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The Rise and Fall of Land Banks in Queensland by Jon Stanford

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115 William St

115 William Street

Brisbane City, QLD 4000

Australia

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Between 1886 and 1888, 10 land banks, a new type of bank for Queensland, were registered under the Companies Act. Their major activity was “to lay out and make roads, subdivide estates into allotments and sell same by auction or otherwise.”
A leading newspaper editorialised: “No development that has taken place in Brisbane within the past three years has equalled either in rapidity or importance that of the “land bank.” Examination of the latest yearly reports found that profits made read like a page from a gold mining prospectus”
Another, not to be left behind, claimed the land banks : “are a public boon, from the fact that land can be bought, a house built and paid for, in a few years by weekly, monthly, or quarterly installments at a rate not exceeding rent.”
The land banks developed suburban estates at a prodigious rate: over 50 estates containing over 14,500 allotments in four years. But hard times arrived in 1890 and got worse in following years. By 1900 only two remained in operation, much diminished from their glory days. Another two had experienced embezzlements by their staff and the remaining six became insolvent and went into liquidation.These two struggled on but, by 1931, both had been absorbed by the Brisbane Building and Banking Company Limited, which became in time the third and current Bank of Queensland.

Jon Stanford, an economist interested in financial history, is a member and councillor of the Society. He has written previously on the Queensland Deposit Bank and Building Society Limited, the oldest and largest of the land banks. For this Talk he deals with all 10.

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115 William St

115 William Street

Brisbane City, QLD 4000

Australia

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