History of Payments
The payment methods we enjoy today have not always been around. Throughout Australia's pre-European settlement and early colonial period, economic transactions were almost exclusively by barter. In the early nineteenth century, many methods for making payment emerged: promissory notes, foreign coins and British treasury bills and, of course, rum!
The reforms of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, such as the introduction of the "holey" dollar (where foreign coins were purchased and restamped) in 1814 and the establishment of the Bank of New South Wales in 1817, which began issuing its own bank notes, established some of the earliest foundations for Australia's modern payments system.
By the 1830s "bank notes and English coins were in common use and cheque payments an everyday experience" throughout the colonies, according to historian S J Butlin. Clearing house arrangements for bank notes and cheques also appeared in colonial capitals such as Hobart and Sydney around this same time.
Despite these important developments, it would be the twentieth century, with the new Commonwealth government and a tidal wave of technological and commercial changes that would revolutionise the way we pay.