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Bank of Australasia - Banknotes

The scheme to establish the Bank of Australasia was suggested by Thomas Potter Macqueen, a wealthy and well known colonist, on a visit to london in 1832 to explore opportunities for British investment in banking and whaling in the colonies of New South Wales and Van Diemans Land. In 1935 the bank commenced operations, initially from London, with capital of £20,000 raised partly from residents of the colony.

The governing Board of Directors was British, but local boards were appointed at each branch, with appointments sought from government officials and respected merchants, to give the bank a high standing in the community and to contribute a local knowledge to its operations. Branches were eventually established in each State as it emerged as one of the most powerful of the colonial banks.The branches of issue were Adelaide, Ballaarat, Bathurst, Beechworth, Belfast (Port Fairy), Brisbane, Castlemaine, Geelong, Hobart Town, Ipswich, Launceston, Maitland, Melbourne, Newcastle, Parramatta, Perth, Portland and Sale (Gipp's Land).

The financial strength of the bank was particularly evident during 1893 when it was one of only a handful of Australian banking institutions which did not suspend trading. With the bank's notes backed by New South Wales government legislation, their issue was instrumental in overcoming stagnant trade and commerce.

In 1911, the bank was one of 16 banks who supplied blank note forms to the Australian Government. These notes were superscribed as redeemable in gold and issued as the first Commonwealth notes.

In 1951, the Bank of Australasia merged with the Union Bank of Australia Limited, another 'British backed' bank, to form the ANZ Bank Ltd, now a cornerstone of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited.

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