From Bank to Battlefield
Australia's Central Bank and the First World War
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 the centenary years of the First World War, the Reserve Bank honours those Bank staff who enlisted in the ‘war to end all wars’ and those who helped found a national institution.
Germany's Spring Offensive March-May 1918
The German Spring Offensive occurred between March and May 1918. In an attempt to break the Allied lines before the arrival of the Americans, Germany launched three major attacks in Northern France and Belgium. A number of Commonwealth Bank staff were involved in repelling these attacks. They included Lieutenant Ronald Henderson from the Bank's Wagga Wagga branch, who lost his life protecting those under his command. Tragically, his younger brother Hugh was also killed in France a week earlier. Read details »
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia's Honor Roll was officially unveiled. The Honor Roll… contains the names of those 206…staff who enlisted
Even from the battlefields, staff were keen to hear of the progress of the Bank. And they shared significant experiences with the Governor.
By the end of the war, a total of 206 Commonwealth Bank officers had made the same decision to serve. Learn more about their personal stories.
The Gallipoli campaign lasted eight months and although it failed in its military objectives, it created a legacy which helped to shape the identity of the nation.
Sir Denison Samuel King Miller was the first Governor of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and played a significant role in the establishment of central banking in this country.
At the Imperial War Conference in 1917, and again at the conference of overseas Prime Ministers in 1918, King George V had foreshadowed a visit to the Dominions by his eldest son, ‘when peace comes’.
This selection of photographs from the Reserve Bank of Australia's archives documents aspects of the building of the Bank's head office, and the Bank's involvement in raising funds through the sale of War Loan Bonds, and then Peace Loan Bonds after the war's conclusion.
Interactive timeline highlighting key dates about the Bank and the war.