Anz Bank (Former) | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Anz Bank (Former)

Item details

Name of item: Anz Bank (Former)
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Bank
Primary address: 102 Hunter Street, Newcastle, NSW 2300
Local govt. area: Newcastle
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
102 Hunter StreetNewcastleNewcastle  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The ANZ bank has local historical, aesthetic and representative significance as part of a group of bank and insurance buildings constructed in the Newcastle CBD in the 1910s-1930s which transformed the streetscape of Hunter Street in particular and consolidated its position as the premier business thoroughfare in the city. The ANZ building was at the leading edge of Newcastle’s new phase of commerce, riding on the back of heavy industry, and the flurry of building activity in this period, giving banking and insurance a modern presence in the city in purpose-built premises. The ANZ has the capacity to represent key characteristics of the group of 1910s-1930s bank and insurance company premises in central Newcastle. The history of the site is representative of this group, as a hotel, which then hosted banking functions before classical-style purpose-built premises were constructed. The building has local aesthetic significance as it makes an important contribution to the Hunter Street streetscape as a substantial and well-crafted Inter-War Palazzo style structure on a prominent corner. The site of the ANZ building, being formerly the site of the Ship Inn has local significance through its association with the Hannell family, in particular James Hannell who was licensee for the Ship and became Newcastle's first Mayor.The interiors are of significance.
Date significance updated: 21 May 08
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: Scott and Green
Physical description: The ANZ building is a five storey sandstone building in the Inter-War Commercial Palazzo style. The external walls are load bearing, faced with sandstone above a granite base. The lower two storeys feature rusticated stonework and florentine arches, below a minor entablature, while the upper three storeys are unified by a vertical emphasis, shallow pilasters, smooth stonework and a pattern of rectangular windows which diminish in height with each change of level. The building is topped by a classical bracketed cornice.

The building addresses the corner of Hunter and Bolton Streets, with the main public entrance opening onto the corner under a small triangular portico in granite and marble. A pair of columns links the third and fourth levels on the chamfered corner above the main entrance. The public service area is entered via double timber doors, the inner pair having 'UBA' inscribed into the central glass panel.

Newcastle's CBD is of predominantly Victorian scale, and thus the NAB building and its fellow bank and insurance company buildings of the 1920s and 1930s retain their sense of grandness on the Hunter Street streetscape. The NAB forms part of an early twentieth century commercial streetscape complementing the important complex of Victorian public buildings on the northern side of Hunter Street between Bolton and Watt Streets.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building appears to be in good condition.
Date condition updated:21 May 08
Current use: Bank

History

Historical notes: The ANZ building is associated with the history of Australian banking and with the development of Newcastle as a commercial centre, with a central business district evolving around Hunter and Watt Streets from the second half of the nineteenth century.

Before 1810, barter was the primary form of transaction in NSW. The colony was not provided with an adequate quantity of English coins for these alone to suffice for the purchase of imports and internal transactions, and the Governors administered the use of coinage originating from various parts of the world. When in 1800 a quantity of copper coin arrived in the colony, a great variety of coins including Dutch gilders, rupees and ducats were assigned specific sterling values for exchange purposes within the colony. There was great scope for counterfeiters, and barter, particularly in rum, seemed to many to be a more reliable form of exchange. In 1804, for instance, the Government brewery accepted payment for its beer in the form of wheat, barley, hops, casks or iron hoops. The consignments of coal sent from Newcastle to Calcutta though the 1810s were paid for in Bengal rum. An official system of paper money operated in parallel, with military purchases being made in 'Paymaster's notes' and 'Store receipts' given to those who lodged produce in the King's store. Private individuals began to follow suit, and issue their own 'notes' or 'cards' in a complex and flexible system of 'I.O.U.'. (F. A. Cadell, Early Banking in Sydney and Newcastle, pp. 2-3, 24)

Governor Macquarie endeavoured to implement monetary reform in the Colony, plagued still by a rum economy. Among his initiatives was the establishment of the colony's first banking institution: the New South Wales Loan Bank opened 8th April 1817 in Mrs Mary Reiby's house in Macquarie Place, Sydney. Although Macquarie received correspondence from the Colonial Office the following year stating that he was not legally empowered to charter a bank, he delayed replying to the Colonial Office on the subject, and the bank continued to have unofficial success, receiving favourable comments in the 1822 Bigge Report. (F. A. Cadell, pp. 7-9) This bank was incorporated as the Bank of New South Wales in 1850.

In 1819 Robert Campbell, merchant, known as the 'father of Australian commerce' and the first to have shipped Newcastle coal to Calcutta, opened Australia's first savings bank, known as 'Campbell's Bank', and by 1832 it was a roaring success. Across the mid nineteenth century a number of other Australian banks sprang up, including the Union Bank of Australia, established first in Launceston, Tasmania in 1838, and the English, Scottish and Australian Bank established in 1852. (F. A. Cadell, pp. 9, 14) By 1850, eighteen banks had been established, three were based in London, but the remainder were all based in Australian population centres. It was not until after 1850 and the gold rushes, however, that these institutions began to set up branches in NSW's larger centres in any significant numbers. Banking and investment initiatives expanded during the gold rushes, and also during the economic boom of the 1880s. (Australian Encyclopaedia Vol. 1, p. 412).

