The Bank played an important role in raising war loans during the World War II (1939-1945). These loans raised crucial funds for the war effort and contained the risk of uncontrolled inflation. The war had a transformative impact on the roles of the Bank itself, as it began to assume more of the responsibilities of a central bank. Read details »
The Centenary of Sir Sidney Nolan’s Birth, 22 April 2017 online
April marks the centenary of the birth of Sir Sidney Nolan (1917-1992), one of Australia’s
most renowned artists. During his career, Nolan developed close relations with the Reserve
Bank and its Governor, Dr HC Coombs. Three major paintings by Nolan are included in the
Bank’s HC Coombs Collection of Australian Art. Read details »
Notable Australians online
The Bank has launched a new companion to its Museum titled Notable Australians. The book
contains biographies of all identities who have been represented on the banknotes, coupled
with photographs or paintings of the individuals. This is the first book to represent all
identities, spanning from 1923 to the current banknotes, and totalling more than 30
biographies. Read details »
11 November 2014–Present
‘Before Sunset’ is a new exhibition concerning the role of the Bank during the critical years
of World War I (1914–1918). Soon after the Commonwealth Bank of Australia opened in 1912, it
was required to develop quickly its capacity as the nation’s central bank, as the Australian
government called on it to manage the raising of funds for the war effort, and to develop
its role as a national institution.
From Bank to Battlefield
4 August 2014–Present
The First World War saw the emergence of central banking in Australia. These functions were
originally performed by a part of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. In 1960 that part
became the Reserve Bank. In this centenary year of the start of the First World War, the
Reserve Bank honours those staff who enlisted in the ‘war to end all wars’ and those
who helped found a national institution. Read
The Decimal Revolution: 50th Anniversary of Decimal Currency
14 February 2016
The introduction of decimal currency on 14 February 1966 was a major milestone in the
nation’s social and economic history. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary, learn
about the decision to decimalise, the design of the new and distinctively Australian
currency, and the way in which the decimal system was explained to households and
17 May 2012–1 November 2014
The relationship between children, money and banks is explored using artefacts from the
Reserve Bank's archives. Among the items on display are money boxes dating from the early
20th century, including the only known example of the first series of the Commonwealth Bank
money boxes, illustrated literature and comic books from the 1950s and 1960s that encouraged
children's interest in saving, and a selection of rare posters and brochures.
In the centenary year of Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition, we highlight the first
$100 banknote (issued in 1984) featuring the great explorer. During his Expedition, Mawson
and his men undertook scientific research in unimaginably harsh conditions. Sir Douglas
Mawson's inclusion on the $100 banknote is as much a tribute to his strength and
determination as to his drive to understand more about the world around him. See this
banknote and related reference material.
Although convicts are often portrayed as penniless, they usually arrived in New South Wales
with sums of money. This display showcased original records of convicts deposits held by the
Reserve Bank, and interprets the relationship between convicts and money.
Martin Place Sydney has been the setting for major national events during the 20th century.
To mark its 50th anniversary, the Reserve Bank’s façade has been transformed into a gallery
of photographs portraying historical events in Martin Place.
Planned for Progress, held in the Banking Chamber as part
our 50th anniversary celebration, explored the building's architecture, sculpture, corporate
emblem, furniture and paintings in relation to the ideas of innovation and progress.