Interlocking directorates can encourage innovation, cooperation, and adherence to best practices or can contribute to collusion, corruption, and the stagnation of ideas. Research has identified the contingent nature of director networks, with outcomes dependent on the nature of the tie; the firms and individuals involved; and the institutional, sociopolitical, and cultural context. Distinguishing between helpful and harmful interlocks thus requires understanding the foundations on which they were built. This article is the first systematic, longitudinal analysis of the antecedents of interlocking directorates in Australia, complementing substantial international efforts to understand and compare director networks across the twentieth century. The network has been characterized by a relatively consistent long-run level of connection but substantial variation in the causes of interlocks. The director network in Australia has responded to the pragmatics of the board member occupation, with corporate governance regulations, the progress of the professions, banking and prudential practices, and the form of large organizations encouraging ties that were built on professional expertise and geographic proximity. These findings are important for policy makers, regulatory bodies, and scholars, highlighting the importance of understanding the contextual foundations of interlocks when assessing their potential for harm.