Although at least two banks had considered Newcastle and the Hunter Valley within their prospective sphere of business from the 1830s, it was indeed not until the mid 1850s that banks began to establish a presence in Newcastle. When they did, their focus was very much on establishing a good position on one of the town's main thoroughfares, centred on Watt Street and Hunter Street.

The penal settlement from which the city of Newcastle grew, had grown up around Watt Street (then known as George Street) which led from the wharf to the commandant's house overlooking the small settlement. After most of the convicts were moved to Port Macquarie in 1822, the settlement was re-laid out by Surveyor Dangar on a grid pattern which forms today's central Newcastle. Dangar's plan was for a town with 190 allotments, a church enclave and a marketplace, suited to fulfilling the function of main centre and port town of the rapidly developing Hunter Valley. Superimposed onto the irregular pattern of the convict settlement, the grid necessitated the demolition of even some of the more solid buildings of the penal settlement, none of which survive today. In the event, Maitland-Morpeth proved to be the main centre of the Hunter Valley region prior to the coming of the railway. In 1829 the Australian Agricultural Company, looking for coal-bearing land, was granted 2,000 acres on the western boundary of the town (Brown Street), bringing new life to Newcastle. Up to the 1850s, the Company did not have the right to alienate any of its land, even when it was no longer useful for mining. The development of central Newcastle as a town was thus restricted to the compact area east of Brown Street. Before 1850 this was not a problem as Newcastle was still a mere village, the home of about 1,500 people of whom some one fifth were coal miners. The mid 1850s, however, saw the arrival of rail in Newcastle, and business began to take off, as the colony's economy generally boomed due to the gold rushes. A Chamber of Commerce formed in Newcastle in 1856 and pressed for improvement of port facilities to facilitate commercial growth of the town. The local coal industry was growing steadily, and from the 1860s local manufacturing industries, processing the produce of the Hunter Valley (some of which were established in the 1840s), began to recover from the labour shortages and inflation caused by the gold rushes. (City Wide Heritage Study, Thematic History, pp. 3-6)

The Bank of New South Wales was the first to commence operations in Newcastle. In 1832 the bank had selected an allotment on Watt Street. The land, however, passed through the hands of two other owners before the bank opened its Newcastle branch there in June 1853. A month earlier the bank had opened a branch in Maitland. Bowker and Tally, leading Newcastle storekeepers, were the first depositors. Similarly, the Bank of Australasia had considered commencing operations in East Maitland from 1839. A Newcastle branch was opened in 1854, supplied at the outset with cash from the East Maitland office. The bank purchased the area bounded by Hunter, Brown, King and Crown Streets, one acre, from the Australian Agricultural Company and erected a bank premises on the corner of Hunter and Brown Streets, gradually selling off the remainder of the block. The Australian Joint Stock Bank opened a branch in May 1861 on the corner of Hunter and Watt Streets, then regarded as the premier business position in town, becoming the Australian Bank of Commerce in 1910. This bank amalgamated with the Bank of New South Wales, and continued to occupy this site, now known as Bank Corner. (F. A. Cadell, pp. 16-17, 23)

The latter decades of the nineteenth century saw a bustle of bank activity on the intersection of Hunter Street with Watt and Bolton Streets, consolidating this area as Newcastle’s main banking and business district. More banks opened Newcastle branches, and parcels of land and premises frequently changed hands between banks, as they jostled for a good position. This period saw the construction of an important group of public buildings on the northern side of Hunter Street, between Bolton Street and Watt Street, which further confirmed the status of Hunter Street as the premier business thoroughfare: the Electric Telegraph Office and new Police Station both constructed in 1861, and an expanded Post and Telegraph Office constructed in 1872, and then an even grander Post Office building, the impressive classical edifice on the north eastern corner of Bolton and Hunter Streets, constructed 1903/4. (Government Architect's Branch, PWD NSW, 1983, pp 3, 8; Maitland & Stafford, 1997, p 43) The banks, on the other hand, did not generally put their architectural stamp onto Hunter Street until later, but instead adapted existing buildings for their purposes until the 1920s and 1930s. The London Chartered Bank, for example, operated for at least a decade from 1873 in a weatherboard building on the corner of Bolton and Scott Streets, previously occupied by a Seaman's Outfitter. Similarly, the Commercial Bank of Australia Ltd, occupied the School of Arts Building in Hunter Street for several decades to 1918; and the Bank of New Zealand and then the Commercial Banking Co. operated from the Prince of Wales Hotel on the south-eastern corner of Hunter and Bolton Streets between 1876 and 1921 when a purpose-built premises was constructed. (F. A. Cadell, pp. 18 - 24) This is in contrast to many other regional centres in NSW where purpose-built Victorian bank buildings formed a significant part of the late nineteenth century streetscape, for example the CBC buildings at Dubbo, Bega and Bourke, dating from the 1860s – 1880s and the Union Bank building at Orange constructed in 1858.

