This paper note is a rare part of Queensland’s history.
In the early days of Moreton Bay, in outlying settlements such as Drayton, Ipswich and the Darling Downs, coins and banknotes were very scarce, as banks did not have branches or agencies established in remote areas.
Squatters and traders developed paper notes or IOU’s for denominations of less than £1, and these were accepted as payment for goods and services, passing from one person to another instead of bank notes or coins.
They were known as “shinplasters”, but in outlying areas near Moreton they were called “calabashes”.
As more and more trade came to Toowoomba and banks began to open, it was felt that the “calabashes” were becoming a nuisance.
The Bank of New South Wales opened a branch in Toowoomba in July 1860 in Ruthvern Street, and it advised that “interest is allowed by the bank on money deposited for fixed periods of 3, 6 or 12 months at the rates of 3, 4 and 5 percent”.
That year business men of the town decided to discontinue the use of “calabashes” and at a meeting on 13th October the motion was proposed by Mr GROOM and seconded by Mr PATERSON and carried unanimously –
“That this meeting being of the opinion that it is highly essential to the prosperity of the town to afford every facility to commercial transactions, and believing that the order system, at present in circulation, to be a serious drawback to trade and commerce generally, pledges itself to refuse all orders and IOU’s under £1 as money currency after the first of December next”
On October 15th the resolutions carried at the meeting were advertised in the ‘Darling Downs Gazette’ and “in a little more than a month, “calabashes” had passed into oblivion”