John Russell (Royal Bank of Australia)

The “Royal Bank of Australia” is a trading name with an enduring appeal, having been chosen no less than three times over the past 180 years – twice by legitimate businesses (the second more legitimate than the first), and most recently by John Russell, who claimed he was “testing the legitimacy of the Australian legal system”.

Royal Bank of Australia #1 – Benjamin Boyd’s Private Bank (1842-1849) The 19th century entrepreneur Benjamin Boyd has been described as a “swashbuckling entrepreneur” in the same vein as some of the “buccaneers” that followed him 140 years later – Christopher Skase; Alan Bond and Robert Holmes a Court. Ben Boyd (1801 – 1851) was a British stockbroker who foresaw great profits in the colonies of Australia. He raised £200,000 in funds from a wide range of Scottish investors, bought several steamships (a relatively new technology at that time), and embarked for New South Wales. Boyd’s arrived in NSW with a higher profile than he had at the time of his departure: “The arrival of Benjamin Boyd in Australia marked the beginning of a period of hitherto unknown commercial adventuring his exit, and subsequent mysterious disappearance, occasioned much conjecture, and, incidentally, cost the Government and a section of the business community of Sydney a considerable sum of money.” Despite its name, the Royal Bank of Australia Episode 1 has been described as “…never having functioned as an ordinary bank, and was probably never meant to. Instead, Boyd himself became the bank’s chief debtor. From the first, he used its funds as if they were his own to invest in New South Wales.” A paper published by RBA (the Reserve Bank of Australia) staff on the history of banking in Australia also states that “The bank, formed in 1839, never carried out more than cursory banking operations.” Boyd had decided to invest the funds of the Royal Bank in three industries: steamships, whaling and squatting. Without wanting to steal the thunder of any of the four books written on his life and times, Boyd was spectacularly unsuccessful in each of these areas.

Royal Bank of Australia #2 – (1888 ~ 1927) As Benjamin Boyd had died in Guadalcanal in 1851, when the Royal Bank of Australia was restructured in 1888, it was completely free of any link to a buccaneer or swashbuckling of any kind. The second iteration of the Royal Bank of Australia proved to be far more successful than the first as a result – it survived the 1893 banking crisis, and merged with the English, Scottish & Australian Bank in 1927, which is now part of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ).

Royal Bank of Australia #3 – (2013-2017) a fictional bank created by John Russell.


 The Royal Bank of Australia website claims:

“The Royal Bank of Australia is the central bank of the ‘Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland’ and ‘The Commonwealth’. The Bank provides sovereign banking services to Governments globally, and to a number of overseas central banks, and official institutions, inter alia. 

The Royal Bank of Australia is an organisation established by Royal Charter to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. 

The Royal Bank of Australia is the world’s bank of last resort. The Royal Bank of Australia is a division of the Australian Imperial Crown Corporation.”

The website had several rather bizarre pages, (which had since been deleted) such as: “Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland & The Commonwealth” and “Contact: Queen Victoria’s Rose” which appears to have some link to the choice of “Royal Armorial Bearing”. The website contains vouchers of various denominations, and several documents regarding historical developments in currency and the fractional reserve system: “Bankers Bradbury and the carnage on the Western Front!” by Justin Walker of the OPCA “British Constitution Group”, one relating to “Historical Australian Bank Notes” and another “The High Court of Chivilary” extracted from England Law Reports 1955.


He had spent a lot of time with Steven Spiers appearing in many videos together around 2013-2014, and much of Steven Spiers influence can be traced back to John Russell’s material. A parallel is that like Steven Spiers had done later, John Russell also declared himself “King of Australia” with a self-styled title “James II Rex”.


Unfortunately, it appears as though James II Rex was usurped of his throne, (and his website) as shortly afterwards there appeared a “James III Rex” who although he used the vouchers bearing the signature of James II Rex, spoke rather uncomplimentary of the former king. The “Royal Armorial Bearing” referred to also states it is that of “James I Rex” which adds further confusion to their collective fantasies.


Through this Facebook page “Australians Unite for D-DAY” this “James III Rex” had encouraged followers to deposit these “Royal Bank of Australia” vouchers (bearing the signature of James II Rex) into their bank account.


As noted above, there also appears to have been some dispute between the administrators of this page, one of which was Frank Rogan, later to be involved with the Swissindo scam. Frank Rogan removed “James III Rex”  as administrator, commenting that:


Like many Australian pseudo legal schemes, it was posited that the “Crown of the United Kingdom of Australia and Ireland” was still very much current, despite the title having been superseded by subsequent titles in 1927, and further after the Crown divided with the collapse of the British Empire:

“…the “Crown of the United Kingdom of Australia and Ireland” has for the purposes of international law been fully restored, and that the ‘Commonwealth of Australia’ has joint sovereign heads as follows – “By the Grace of God Elizabeth The Third Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Her Other Realms and Territories Joint Head of The Commonwealth”, and “By the Grace of God James The Third King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and His Other Realms and Territories Joint Head of The Commonwealth”.


Several years later in 2017, John Russell was arrested in Canberra after stealing $3500 in groceries, clothing, food, books and dvd’s, using his fake “Royal Bank of Australia” vouchers. He appeared in court barefooted, as the police had seized the shoes and socks he was wearing as stolen items. ABC: “Woolworths scammers stole $3,500 in groceries with fake ‘Royal Bank of Australia’ vouchers, court hears“:


Canberra Times: “NT man faces court for stealing thousands from major Canberra retailers“: