24 February 1886 Closure of the Commercial Bank of South Australia
The Commercial Bank of South Australia closed its doors at 10.05 a.m. on 24 February 1886. This drastic action was brought about through mismanagement and poor accounting. Rumours of instability were rife in the city for days before the crash, and the Board took the action of closing the Bank before there could be a run on the funds. The Bank was founded in 1878 and in the following years established some 21 branches in country towns as well as Melbourne and Perth.
Over the few weeks following the closure, as enquiries into the Bank's activities were conducted, it became apparent that the manager, ironically a man named Crooks, had misled the Board. He was arrested and charged with supplying false statements to the directors. The Observer newspaper reported that the plight of the Bank's investors and customers was brought about by 'the inexcusable conduct of the man who was paid to protect their interests'. The Bank was forced into liquidation and many people suffered serious losses through its demise.
Observer, 27 February 1886, pp. 14, 24, 30; 6 March 1886, p. 24; 10 April 1886, p. 24