Reserve Bank of Australia Archives, Sydney

Identity area



Authorized form of name

Reserve Bank of Australia Archives, Sydney

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name

  • RBA


  • Business

Contact area


Senior Archivist



Street address

65 Martin Place, Sydney




New South Wales

Country name

Postal code



02 9551 8111



Description area


In 1911, legislation established the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. In 1959, this original body corporate was preserved as the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) in legislation. At that same time, the commercial and savings banking functions were transferred into a new institution, which carried on the old name of Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is Australia's central bank and derives its functions and powers from the Reserve Bank Act 1959 (Cth). Its duty is to contribute to the stability of the currency, full employment, and the economic prosperity and welfare of the Australian people. It does this by setting the cash rate to meet an agreed medium-term inflation target, working to maintain a strong financial system and efficient payments system, and issuing the nation's banknotes.

The Reserve Bank provides certain banking services as required to the Australian Government and its agencies, and to a number of overseas central banks and official institutions. Additionally, it manages Australia's gold and foreign exchange reserves.

Geographical and cultural context

Mandates/Sources of authority

Administrative structure

Officer-in-charge: Head of Information Department

Records management and collecting policies

The Reserve Bank complies with the provisions of the Archives Act 1983 (Cth).

The Archives contains records relating to central banking; the economy and monetary policy; financial markets; financial system surveillance; banking; printing of stamps; banknote issue, printing and design functions.



The Archives holds records of the Reserve Bank and records it inherited:

  • Savings Bank of New South Wales: Various, 1832-1914.
  • Government Savings Bank of New South Wales: Various, 1871-1932.
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia: Various, 1912-1960. (For other records, see Commonwealth Bank Documentation and Archives Centre, Sydney)
  • Reserve Bank of Australia: Various, 1960- present.

The earliest record held in the Reserve Bank Archives is a legal document from September 1824 between John Austin and Thomas Wylde, relating to the sale of land in New South Wales. This document, part of the Savings Bank of New South Wales collection (1832-1914), is thought to have originally come from an earlier bank called Campbell's Bank, which was established in Sydney in 1819.

The archives are in a variety of media and formats which include files, volumes, photographs, films, plans, posters, banknotes and stamps.

Finding aids, guides and publications

The Archivists act as intermediaries between the researcher and the records. There are no searchable public finding aids available at this stage.

Access area

Opening times

Open Monday to Friday 9.30am-4.30pm.
Closed public holidays and New South Wales Bank Holiday.

Access conditions and requirements

Entry to the Archives is by appointment only. On receipt of an enquiry, the Archivists will assess whether there is appropriate material to meet the request, after which a time will be arranged for the researcher to visit the Archives.

The Reserve Bank complies with the provisions of the Archives Act 1983 (Cth), and makes records available to the public 20 years from the date of their creation. In some cases, records may be made available after 15 years, with this early release at the Bank's discretion.


The building is easily accessible by either bus (closest Macquarie or Elizabeth Streets) or train (closest Martin Place Station).

Services area

Research services

Limited research undertaken if researcher is unable to visit in person. General reference assistance available.

Reproduction services

Limited scanning services available. Parts of the collection are digitised.

Digital cameras are allowed in the Research Room for the purpose of taking images of documents / records.

Public areas

A Research Room is provided within the Reserve Bank's Information Department on Level 7, 65 Martin Place, Sydney. Appointments necessary.

The Museum, which houses part of the Bank's Archives, is on the ground floor of this building and is open from Monday to Friday 10am-4pm. No prior appointment is required to visit this space.

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Revised 15 April 2018




Maintenance notes

Access points

Access Points

  • Politics and Government (Thematic area)
  • Clipboard

Primary contact

65 Martin Place, Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales 2000