ID numberRELC02552.002
Collection typeTechnology
TitleAustralian Internment Camp sixpence note
Object typeCurrency
MakerRiverine Grazier
Place madeAustralia: New South Wales, Hay
Date made1 March 1941
Physical descriptionPaper
DescriptionAustralian Internment Camp sixpence note, serial no. not recorded. Depicted on the obverse is a kangaroo and emu coat of arms with a merino sheep on the shield, all in front of a barbed wire fence. A ribbon legend under the shield reads "CAMP SEVEN BANK", while the words "HAY, 1st March, 1941" appear to the left of the kangaroo, and the word "MANAGER" to the right of the emu. Under each of these words appears a signature - three combinations were possible, (Mendel and Stahl; Eppenstein and Stahl; Robinson and Stahl) and Stahl's name always appears under "Manager" - he was an interned German banker. The scene is bordered by a barbed wire decoration. The reverse side is decorated with 25 sheep (representing the Camp's 25 huts), each with a 7 on its back, and is overprinted with the words "THIS NOTE IS VALID ONLY / WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES / OF / CAMPSEVEN / INTERNMENT CAMP HAY. The Bank is under no obligation to honour this Note if presented by Holder outside this Camp." A number of hidden names appear within the design of the note: Camp leader, W. Eppenstein's name is written within the fleece of the sheep on the shield, while the name of each hut leader is included within the fleece of the 25 sheep on the reverse. The obverse barbed wire decoration forms the words "we are here because we are here because we are here". The designer's details, "George A . Teltscher del 1941" also appears in the bottom right of the obverse. The note is uncirculated but has minor wear damage on the left vertical edge and corners.
SummaryThis note was produced for use by prisoners within the confines of Internment Camp 7 at Hay, New South Wales. The note was designed by internee George Teltscher and printed by Harry Byers in the printshop of the Riverine Grazier, Hay. It is estimated that several thousand notes were printed in the following denominations - two shillings, shilling and sixpence for use int he civilian run canteen. These issues contravened Australian law and were withdrawn in September, 1941, with most notes being destroyed or cancelled with a red rubber stamp. They were replaced by official tokens issued by the Australian Defence Canteen, who took over running of internee camp canteens.

In 1941-42, three internment camps were built 2km from the township of Hay. Each camp held 1000 internees from Italy and Germany. The Allied forces had detained these civilians because they were perceived as security risks to the European war effort. Despite early newspaper reports that the internees of Hay were dangerous, guards described their detainees as 'well educated and anti-Nazi'. Most were intellectuals detained as a matter of precaution and 'national security'. (Information from Some of the internees were German-Jewish refugees who had sailed from Britain to Sydney on HMT Dunera in September 1940.