Western Australian Bank (Perth) 1910
Five Pounds Unissued Specimen Note
This denomination was issued far less frequently than the equivalent £1 note.
The Western Australian Bank merged with the Bank of New South Wales in 1927, and at it’s peak it was widely regarded as the most important commercial enterprise in Western Australia, one that “…had done more to assist in the development of mining in this state than nearly the whole of the other financial institutions combined.”
By the time the 1893 banking crisis in Australia drew to a close, 11 banks across NSW, Queensland and Victoria had suspended operations and restructured.
This suspension had significant consequences for the lending policies of those banks in the years that followed. The Western Australian Bank’s business was entirely based in WA, so it was not exposed to losses on property caught up in the Victorian Land Boom. It was one of the very few banks in Australia that did not suspend during the 1893 financial crisis. One historian has stated that “One of the greatest factors in the growth in importance and in the regaining of the position of leading bank in the colony for the Western Australian Bank, was the occurrence of the Eastern banking disaster at a time when the colony of Western Australia was embarking on an era of growth and prosperity through the discovery of gold.”
By 1903, the Western Australian Bank was represented by branches in the following locations:
Albany, Beverley, Black Arrow (Nunngarra), Boulder, Bridgetown, Cuballing, Broad Arrow, Bulong, Bunbury, Burthville, Busselton, Coolgardie, Cue, Day Dawn, Dongarra, Duketown, Esperance, Fremantle, Geraldton, Greenbushes, Guildford, Kalgoorlie, Kanowna, Katanning, Kooynie, Laverton, Lennonville, Leonora, Meekatharra, Mt. Morgan, Nannine, Narrogin, Newcastle, Norseman, Northman, Pingelly, Ravensthorpe, Southern Cross, Wagin, York and Gundamindera (The Granites).
One comment in the local press in this period captures the regard that many in the state had for the Western Australian Bank: “So far, nothing has contributed more to the Western Australian gold boom than the solid notes of the Western Australian Bank, and nothing will better support the gold boom in the future than those notes, which at any time may be paid in coin across the counter ten times over."
This particular specimen note was clearly prepared by the printer just before the Australian Commonwealth Government assumed control over Australia's note issue in December 1910, and is exactly the same type that was superscribed by the Commonwealth Government until the Treasury series notes were released from 1913.
It remains in superb quality, and is a reminder of the dominant bank in Australia's western third.
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