes of the Harrison Series (1923-1925).
The back of each denomination contained an individual vignette that reflected a sector of the country's economy. The wool and agricultural industries were represented, as they had been in the first series of the nation's banknotes (1913-1914), and they were joined by manufacturing and commerce.
The prominent British sculptor, Paul Montford, contributed to the design of the new series. Recognised for his sculptural works on the exterior of Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance, Montford was commissioned to produce relief sculptures that formed the basis of the banknotes' vignettes. His sculptures were translated into wash drawings by Frank Manley, the artist and engraver for the Commonwealth Bank's Note Printing Branch.
Manley accentuated the sculpture's three-dimensional qualities with deep shadows and touches of illusionism. A sheep in Montford's pastoral scene, for example, stands forward from the frame as if entering the viewer's space to escape branding and Manley preserves this visual conceit in his drawing.
Whereas the printing of the previous series of Australian banknotes had been criticised for its poor definition, the sculptural basis of the Ash Series clarified the banknotes' imagery. During a period of record unemployment, the scenes emphasised the strength of the human figure in gestures of labour, evoking classical, heroic qualities in their poses. The sculptural forms suggested stability in the turbulence of the Great Depression and imparted a sense of solidity to paper currency.
Commonwealth of Australia paper one pound note in green and white tones depicting graphics and text. The obverse has a framed design with a blank portal to the left and King George VI in the right portal. The centre shows the Australian Coat of Arms, serial number, and detail over one pound symbol on a mosaic background, with signatories below. The reverse features a framed pastoral scene with farmers tending sheep, with a blank portal to the right.
Obverse: ONE / 1 / 1 / ONE / COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA / K / 58 / 790230 / K / 58 / 790230 / This Note is legal tender for / ONE POUND / in the Commonwealth and in all / Territories under the control of the / Commonwealth. / [signature] / GOVERNOR / COMMONWEALTH BANK ON AUSTRALIA / [signature] / SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY
Reverse: 1 /1 / 1 / 1 / PASTORAL
currency, money, pound note, pastoral scene, industry, commonwealth of australia, paul montford, king george vi, frank manly, john ash