Westpac Bank (Former) | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Westpac Bank (Former)

Item details

Name of item: Westpac Bank (Former)
Other name/s: Santos Trading Company; Former Bank of New South Wales; Bank Building
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Finance
Category: Bank
Primary address: 51-53 Burringbar Street, Mullumbimby, NSW 2482
Local govt. area: Byron
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
51-53 Burringbar StreetMullumbimbyByron  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

A landmark building with a prominent place in the town's commercial and cultural history. It is consonant with and complements the atmosphere created by the old verandahed hotels, including the Commercial hotel on the opposite corner. Taken together, these buildings create an atmosphere of a country town of some substance, which derived from successful commerce and a stable monetary infrastructure. It is the most imposing and substantial building in the main street of Mullumbimby.
It is a significant example of country town banking architecture of the period the first decade of the Twentieth Century and a major element in the central town precinct.
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Construction years: 1906-1907
Physical description: A substantial and imposing two-storey former bank building on a prominent corner in the main street. The building is designed in a neo-classical Italianate palazzo style with arcades on the two street facades. The brick construction is enhanced with cement-rendered mouldings to the semi-circular arches of the upper verandah arcade and the square columns and balustrade of the ground floor arcade. The red face brickwork contrasts with the painted cement-rendered detailing to the chimneys, cornices, arcades, windows and doors. The hipped roof is clad with Colorbond roof sheeting.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Current use: Commercial - Wholefoods, organic supplier
Former use: Bank


Historical notes: The town of Mullumbimby is built substantially on a reserve of one square mile that was created in 1872 as a site for a village at the confluence of the Brunswick River and Mullumbimby Creek. The village was proclaimed in 1887 and the first land sales in the village occurred in the following year. The first signs of commerce appeared in the village in the late 1880s. However the impetus for growth occurred in 1894 when the Tweed Railway was built and a station was constructed on the eastern side of the village. The town developed on both sides of the railway although most commercial activities and the preponderance of housing was built in the area bounded by the railway on the east and the Brunswick River and Mullumbimby Creek on the north, west and south.

Mullumbimby was incorporated as an area of Local Government in 1908. The population of the town was then 907 people. Over the following decades the place grew into a substantial town with two storey hotels and banks on the principal corners.

By WWII, when the town had its own power and water supplies, the population had grown to 2000. Byron Shire council provided (sold) power and water and also white goods, from the showroom it built in Dalley Street in 1954.

Timber and dairying were the commercial mainstays of the town. Bananas and sugar cane have contributed also to the primary output. As a rural centre and seat of local government, selling power and water to nearby communities outside the town boundaries, the town has maintained steady prosperity which is reflected in the building stock of the town, despite periodic fires that have been responsible for the destruction of some of the former buildings of note.

The first Bank of NSW was opened on 28th November 1902 in a rented five-room cottage in Stuart Street. The land was subsequently purchased and the corner site consolidated by acquisition of the adjoining lot in 1905. This building, the first major brick building in the town was built for the Bank of New South Wales in 1906 by Samuel Box at cost of 2,544 pounds using bricks from Fred Frost. It featured extensive use of cedar and kauri pine in the stairs and acetylene lighting.

The architect was the well known Sydney-based designer John Kirkpatrick. The first manager was R.M.Thompson when the bank opened in January 1907.

It is representative of the period of growth and consolidation when the town and municipality became established. It is the oldest bank in Mullumbimby and the oldest building built from locally made bricks in a striking civic commercial style with strong classical characteristics.

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]
This is a significant item in the banking history of the township and is its oldest bank. It is the first substantial brick building in the town, made with bricks produced by local brickmaker Fred Frost.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
A fine example of early 20th Century Italianate palazzo style banking architecture on a prominent corner forming a group with prominent buildings on the other corners.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The bank was an important institution and continuous employer in the commercial history of the town It formed part of a now defunct social custom, under which country town bank managers often lived above their workplaces and participated actively in the social activities of the community.
SHR Criteria f)
The most imposing and substantial building in the heart of the commercial precinct.
Integrity/Intactness: High
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.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan  17 Mar 88   
Local Environmental PlanByron LEP 2014I12621 Jul 14   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Byron Shire Community Based Heritage Study20059.121Donald Ellsmore and Ian FoxJeff Garratt Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenTim Shellshear for Byron Shire Council1983Report: Byron Shire Environmental Study: Working paper No. 6_ Heritage, August, 1983, Ref. No. 3, page 40.

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: 1260188

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