The obverse of the coins shows the crowned mature head of Queen Elizabeth II facing right (her effigy known as the "Fourth Portrait"). The Queen wears the "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland" diamond tiara, a wedding gift from Queen Mary (Her Majesty's grandmother) in 1947 - which she also has on the Machin and the Gottwald portraits.
In small letters below the head, the artist's initials IRB (for Ian Rank-Broadley).
Around the effigy is the monarch's legend: ELIZABETH II · AUSTRALIA · 5 DOLLARS ·.
The effigy, legend and face value are in a small circle, surrounded by a decorative border.
Around the rim outside that circle, the twelve animals of the Lunar Calendar, in pairs facing each other; clockwise: monkey, rooster, dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse and goat. Between each animal, a small Moon in a different phase.