200 years supporting Australia

To celebrate the people and events that shaped Westpac, we’ve created the Bicentennial book.

View the video or browse the interactive timeline below which brings our story to life.

200 Years Book

Video version

1817

Governor Lachlan Macquarie, Founder of Bank of New South Wales

1817

Governor Lachlan Macquarie, Founder of Bank of New South Wales

Governor Lachlan Macquarie set the wheels in motion when, in 1817, he endorsed the establishment of the colony's first 'Public and Colonial Bank' by commissioning seven directors to manage the bank, saying "Persevere Gentlemen, in time not too far distant the bank will gradually flourish, to the benefit of the country at large..."

FIRST DISASTER RELIEF FUND IN AUSTRALIA

Our first disaster relief fund emerged in Australia to help victims of the Hawkesbury River flood in NSW in 1817-18. In 2013 we established a Natural Disaster Recovery Fund to support communities to rebuild.

MISSION AUSTRALIA

Westpac and Mission Australia have shared a banking relationship that dates back to the 1800s. These days we’re working in partnership to support community organisations that help the homeless.

1861

Thomas Buckland established Buckland Fund which became Westpac Foundation

1861

Thomas Buckland established Buckland Fund which became Westpac Foundation

Thomas Buckland joined as a member of the Board in 1861 and, for a time, also acted as overall Manager. In 1879 he established The Buckland Fund with his £1000 bonus to help employees and their families experiencing financial hardship. The Buckland Fund has evolved into a modern charitable trust known as Westpac Foundation.

First female employee

We hired our first female employee in 1898. Now 48% of our leadership roles are held by women.

1931

Sir Alfred Davidson KBE

1931

Sir Alfred Davidson KBE

Alfred Davidson was a second-generation Bank Officer and had overseen the bank's amalgamation with the Western Australian Bank before becoming General Manager in 1929. Through his foresight, the Bank emerged as a national leader through its push for a more realistically valued currency - leading an Australian recovery during the Great Depression.

1941

BankSA helped armed forces in World War II

1941

BankSA helped armed forces in World War II

In the midst of World War II employees at the Bank of South Australia (now BankSA) banded together to send parcels to their colleagues serving in the armed forces. This act of generosity was the start of the BankSA Staff & Charitable Fund. Over a period of 75 years the fund has donated more than $8 million.

1973

Launch of Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service in Sydney, NSW

1973

Launch of Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service in Sydney, NSW

Over the last 40 years the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service has changed the lives of tens of thousands of ordinary Australians.

1980

First major Australian bank to introduce ATMs

1980

First major Australian bank to introduce ATMs

A promotional robot travelled the country to teach customers about the new technology.

1982

Westpac Banking Corporation Established

1982

Westpac Banking Corporation Established

Bank of New South Wales merged with the Commercial Bank of Australia to form Westpac Banking Corporation.

1982

Fashion Forward

1982

Fashion Forward

Supermodel Elle Macpherson modelled Westpac’s corporate uniform. We were the first bank to dress distinctively.

First Eftpos

Westpac was the first bank in the world to launch electronic banking using debit and credit from cheque or savings accounts through its Handyway and Handybank service.

First supported salvation army’s red shield appeal

We have had a relationship with The Salvation Army for more than 100 years and we continue this support today through their Annual Red Shield Appeal, their Christmas Appeal and more recently their Emergency Relief programs.

FIRST PUBLISHED OUR POSITION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

We were the first bank to publish an environmental policy. Since then we have actively advocated leading solutions to address environmental challenges, including reducing our direct and indirect environmental footprint and collaborating globally. We were the first bank to commit to doing our part in helping to keep global warming to below two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

1995

First corporate paid maternity leave

1995

First corporate paid maternity leave

Matching Gifts

We were the first Australian bank to launch a workplace giving program, 'Matching Gifts', where we match employees’ charitable donations dollar-for-dollar. Through the program we’ve donated more than $50 million.

2001

Co-founded Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnerships

2001

Co-founded Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnerships

We helped establish Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnerships. Nearly 750 employees have contributed the equivalent of more than 100 years through secondments to Indigenous Australian community organisations.

2002

Westpac acquired BT Financial Group

2002

Westpac acquired BT Financial Group

2003

Founding signatory to the Equator Principles

2003

Founding signatory to the Equator Principles

2008

Merge with St.George

2008

Merge with St.George

Westpac and St.George Bank merged after a majority of St.George shareholders voted in favour of the merger.

2008

RAMS and BankSA

2008

RAMS and BankSA

Westpac acquired RAMS in 2007 and BankSA in 2008. Both brands operate as part of the St.George Group.

2008

Gail Kelly appointed CEO

2008

Gail Kelly appointed CEO

Gail Kelly became the first female leader of our company, when she was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Westpac Group in 2008.

WE PUBLISHED OUR FIRST RECONCILIATION ACTION PLAN

2011

Bank of Melbourne re-launched

2011

Bank of Melbourne re-launched

Bank of Melbourne was re-launched in 2011 with 14 new branches opening that year alone. It’s now servicing Victorians in many communities across the state. The company was originally acquired by Westpac in 2007.

2011

Established Westpac’s Davidson Institute

2011

Established Westpac’s Davidson Institute

Through Westpac’s Davidson Institute, we were the first Australian bank to offer accredited financial education to customers and the community. In the past three years we have provided more than 9,663 hours of financial education.

2013

Helping Victorians

2013

Helping Victorians

Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund is established to help support disadvantaged Victorians. In its first year the Fund, with the support of the St.George Foundation, awarded grants to 96 Australian communities worth nearly $1.8 million.

2014

Westpac Bicentennial Foundation

2014

Westpac Bicentennial Foundation

We’ve established the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation the single largest corporate education scholarship program in Australia’s history – a $100 million fund, awarding 100 scholarships every year, forever.

2015

Brian Hartzer appointed CEO

2015

Brian Hartzer appointed CEO

Brian was appointed Managing Director & CEO in February 2015. Brian joined Westpac as Chief Executive, Australian Financial Services in June 2012 encompassing Westpac Retail & Business Banking, St.George Banking Group and BT Financial Group.

2016

Launched the Businesses of Tomorrow program

2016

Launched the Businesses of Tomorrow program

The program will connect and celebrate 200 Businesses of Tomorrow offering recognition and support.

2017

Our 200th Anniversary

2017

Our 200th Anniversary

Australia’s first company. Australia’s first bank. Just as committed to Australians now, as we were 200 years ago.