Commonwealth Bank Including Interior | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Commonwealth Bank Including Interior

Item details

Name of item: Commonwealth Bank Including Interior
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Bank
Primary address: 270-276 King Street, Newtown, NSW 2042
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
270-276 King StreetNewtownSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The former Commonwealth Bank dates from a key period of expanison, development and significant building activity for the bank. It demonstrates the rapid expansion of the bank following amalgamations with State banks.It is a good example of a post war commercial building with common design elements and the application of ornament to a somewhat utilitairan building in the stripped classical style responding to design trends in USA and Europe at the time. The building demonstrates security and strength and makes a positive contribution to the streetscape.
Date significance updated: 04 Mar 03
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.


Physical description: The building is a symmetrical 2 storey inter war stripped classical style commercial building on a prominent wide frontage site. The building is constructed of rendered brickwork with vertically aligned timber double windows. A simple pedimented parapet with rondels, cornices and mouldings.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In good condition with a high degree of original fabric intact above awning level and high potential for restoration.
Date condition updated:02 Feb 03
Modifications and dates: The building has had several minor modifications primarily confined to the ground floor level banking hall and awning.
Further information: Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.


Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters.

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population. Aboriginal people from across the state have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney.

(Information sourced from Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City )

The King Street area was first surveyed for land grants in 1793 with the first grants being made to officers of the NSW Corps by Governor Phiillip prior to his return to England. By 1810 much of the land in the area had been distributed and a track established along the boundary of the grants. This track eventually became a road and was first known as Bulanaming Rd from 1789 to 1820 when it then became known as Cooks River Road, and then Newtown Rd in 1855 when the railway from Sydney to Parramatta was opened with a station at Newtown. By the 1850's the area had developed in to an established community. In the 1860's there was lobbying to establish a local council which occurred in 1862. From the 1870's the character began to change with light industry being established in the area resulting in a substantial increase in the population as workers moved to be in close proximity to their workplace. This included the nearby Eveleigh railway yards etsablished in 1879 and expanded in1885. The rapid increase in poulation resulted in the subdivision of the larger estates and the establishment of shops and services. By the 1880's Newtown had become the most flourishing retail area outside of the city and was well served by public transport. The building was constructed c1940.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The building has historic significance as it demonstrates the rapid expansion and building following the amalgamation between the Commonwealth Bank and the State Savings Bank.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building is a prominent element in the streetscape and good example of a post war building with typical key elements of the style.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The area is not identified in an archaeological zoning plan and the area has been well researched and it is unlikely that the site would reveal further information that would contribute to the significance of the area.
SHR Criteria f)
The building is not rare.
SHR Criteria g)
The building is a representative example of a inter war stripped classical bank building found in the inner suburbs of Sydney.
Integrity/Intactness: High above awning
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

The building should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. No vertical additions to the building and no alterations to the facade of the building above awning level other than to reinstate original features. There should be no full width awning to the building and any alterations to the ground floor should respect the strong fenestration pattern - full width shopfronts are not appropriate. Any additions should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance and not be visibly prominent and be in accordance with the King Street/Enmore Rd DCP. The building should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, or a Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to the building and no alterations to the fa├žade of the building other than to reinstate original features. The principal room layout and planning configuration as well as significant internal original features including ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces should be retained and conserved. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance, should not be visibly prominent and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I100414 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Modern Movement Architecture in Central Sydney - Heritage Study Review2014 Tanner Kibble Denton Architects  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2420853

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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