26th August 2020

Bank Uniform Buttons

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

No backmark.

Founded in December 1911 by the Government  with the first branch opening in Melbourne on 15th July 1912. It was the first Australian bank to have a Federal guarantee. It was list on the stock exchange in 1991 and fully privatised by 1996.









The first insignia, from 1921 to the 1950s was the Australian Coat of Arms. For a short period during the 1950s  light and dark blue entwined CBA letters were used. In 1960 the bank was formed into the Commonwealth Banking Corporation, with a new logo. The three rings represent the three parts of the corporation; the Savings, Trading and Development banks. The original version included the seven-point star and the words ‘Commonwealth Banking Corporation. The version without the star and wording dates from 1984-1991, then the logo with a yellow and black diamond was introduced.

Sydney: Construction and real Estate Journal (Sydney) 15th June 1932 page 9.

Adelaide: Construction and real Estate Journal (Sydney) 14th August 1935 page 6.










State Library SA: staff in 1921, Adelaide. Image https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+280/1/23/16


The Sun (Sydney), 9th August 1931 page 5.


State Bank of South Australia

no backmark








The bank was formed in 1984 by the merger of the State Bank of  South Australia and the Savings Bank of South Australia. After problems with its loan portfolio, the bank collapsed in 1991, with a Royal Commission held into the collapse. A portion of the bank was sold to Advance Bank, which was in turn purchased by St George Bank, then merged with Westpac. That portion is known as BankSA.


Bank of New South Wales

Backmark Firmin.

This was the first bank in Australia, established in Sydney in 1817.

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 12th March 1910 page 15. Head Office from 1817-1822.

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 12th March 1910 page 15. The bank in 1910.

It opened branches around Australia and New Zealand in the 19th century, then expanded into Oceania in the 20th century.

State Library Qld Libraries Australia ID 66949379.
Staff of Bank of NSW, Brisbane, 1903.

I am not sure when the above button dates from. I have not found mention of uniforms for men until 1982. Men seem to have worn suits to work. The first female uniforms were called ‘overalls’, but were more like dress coats. In 1934 brown dresses with yellow stripes on collar, cuffs and pockets were introduced. By 1956 the stripes had disappeared.

From Westpac archives: c.1936.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 27th June 1956 page 33. The ‘girls’ get a new uniform at the Bank of New South Wales in 1956. The old brown version is on the left. The new was ‘slate-blue”.

Coffs Harbour Museum: Staff at Bank of New South Wales, Coffs Harbour 1956-62. It seem the men still did not have uniforms. Perhaps the uniform buttons are on the dresses?

In 1960 new female bank workers got taught deportment, fashion, etiquette and make-up as well as banking. I wonder if the males did too? No?

It was renamed Westpac in 1982. New uniforms were ordered but but slacks were not allowed for women!

Australian Women’s Weekly, 13th October 1982 pages 10 & 11.

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