Fremantle Stuff > Banks > Western Australian Bank

Western Australian Bank

Western Australian Bank, 1891, 22 High St, aka Bank of NSW, Westpac Building, Challenge Bank, ND28: Physiotherapy

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The Western Australian Bank was in a sense a breakaway ... from the original Bank of Western Australia started in 1837. This occurred in 1841 when, after the WA Bank was taken over by the much larger Bank of Australasia, a group of dissatisfied shareholders decided to form a new one. ... in 1927, directors recommended its sale to the Bank of New South Wales. It subsequently traded as a Westpac branch until 1999, when it was bought by the University of Notre Dame. Already much of the ornate interior had been "modernised," including the removal of the staircase. Webb & Warren: 18-19.

The two storey building at 22 High Street was designed by J. Talbot Hobbs as the Western Australian Bank. The building was completed in 1892. It has two storeys with a banking chamber, and offices. 
Classified by National Trust in 1974. 
This place received a Fremantle Award in 1980.
Currently (2002), Notre Dame College of Health.
The one storey section at the rear, on Mouat Street was previously (1920) occupied by Fothergill & Co, and several shipping agents. Currently (2002), Performing Arts Centre for Notre Dame University.
A grand Victorian bank displaying all the optimism indicated by the gold discoveries and the work on the harbour. A finely executed example of a building in the Federation Academic Classical style that remains substantially intact. Considered to be one of the finest buildings in Fremantle and significant for aesthetic, historic, social and streetscape reasons. Significant example of the work of prominent architect J.Talbot Hobbs.
Two storey rendered commercial building, (lower height at rear in Mouat Street) with ashlar effect on the ground floor and limestone foundations. The building has a zero setback from the pavements The decorative parapet has a pediment featuring decorative arch with 'AD 1891' in stucco. The pediment over the front entrance is flanked by pilasters with brackets above. There are engaged Corinthian columns on the first floor and engaged low piers below the windows, the first floor has stucco arched sash windows with keystones.
The lower part, at rear, in Mouat Street, is a single storey face brick building with a hipped roof and a zero setback from the pavement. Three large archways (two are windows) form a major feature of the façade, with a circular window above a stucco ribbon detail. Heritage Council.

As the maritime gateway to Perth, Fremantle also benefited from the gold discoveries. Major building works were undertaken and a major proportion of the current building stock of central Fremantle was built between 1890 and 1910. By 1896, the commercial centre of Fremantle was well established in Cliff Street as it facilitated the transport of goods from the sea jetty to the Swan River and then on to Perth. The business district centred mainly on the east [sic - 'west' must surely be intended] end of High Street and along Mouat, Pakenham and Henry Streets. It was to this area that the banks were attracted to locate their branch buildings. Bank of Australasia was built after three other banks in the street. These were: the National Bank at No. 16 High Street, built in 1887; the Western Australian Bank at No. 22, built in 1891; and, the Commercial Bank at No. 20, built in 1901. These buildings have similar architectural elements, are of similar stylistic idiom and have attached residences. Heritage Council.

References and Links

Webb, David & David Warren 2005, Fremantle: Beyond the Round House, Longley, Fremantle.


Garry Gillard | New: 30 August, 2015 | Now: 1 September, 2015