Type of entity
Legal Status Text
Authorized form of name
Other form(s) of name
Dates of existence
The Agricultural Bank of Western Australia was established as a government-owned bank to assist with the occupation, cultivation and improvement of agricultural land within Western Australia.
In August 1894, Parliament heard the first readings of what was to become the Agricultural Bank of Western Australia Act 1895. The proclaimed Act allowed the bank to provide individual loans of up to 300 pounds in return for improvements to agricultural land. The land improvements were defined as clearing, cultivation, draining, fencing, ring barking and planting vines or orchards. This Act worked in parallel to the Homesteads Act 1893 which offered free land grants if farmers took up, resided on and cultivated their land. Farmers also received:
1. Easy loan terms;
2. Assured product markets;
3. Tariff protection of 6 pence/bushel on imported crop.
The purpose of the 1895 Act was to provide for an institution that made a small profit (1%) at no cost to the State. A new Act was passed in 1906 allowing loan amounts to be increased from 300 pounds to 400 pounds. Total capital also increased from 100,000 pounds to 200,000 pounds. There were further revisions of the Act in 1909 and 1912.
Droughts in 1911 and 1914 led to a decrease in bank repayments during a period where the bank was lending money to anyone capable of farming.
1916 saw the amalgamation of the Agricultural Bank with the Industry Assistance Board to form the Rural and Industries Bank of Western Australia. The Industry Assistance Board was set up to provide assistance to farmers, already settled on land, to remain there. There was a 6% interest payment on any loan, although there was no set term for loan repayment. Amendments to legislation in 1917 set repayments at 5 years, made advancements available for any approved purpose and had the Rural & Industries Board recover the first 20% of debt. The remainder of debt went to other creditors.
[References: Lockyer, S., "The Development of the R & I Bank for its Inception to the Present Day, R & I Bank, 1970; Spillman, K., "A History of the R & I Bank of WA", UWA Press, 1989; Taylor, G., "The Agricultural Bank & The Industries Assistance Board", Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1921].
Functions, occupations and activities
Mandates/sources of authority
Abolition: Rural & Industries Bank of Western Australia Act 1916