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To learn more about the history of British pound and its relationship with the Australian dollar, keep reading below.
Exchange rates last updated Tuesday, 13 October 2020 6:05:00 PM AEDT. The online exchange rates provided by this Currency Converter are intended as a guide only and should not be used for transactional purposes. All rates are subject to change from time to time without notice. Exchange rates used in-store may differ from those offered online. The Travelex online buy rate will be used for conversions from a foreign currency to the local currency. The Travelex online sell rate will be used for conversions from the local currency to a foreign currency.
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The lowdown on British pounds
The oldest currency in the world that’s still in use today, the British pound dates all the way back to 760 when the Anglo-Saxons traded silver pennies known as sterling. With 240 of these pennies to call your own you had one pound, certainly an impressive fortune in the 8th century. Its name comes from the Latin Libra Pondo meaning ‘pound weight’, because its value was the price of a pound weight of silver. Simple!
In 1487 the shilling was born, with the pound coin following along just two years later. Gold coins were introduced in 1560 and copper pennies in 1672. In 1694, the world’s first central bank, the Bank of England was formed and notes were introduced as a way of saying ‘I owe you’, promising to pay the bearer the full amount in gold deposits.
By 1971, the UK did away with the confusing mixture of pounds, shillings, pence and guineas, instead bringing in the simple decimal system that’s used today.
You might hear someone referring to a British pound as sterling, a quid, squid or a nicker. Whatever you call it, the British currency is one that’s steeped in history and is the fourth most traded in the world.
A look back at British pound to Australian dollar rates
Back in 1966 when the Australian dollar was first introduced, it was fixed against the British pound at a rate of 1 AUD to 0.4 GBP. The peg was adjusted to US dollars on 9 September 1973 and set at 1 AUD to 1.487 USD, making the Australian dollar worth 0.58 British pounds, based on the USD/GBP rate of the time.
The Australian dollar was floated on 12 December 1983, which meant that its value could now fluctuate based on international money markets and supply and demand. This saw its value against the British pound reach 0.63.
Record highs and lows against the British pound
Over the next two decades, the Australian dollar faced huge fluctuations. The Black Monday stock market crash of October 1987 plunged the country into a recession throughout the early ‘90s, and the rate of Australian dollars to pounds fell from £0.75 to between £0.30 and £0.50 for much of the decade.
Economic reform saw the Aussie dollar reclaiming much of its worth since the 1990s, climbing steadily back up and reaching 0.688 by March of 2013.
However, in August of 2015, the Australian dollar fell quickly after China’s central bank announced its devaluation of the yuan, placing it at its lowest against the US dollar for three years, and 1 Australian dollar worth £0.45. China hoped to improve the country’s weakening export by devaluing the yuan by almost 2%. As of June 2017, the rate has climbed back up to 1 AUD to 0.59 GBP.
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