Historical information

This bank cheque originated from the Bank of Australasia, Melbourne branch. It was issued on 3rd December 1885 to a person surnamed Slater for £71.11.5 (seventy-one pounds, eleven shillings and five pence). The parallel lines are called Cheque Crossed and mean that only Slater and no one else could receive the payment and that it would have been paid into Slater's bank account, not exchanged for cash. The embossed dots signify that the cheque amount was also paid to be the bearer of the cheque. Slater would have visited the bank to deposit the money into his or her own account.

The cheque was printed by Sands & McDougall, a long-standing Melbourne printing and stationery company. It was then Stamped at the bank with its own unique number before it was issued to the customer. From its previously perforated edges, it is presumed that the cheque was part of a page of cheques, likely to be contained within a book of similar cheques ready for use.

The Bank of Australia was incorporated by Royal Charter of England in March 1834. It had its Australian beginnings on 14th December 1835, opening in Sydney. The Acting Superintendent of the bank at that time was David Charters McArthur. He was Superintendent from 1867-to 1876. The Melbourne branch opened on 28th August 1838 in a two-roomed brick cottage on the north side of Little Collins Street, where two huge mastiff dogs were used at night to guard the bank. The government also provided an armed military sentinel. Due to the bank's rapid growth, a new building for the Melbourne branch was opened in 1840 at 75 Collins Street West. By 1879 the bank had been upgraded to a magnificent two-storey building on the corners of Collins and Queens Streets, with the entry on Collins Street.

In 1951 the Bank of Australasia amalgamated with the Union Bank to form the Australia and New Zealand Bank, now known as the ANZ. Then in 1970, the ANZ merged with both the ES&A and the London Bank of Australia to form the ANZ Banking Group Limited. The ANZ Banking Group Ltd kindly donated a variety of historic items from the Bank of Australasia.


In 1854 Warrnambool had two banks, the Union Bank and the Bank of Australasia. Later, completely different bank businesses opened; in 1867 the National Bank of Australasia, then in 1875 the Colonial Bank of Australasia. The original Warrnambool branch of the Bank of Australasia was established in July 1854, and operated from a leased cottage on Merri Street, close to Liebig Street. The bank next bought a stone building previously erected by drapers Cramond & Dickson on the corner of Timor and Gibson Streets. Samuel Hannaford was a teller and then Manager at the Warrnambool branch from 1855 to 1856 and the Warrnambool Council chose that bank for its dealings during 1856-57. In 1859 Roberts & Co. was awarded the contract to build the new Bank of Australasia branch for the sum of £3,000. The land was on a sand hill on the northeast corner of Timor and Kepler Streets and had been bought in 1855 from investor James Cust. The new building opened on May 21, 1860. The bank continued to operate there until 1951 when it merged with the Union Bank to form the ANZ Bank, which continued operating from its Liebig Street building. Warrnambool City Council purchased the former Bank of Australasia building in 1971 and renovated it, then on 3rd December 1973 it was officially opened as the Art Gallery by Cr. Harold Stephenson and Gallery Director John Welsh. The Gallery transferred to the purpose-built building in Liebig Street in 1986 and the old bank building is now the Gallery club.

Staff at the Bank of Australasia in Warrnambool included the following men but others were also involved: Samuel Hannaford, Teller then Manager from 1855-1856; W H Palmer, Manager from January 1857 until November 1869 when the Teller Basil Spence was promoted to Manager; H B Chomley, Manager from April 1873 and still there in 1886; A Butt, Manager in 1895-1904; J R McCleary Accountant and Acting Manager for 12 months, until 1900; A Kirk, Manager 1904; J Moore, staff until his transfer to Bendigo in December 1908; J S Bath was Manager until 1915; C C Cox, Manager until April 1923; Richard C Stanley, Manager 1923 to April 1928.


The bank cheque has significance through its association with the Bank of Australasia. The early Australian bank was established in 1834 by Royal Charter and opened in Sydney, Australia, in Sydney in 1835. The bank had many Australian offices in November 1877, particularly on the east and south coasts. Victoria had 45 percent of all Offices.

The bank cheque is significant as an early example of financial management of money and money exchange or transfer.

Physical description

Bank cheque of the Bank of Australasia, Melbourne branch. The rectangular paper has three sides that have been perforated. It is printed in blue with bank's Insignia of a heraldic shield of sheep hung by their waists and ships in full sail. Embossed Stamp Duty mark. Embossed dots. Handwritten black ink details Dated 3rd Dec 1885. Printed in Melbourne by Sands & McDougall. Diagonal parallel lines are across the cheque.

Inscriptions & markings

Printed: "Bank of Australasia, MELBOURNE (75 COLLINS ST. WEST)." "454,358" "Sands & McDougall, Melbourne"
Embossed stamp: Symbol of Crown above double oval lines " - STAMP DUTY" "ONE PENNY"
Embossed dots forming test "7 PAID T2"
Handwritten: "3rd Dec. [188] 5" "134 - Slater" "Seventy one pounds 11/S 5p" "£71.11.5"
Signature: (undecipherable)