Fanning Island


1 Pound, 1942

1 Pound, 1942 cut in half
1 Pound, 1942 Front

Fanning Island was a key relay station in World War II, connecting Vancouver, Canada with Sydney, Australia. American troops stationed there used the cable to send messages home. Australian banknotes were used on the island. But due to the war, new currency from Australia could not be supplied. R. G. Garrett, Manager of Fanning Island Plantations, Ltd., ordered 1,000 one Pound notes bearing his signatures from Honolulu. The notes were used to pay plantation workers and were circulated freely in the island.

After the war, the notes were redeemed for Australian banknotes. Most of the notes were cut in half and the corners were clipped. They were then used for movie admission tickets with the right half worth 1 shilling and the left half 2 shillings. These were written on the halves in blue and red crayon respectively. Only a few notes were not bisected. About five years after the war, someone collected the bisected halves that were in the theater, and began selling them to collectors. Where possible, the bisected halves were matched to re-form the original. This note appears to be one of those that was successfully matched. Another oddity about this issue is the range of serial numbers. While only 1,000 notes were reportedly printed, known serial numbers ranging from 1117 to 3175.

Courtesy Lyn Knight

Back to Australia and Oceania

Fanning Island, called Tabuaeran by the natives, lies over 1000 miles south of Hawaii. It was named after the American captain Edmund Fanning who discovered the uninhibited atoll on June 11, 1798. It was later settled by British laborers who began producing coconut oil for export. The atoll was annexed by Great Britain in 1888. In 1939 the atoll was incorporated into the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. It gained independence in 1979, becoming part of the Republic of Kiribati. For a more detailed country profile, see CIA World Factbook on Kiribati.




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