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Australia in the 1910s

Currency and banking

In October, the Australian Notes Act 1910 (Cth) vested control of the note issue from independent trading banks to the Commonwealth Treasury. By 1 May 1913, the first Australian currency, a ten-shilling denomination, was produced by the Royal Mint in Melbourne.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia was founded under the Commonwealth Bank Act 1911 (Cth). It was established to conduct both savings and general (trading) bank business, and was backed by a federal government guarantee. The bank was termed by the federal government as 'the people's bank' and in July 1912 opened its first branch on Collins Street, Melbourne. During the First World War, the Commonwealth Bank assisted other federal authorities to organise war loans, primary production pools and a merchant shipping fleet.

A 20 pound note issued by The City Bank of Sydney early in the 1900s

A snapshot of 1918

  • January
    • The Australia Corps formed out of five separate Australian divisions fighting in France during the First World War.

  • April
    • A factory opened in Caulfield, Victoria, to manufacture artificial limbs for returned soldiers.

  • September
    • The first direct wireless message was transmitted from Britain to Australia.

  • November
    • On the '11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour', the Armistice between the Allies and Germany flagged the cessation of fighting on the Western Front.
    • Preferential voting was introduced for the first time in elections for the House of Representatives.
    • Two significant children's books were published: The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay and Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: Their Wonderful Adventures by May Gibbs.


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