The building now occupied by the Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) is located on the north western corner of Bolton and Hunter Streets, facing the 1903 Post Office on the other side of Bolton Street; with the Colonial Mutual Life building to the west; and diagonally opposite the NAB building, constructed for the Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney in 1921. The site was granted to Samuel Lyons in 1836, and purchased later the same year by John Butler Hewson who later constructed a hostelry on the site. In 1846 James Hannell, licensee of the Ship Inn, Newcastle's first hotel, which had been located at the foot of Watt Street since 1823, constructed a new Ship Inn on this site, and it became an important meeting place for the community. Hannell was a prominent Newcastle businessman and citizen, and after playing a leading role in achieving Municipal status for Newcastle in 1859, he was elected Newcastle's first Mayor. The Hannell family sold the land to the Union Bank of Australia in 1885, but it appears that the bank had been operating from the hotel building on a leasehold basis since November 1879. The bank continued to trade from the Ship Inn building, adapted to suit their operations, until 1912, when it was demolished to make way for the existing purpose-built premises. (F. A. Cadell, p. 20; Turner, A Pictorial History of Newcastle, pp. 34-5)

The new building was completed in 1914, to an attractive Inter-War Commerical Palazzo style design by Scott and Green, featuring a carefully crafted stone facade and perhaps being the first building in Newcastle to make use of concrete flooring. It was perhaps initially designed as a four storey building, which was then increased to five. Its construction was on the leading edge of a wave of substantial rebuilding activity particularly on Hunter Street between Newcomen and Watt Streets during the first decades of the twentieth century. A new period of commercial development in the city centre had been ushered in by the establishment of the BHP Steelworks at Port Waratah in the 1910s and associated heavy industry, resulting in a new influx of banks, insurance companies and other office users to the city centre. Many of the buildings constructed by these companies made use of the recently developed safety elevator and hidden steel frame to attain six or eight storeys, mostly clad in classical facades. Other buildings resulting from this activity include the NAB (or CBC) building diagonally opposite; the T and G Building at the corner of Hunter and Watt Streets, and the AMP building at 53 Hunter Street. (Maitland and Stafford, pp. 18-19; F. A. Cadell, p. 19; Apperly, Irving and Reynolds, pp. 168-171, 183).

In 1951 the Union Bank of Australia merged with the Bank of Australasia, which had been operating in Newcastle, as noted above, since 1854, to form the ANZ, which continues to occupy the building.

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)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The ANZ bank has local historical significance as part of a group of bank and insurance buildings constructed in the Newcastle CBD in the 1910s-1930s which transformed the streetscape of Hunter Street in particular, signalled a new phase of commerce in the city and gave banking and insurance a modern presence in the city in purpose-built premises. The Union Bank was at the forefront of this building activity with the construction of the present ANZ chambers in 1914, and its likely that later bank and insurance buildings in Hunter Street were planned and designed very much with reference to it.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The site of the ANZ building, being formerly the site of the Ship Inn has local significance through its association with the Hannell family, in particular James Hannell who was licensee for the Ship and became Newcastle's first Mayor. This association is commemorated by a plaque mounted on the building.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building has local aesthetic significance as it makes an important contribution to the Hunter Street streetscape as a substantial and well-crafted Inter-War Palazzo style structure on the prominent corner of Hunter and Bolton Streets. Like the neighbouring AMP and NAB buildings it demonstrates the preference for classical facades by financial institutions and the projected-self image of banks as solid, permanent and wealth-creating entities during this period.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Within the limited scope of this review, the building was not found to have significance under this criterion.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Within the limited scope of this review, the building was not found to have significance under this criterion.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Within the limited scope of this review, the building was not found to have significance under this criterion.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The ANZ has local representative significance as an early and fine example of the Inter-War Commercial Palazzo style in Newcastle. The ANZ also has the capacity to represent key characteristics of the group of 1910s-1930s bank and insurance company premises in central Newcastle. The history of the site is representative of this group, as a hotel, which then hosted banking functions before classical-style purpose-built premises were constructed.
Integrity/Intactness: The exterior of the buildng appears to have a high level of integrity.
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.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan I40115 Jun 12 64 
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Newcastle Heritage Study1990174Unknown  Yes
Review of Items of Potential State Significance in the Newcastle City Area2008 Sue Rosen and Associates Heritage Assessment And History (HAAH)Emma Dortins Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 2007Citywide Heritage Study, Thematic History
WrittenApperly, Irving and Reynolds1989A pictorial guide to identifying Australian architecture
WrittenF A Cadell1937Early Banking in Sydney and Newcastle
WrittenGovernment Architect's Branch, Special Projects Section, Public Works Dept. NSW1983Conservation Plan for Historic Buildings in Hunter Street, Newcastle
WrittenJ W Turner1997A Pictorial History of Newcastle
WrittenMaitland and Stafford1997Architecture Newcastle
WrittenThe Grolier Society of Australia1963Australian Encyclopaedia, Vol 1.

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: 2170174
File number: 174


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