Three vintage cinema advertisements for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia feature on our home page to mark the centenary of the bank. Prime Minister Andrew Fisher opened the first branch in Melbourne on 15 July 1912.
The advertisements reveal how much the mechanics of banking has changed since the 1950s. To withdraw cash required an over-the-counter transaction at your local branch during banking hours with a passbook. The convenience of internet banking and automatic teller machines is inconceivable in the world of Commonwealth Bank – The School Bank (1951).
Decades before the bank was privatised in the 1990s, advertising urged Australians to patronise the Commonwealth Bank as 'the bank you own’ (see Commonwealth Bank – Plan for the Future, c1950).
Most entertaining of all is Willie Wombat, who taught children the value of saving in the 1940s and ’50s. While the ad’s message is timeless, its characters are not. Hoppy the kangaroo speaks with a male voice in an American accent, and has a button-up pouch complete with bottle-fed joey (see Commonwealth Bank – Willie Wombat: Waste Not Want Not, c1939).
Read more about banks on screen in Greed and glamour: banks on film.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia is celebrating its centenary with a beautifully illustrated history book which you can download from their 100 Years Together website.
Find more information about the bank’s history at the Commonwealth Bank website.