Fremantle Stuff > Banks > Bank of NSW

Bank of NSW

Bank of NSW, 1899, 7 High St


The Bank of NSW building, at 7 High St, cnr Cliff St, was designed by Wilkinson & Smith, and built for the Bank on land owned by Pearse and Owston in 1899. The building was fully leased to NDA when it was sold in 2014. The current owner is former mayor Peter Tagliaferri.

This was constructed for Captain WM Owston in 1899, and he operated a branch of the bank there until 1916-1917. It has a superb carved jarrah ceiling, typical of the sober opulence of older banks. On the top of the facade are scallop shell mouldings, a decoration found on other buildings in the West End. Hutchison: 98-99.

The first building on Lot 19 was a long galvanised iron warehouse built for Pearse and Owston, to the rear of the lot. It was not until 1899 that a banking chamber and three offices were constructed. The Bank of New South Wales was Australia's oldest bank and for many years its most nationally based. Its appearance in Fremantle in the 1890s suggests that boom time in the western third was being watched with interest by financiers in the eastern colonies. Its opening coincided with commencement of work on the inner harbour. The one storey building was not elaborate when compared with bank buildings in Melbourne or Sydney, but it does represent an investment in the fortunes of the colony and a growing awareness that Fremantle was about to grow into a major port. It had one chamber and three rooms and was in use as a bank until 1926.
In 1926 Swan Wool Scouring Co of WA took over as owners and occupiers.
In 2002 the building was occupied by Millennium-Exposition of Wonders.
In 2010, the building is the School of Business for Notre Dame University.
A Heritage Assessment was prepared in November 2009 by Heritage and Conservation Professionals for advice to Council (DA0562/09) for retrospective development approval for the installation of air conditioning units.
Physical Description
This single storey painted tuck pointed brick commercial building with roughcast stone foundations and a zero setback from the pavement. The building features stucco cornice and highly decorative parapet, which has engaged low piers and pediments that are finished with a pair of spheres on the top corners. The main entrance has a stucco gable above and recessed timber French doors, the recessed stucco arched windows have external metal security bars. Heritage Council.

References and Links

Heritage Council.

See also: Wikipedia page

Garry Gillard | New: 29 August, 2015 | Now: 9 February, 2019