Many readers will be aware of the recent, prominent campaign to have eye surgeon Fred Hollows, genuinely regarded by many as an iconic Australian, replace Queen Elizabeth on the Australian five dollar note. The campaign generated so much interest, both in Australia and internationally, that the Reserve Bank of Australia presented the Fred Hollows Foundation with artwork showing what a note could look like, even though the design will not be adopted by the bank. A poll conducted by the Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper recorded more than 88% of respondents favoured the proposal.
The Bank of Canada recently called for nominations for an iconic Canadian woman to be the subject of a new banknote. The Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences is seeking support for their nomination of Alice Wilson, Canada’s first female geologist, to appear on the note.
Alice Evelyn Wilson MBE FRSC (August 26, 1881 – April 15, 1964) was a Canadian geologist and paleontologist. She conducted field studies on rocks and fossils in the Ottawa region between 1913 and 1963. She became the first female Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1937. In 1935, she was a Member of the Order of the British Empire. The Royal Society of Canada established the Alice Wilson awards for emerging women scholars in 1991.
Should the nomination be successful, Alice Wilson would join Sir Douglas Mawson, who appears on the Australian one hundred dollar note, as a prominent geoscientist whose contribution to geoscience has been recognised by appearing on a banknote issued by their country.