1890 Union Bank of Australia Cheque – Ballarat Victoria


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SKU: BCBALLARAT1890-1C Category:


On offer here is good condition cheque from a bank which no longer exists. At over 120 years old it is a lovely piece of Australian history and is still in a reasonable condition for its age. The cheque has a small burn hole in the center which fortunately is not large enough to detract to badly from the overall piece.  Issued by the Union Bank in October 1890 and promising to pay the Country Bank of Australia the sum of 175 pounds sterling in January of the following year. Ballarat was often referred to as ,”The Golden City” and was renowned for its vast riches during the goldrush of the 1850’s and 60’s. This cheque represents a unique piece of the later outcome of the riches from that historical era and as such is very much sought after by collectors.

  • A Time In Australian History When:
  • January 1 – The University of Tasmania opens
  • April 26 – Banjo Patterson’s The Man from Snowy River is published.
  • November 9 James Boag I, the brewer died (b. 1822)
  • Carbine wins the Melbourne Cup

Additional information



A negotiable instrument is a document guaranteeing the payment of a specific amount of money, either on demand, or at a set time with the payer named on the negotiable instrument. More specifically, it is a document contemplated by a contract, which warrants the payment of money without condition which may be paid on demand or at a future date.

Examples of negotiable instruments include promissory notes, bills of exchange, bank notes and cheques.

As payment of money is promised subsequently, the instrument itself can be used by the holder in due course as a store of value. The instrument can be transferred to a third party and it is the holder of the instrument who will ultimately get paid by the payer on the instrument. Transfers can happen at less than the face value of the instrument and this is known as discounting, this may happen for example if there is doubt about the payer’s ability to pay.

Due to the nature of the negotiable instrument as store of value, most countries passed laws specifically related to negotiable instruments.

*All details taken from Wikipedia for educational purposes only.


Governor Macquarie, appalled by the monetary anarchy prevailing in the colony he ruled, gave a charter (which he technically did not have the power to issue) to some citizens in 1817 to form Australia’s first bank, the Bank of New South Wales. The Bank of New South Wales’ purpose was to issue banknotes so as to provide a sound currency. It soon had competition and a private banking system developed in Australia. In those days banks took deposits (which were their liabilities) and reloaned the money by discounting bills of exchange (which became assets). The bank could then issue its own banknotes on the security of these assets. There was no central bank. Each private bank stood or fell on its own credit. As long as its assets were believed to be sound, its notes would be freely accepted. This was quite pleasant in good times, because a bank could expand its balance sheet rapidly by issuing its own notes. But whenever a panic struck and the notes were presented back for the bank to honour, banks were liable to hit the wall. This happened with alarming frequency. There were bank collapses in almost every decade of the 19th century. The climax came in 1893 after the failure of fraudulent land banks in Victoria triggered a wholesale run on banks. In the space of six weeks, 12 banks closed their doors. Those banks accounted for two-thirds of the total banking assets in Australia.

*All additional history taken from Wikipedia for educational purposes only.

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