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Vernon Lorimer, artwork for Commonwealth Savings Bank of Australia poster, showing a boy and girl looking through a toyshop window, c. 1950s. RBA PA-000343

Pocket Money

17 May 2012 –1 November 2014

‘Pocket Money’ was a temporary exhibition concerning the relationship between children, money and banks. It drew on documents and artefacts from the archives of the Reserve Bank of Australia. Some of the records derive from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which previously performed a central banking role as well as a commercial one.

Among the items on display were 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 posters and brochures with slogans such as ‘Provide for his Future’ intended to promote financial planning for children.

As ‘Pocket Money’ revealed, school banking was introduced in the late 1800s as another means of encouraging children to save. One of the highlights of the exhibition was ‘School Bank’, rare archival film footage showing banking days in Arcadia (NSW) and Sydney's Enmore Practice School from 1949, as well as Dover Heights Girls High School in 1958 in which the students themselves perform the roles of teller and clerk.