• B25;
  • M40;
  • N0;
  • N01;
  • N90
  • accounting;
  • Bank of New South Wales;
  • banking record;
  • business network;
  • colonial business;
  • uncertainty

Examining accounting transactions between depositors in the first accounts ledger of the Bank of New South Wales contributes to our knowledge of early Australian colonial businesspeople and their business activities. A social network analysis framework is applied to the transactions to disclose business networks and prominent individuals in the networks. The analysis seeks to ascertain the importance of these people to commerce and the significance of their networks in facilitating commercial relationships in a business environment fraught with uncertainty. The results illustrate the importance of networks to colonial trade and mercantile activity, especially for smaller scale businesspeople.