New Hebrides which was officially known as the New Hebrides Condominium was the name of the group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. In the present day, the New Hebrides is now called Vanuatu. Before the arrival of the first Europeans led by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernandes de Queiros in 1606, the islands of New Hebrides were inhabited by native people for over three thousand years.
With sovereignty shared by British and French powers, New Hebrides’ colonial territory status was uncommon. Its communities were parted into two, one was British and the other was French. Additionally, it had three separate governments, one was British, one French, and one was a combined administration that consisted both of Europeans and locals.
The joint administration had control over the public radio station, postal service, public infrastructure, and public works.
The currency used in New Hebrides was the franc which circulated along with the British pound and later on, with the Australian dollar. The first New Hebridean banknote was a 25-franc banknote introduced in 1921. Its obverse featured a beach scene with palm trees, vases and bowls, a thatched hut, a wooden bridge, boats, and totems. While the reverse displayed vases and bowls, ears of corn, and spears. It also had a red overprint “Societe Anonyme au Capital de 500.000 Francs” with the amount struck through and replaced with 3.000.000.
In 1941, a new set of banknotes were issued. These were banknotes of New Caledonia overprinted with a red oval depicting a coastal scene with palm trees, the cross of Lorraine, and the words NOUVELLES HEBRIDES.
In 1965, when the Institut d’Emission d’Outre-Mer became responsible for the issuance of banknotes, it introduced 100, 500, and 1000 franc paper bills.
On July 30, 1980, the New Hebrides gained political independence from both France and Great Britain and was renamed Ripablik blong Vanuatu (Republic of Land Eternal).