Bank of Australasia (Sydney) 1903 1 Pound Issued Note
Solid paper quality, a rare issued example.
Although the name of this bank indicates it was an enterprise founded in Australia, it was in fact very strongly linked to England, specifically to London.
The official history of the Bank of Australasia makes much of the fact it was one of the few Australian banks to survive the banking collapse of 1893, that it had protected it's depositors in a time when so many other banks had failed,"...giving peace and security of mind alike to depositors, borrowers and shareholders."
The Bank of Australasia was incorporated by Royal Charter, it had mainly English directors and shareholders, their conduct was regulated by English law, and was under the control of the Bank of England.
All of the Bank's directors lived in London - nearly all of them were British born, and nearly all were Oxford educated. Many were the sons of wealthy and successful families, and had succeeded their father or an uncle in their role.
Although some had served as Directors of the Bank of England, very few had actually ever visited Australia.
While the standing and connections of the bank's board members in the the vitally important commercial district of the City of London (specifically, the Corporation of the City of London) gave it a major commercial advantage over banks that had been founded in Australia when it came to raising capital, those same connections to London made it far more difficult in the court of public opinion.
The Bank of Australasia's own official history states that decision making at the bank was highly centralized - staff carried out each of their their duties in line with a comprehensive set of written procedures. All aspects of their work were closely supervised, discipline was strict.
The Bank of Australasia truly became a national bank when it opened the first branch in WA in 1894.
It was a large, strong, well-connected and secure organization, and although it was tightly controlled by a formidable bureaucracy emanating from the other side of the world, it is not hard to see why many Australians trusted it.
In 1951, the Bank of Australasia merged with the Union Bank of Australia to form the ANZ Bank, one of the "Big Four" banks remaining in operation in Australia today.
This particular note was issued by the Sydney branch of the Bank of Australasia in 1903. It had in circulation for at least 7 years before Australia's privately-issued notes were systematically replaced by the Commonwealth government's superscribed banknotes in 1910, yet retains strong and solid paper.
Although the note is extensively folded, the paper threads remain intact on each of the major creases. The edges remain clear right the way around the note - no tears or nicks are evident at all. There is some minor spotting on the back on the top right corner, there are two tiny pinholes evident there also.
Issued banknotes from Australia's pre-federation era are just as rare as they have always been, this note is an affordable example that superbly represents what one economist described as"the freest banking system in the world."
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