Historical information

This five-pound banknote is one of a set of four banknotes issued by the Bank of Australasia's Head Office in Sydney, New South Wales. Two banknotes are dated before the Federation of Australia on 1st January 1901 and two are dated just two years after Federation. Each of the banknotes in this set has a rectangular piece cut from it. This indicates that the banknote was cancelled when the note was exchanged for Australian dollars after Decimal Currency was introduced on 14th February 1966.

The Bank of Australasia was established under the Royal Charter of England. It first came to Australia in 1835, opening in Sydney. The Bank of Australasia was the first bank in Warrnambool. It was established in 1854 and operated from leased buildings in Merri Street then Timor Street. The bank opened its own building on May 21, 1860, on the north-east corner of Timor and Kepler Streets. In that year, the Acting Superintendent of the Bank of Australasia in Sydney was David Charters McArthur. He went on to become the Superintendent 1867-1876.

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.


This set of banknotes has historical significance as it was used by the Bank of Australasia, the first bank in Warrnambool. The bank was established in 1854 and continued until its merger, when it became the ANZ Bank in 1951 and is still in operation today. The bank was an integral part of the establishment and growth of commerce in Colonial Warrnambool, Victoria, and Australia.

The banknotes also have a significant place in Australia’s history as two notes are just prior to Federation and two notes just after Federation.

Physical description

Five-pound banknote, one of a set of four banknotes published by The Bank of Australasia, Sydney, New South Wales. The obverse of the note is printed in black ink with the denomination and its round pound-coin symbols printed in green ink. The reverse has a decorative border and image with an inscription and shield. A black ink stamp was impressed twice on each side, stating that the note is cancelled. Handwritten red ink text is on the note's obverse and pencil text on the reverse. A unique Serial number is printed twice on the obverse. The banknote has a rectangular cut-out notch on the lower edge.

Inscriptions & markings

Printed: (Serial Number) "A36,191" "FIVE POUND" "NEW SOUTH WALES" "5th February 1900"
and (image on shield) [suspended sheep] in diagonal corners, and [sailing ships] in other diagonal corners, and four stars (or open flowers)"
Handwritten in red pen: "undecipherable [initials]"
Text in pencil "L24"