Acknowledgement of the Copland Foundation


We wish to acknowledge the generous support of The Copland Foundation for the purchase of the Specimen Note and display cabinet.

Commercial Bank of Australia £1 Specimen Note

The Commercial Bank of Australia (CBA) was established in 1866. Prominent Chinese Australian merchants Louis Ah Mouy and Lowe Kong Meng were two of the largest founding shareholders. The Chinese inscription translates to ‘New Gold Mountain Gummashi [possibly Commercial] Bank One Pound’.  With prominent anti-Chinese sentiment in the late 1800s, this inscription may have helped to encourage Chinese depositors.

CBA circulated bank notes like these from 1880 until the Australian Notes Act of 1910 was passed, making it illegal for private banks to issue money. This specimen note was used by a bank as a visual reference and not as legal tender. Bradbury Wilkinson & Company prepared the plates, and their name is perforated in the note to prevent circulation.  A small inscription near the bottom border shows it was printed by Sands & McDougall Stationery, Melbourne.

The Copland Foundation operates under guidelines set out in a Scheme approved by the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2006.   The Foundation is managed at any one time by no less than four trustees.