The ANZ Banking Museum is housed in the lower ground floor of the 'Gothic Bank' at 380 Collins Street, Melbourne.
The museum tells the story of Australia's banking heritage through displays of items such as banknotes and coins, moneyboxes, office machines, firearms, gold-mining equipment and uniforms. In putting together these displays, ANZ's Banking Museum draws upon the rich historical resource of ANZ's archives, an extensive collection of manuscripts, correspondence and photographs covering more than 170 years of banking operations.
ANZ undertook a major refurbishment of its banking museum in 2007. The refurbishment work presented an opportunity to re-think the existing design, incorporate more interactive displays and update content. The new exhibition, entitled "People & Money - Banking in Australia" is designed to have wide appeal to all age groups. The exhibition also complements various community initiatives that ANZ is currently involved in. The exhibition begins with early Indigenous economy through to 19th century banking, and traces changes in technology with a new section featuring banking in the future. A key theme of financial literacy underpins the exhibition and is illustrated by a unique collection of historic moneyboxes and other banking paraphernalia.
Visitor guides are available for self-guided tours and a museum attendant is available onsite to answer questions.
The Banking Museum is open on weekdays (excluding public holidays) from 10am to 3pm.
ANZ Bank Museum is housed in a lovely old heritage building. You can have a look at some of the nice areas before visiting the museum. Enter in the main door of the bank and face the tellers and then go down the small set of stairs on the right and head north along the corridor to a lovely atrium with columns, arches, patterned floor and stained glass windows.
The Bank Museum is interesting and it ties together the history of banking with social changes in Australia. There is a door leading down to the museum from the street immediately to the right of the main entrance to the bank.
The museum has a nice collection of piggy banks. Why were they called piggy banks? Actually, they began as pygg banks, because pygg was the name of the clay they were made from. They started looking like jars but with a name like that, pygg banks were bound to become piggy banks.
"The Melbourne branch was duly opened on the 28th August, 1838 in a small cottage we have procured for the purpose and which also serves as our sleeping quarters. We have cleared an area around the cottage where the bulldogs are free to roam at night to warn off any unwelcome visitors. Mr Dunbar and I sleep with the cash chest between our beds for safe-keeping. Progress is being made and accounts opened apace." - a letter to Sydney Head Office by D.C.McArthur, 1st Melbourne Manager, Bank of Australasia, 1838.
Australian banks issued banknotes from 1817 until 1910 when the Commonwealth Government took over the function.
In the panic of the 1893 worldwide depression most banks failed and in 1911 Australia established a central bank. In the Great Depression only three banks failed and they were the only three in the 20th century.
Australia introduced the first polymer (plastic) bank note in the world in 1988. I still wonder why more countries don't do a similar thing.
Before the First World War, no women worked in "office jobs", but with so many of their male staff away at the war, the banks had no alternative but to employ women in these positions. This was meant to be a "temporary" measure but the women were so good at their work, that many were offered permanent employment.
Photos are not allowed in the museum.