175th Anniversary of the Bank of New South WalesPrint Page Print this page

Bank of NSW 175th Anniversary Plaque : December 2013
Bank of NSW 175th Anniversary Plaque : December 2013

Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams / Russell Byers

A plaque commemorates the 175th anniversary of the Bank of New South Wales which is now known as Westpac. The bank was founded at this site in 1817.

Aware of the need to have a stable financial institution to underpin the emerging economy, in February 1817 Governor Macquarie signed a charter of incorporation which establish the Bank of New South Wales. This was Australia's first financial institution – and it still operates today, although with a changed name.

It leased premises in Macquarie Place  Sydney, from Mary Reibey an ex-convict turned businesswoman, and opened for business on 8 April 1817. By 1822 the bank had moved to more salubrious premises in George Street.

The bank survived competition from the 1820s and the impact of the depression of the 1840s, an event that devastated the colonial economy. Then, after gold was discovered in New South Wales and Victoria in 1851, the bank began a major expansion, setting up agencies and gold-buying agents on every new diggings and in the emerging country towns. From a single office in Sydney in 1850, it grew to a network of 37 branches in Australia and New Zealand by 1861.

The bank merged with the Victorian-based Commercial Bank of Australia Ltd in 1982, it also took the opportunity to change its name Westpac Banking Corporation. Westpac was a shortened form of Western Pacific, a name that the board thought more truly reflected its prominent place in this region. Since the Bank had been incorporated in 1850 under its own 'Bank of New South Wales Act' (separate from companies legislation), the new name required an amendment to the old Act.


Address:7 Macquarie Place , Reibey Place , Sydney, 2000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.862778
Long: 151.210095
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Technology
Actual Event STart Date:08-April-1817
Actual Event End Date:08-April-1982


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 8th April, 1992
Front Inscription

  His Excellency 
Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair AO 
Governor Of New South Wales 
Unveiled This Plaque On 
8 April 1992 To Commemorate 
The 175th Anniversary Of 

 Bank of New South Wales 
    Which In 1982 Became 
Westpac Banking Corporation

The Bank Was Founded At This Site 
          On 8 April 1817

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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