Bank Hotel Including Interior | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Bank Hotel Including Interior

Item details

Name of item: Bank Hotel Including Interior
Other name/s: Masonic Hotel, Masonic Hall Hotel
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Hotel
Primary address: 324 King Street, Newtown, NSW 2042
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
324 King StreetNewtownSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Bank Hotel is a good example of a Victorian Hotel with alterations dating from the key period of hotel rebuilding in the Federation and Inter War periods. The Bank Hotel is part of an important group of hotels on King Street which also includes the Marlborough Hotel, the Newtown Hotel, the Union Hotel and the Town Hall Hotel. The Bank Hotel is significant to the local area primarily for its historic values associated with its long and continuing use as a hotel in a prominent location adjacent to Newtown Bridge. The Bank Hotel has retained the same name over 120 years holding a long association for the people of the local area. Aesthetically the building demonstrates the modification over time of a late Victorian hotel, and best represents the Inter War Art Deco style resulting from 1930 alterations to the façade. The hotel contributes to the King Street streetscape through its form scale siting and disparate detailing elements. With the other nearby buildings the Bank Hotel contributes to a significant precinct of buildings around Newtown Bridge.
Date significance updated: 23 May 05
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.


Designer/Maker: 1934 designer: V.J. Davies
Physical description: The building is a 3 storey hotel on a prominent corner site. The building is constructed of rendered brickwork with timber windows and doors and originally a 2 storey cast iron return verandah. The building has been added to and altered a number of times demonstrated by the elaborately detailed parapet with Federation Freestyle and Art Deco motifs and detailing.
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. The building has been progressively altered and updated which is common for the hotels of the period.
Date condition updated:23 May 05
Modifications and dates: An additional floor was added to the original Victorian building by the early 1900s and in 1934 major alterations made the existing building with an art deco facade bring added on by architect V.J.Davis. Various internal and external alteration and additions over time.
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.

With European Occupation of the Sydney region from 1788, the Cadigal and Wangal people were largely decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today.

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 established in 1879 and expanded in1885. The rapid increase in population 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 original hotel on the site was known as Masonic Hotel, with the licensee listed in 1858 as S Gearside. In 1863 and 1865 the hotel is listed as Masonic Hall Hotel, licensee Joseph Blackstone.

The Bank Hotel is first listed in Sand's Directory in 1880, suggesting that it was built in 1879. At that time the land was owned by John Donohue. The hotel was built by a local resident, architect/engineer James Nangle (1868-1941) who was later on the staff of the new Sydney Technical College and then the NSW State Astronomer. The first licensee of the hotel was Ralph Mason, and Sand's lists other licensees from 1885 on. The Newtown Railway Station was built in 1892. Adjacent to the hotel was a shoeing forge and saddler, later a blacksmith and oyster shop: this building was demolished and the site is now occupied by the hotel's bottleshop. Early maps and plans show the Victorian period extent of the hotel was limited to the front portion. Prior to 1906 major additions to the hotel were undertaken with a two storey rear wing added to the earlier three storey section at the front. A 1906 photo taken from Newtown Railway Station show the rear of the hotel at this time. In November 1930 plans to alter the hotel were approved by Newtown Council. The changes included demolition of the verandah (shown in an early 1930s photo), extensions to the rear, the addition of Art Deco features to the original façade, floors replaced with concrete floors, various stairs inserted or removed, public bar divided into a saloon bar and public bar with a small bottle shop between the bars, ceiling and floor levels adjusted in all but the front portion of the building, extensive modifications to the cellar. The hotel remained in the ownership of descendants of John Donohue until 1955, when the hotel sold for 80,000 pounds to henry and Francis Metcalf, hotelkeepers. Further modifications were undertaken to the hotel in 1955 and in 1964, and in 1975 architect D.R. Wylie had alterations and additions approved for Lamerton Investments (the then owners), to create a bottle shop at the side of the hotel, demolition of the light well, and the addition of screen walls in the bar area.

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 Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The building has historic significance as it dates from the key period of development of Newtown and the subdivision of large villa estates into commercial development along King Street. The Bank Hotel has had a long association with the local area being a public establishment ina prominent location adjacent to Newtown Bridge. The hotel use has continued for over 100 years through various phases of ownership and adaptation. The Bank Hotel is historically representative of the Inter War period in which earlier hotels were refurbished and altered, most commonly by larger breweries, although the Bank Hotel was modified under private ownership.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building is a prominent element in the streetscape and good example of a hotel with layers of elaborate parapet detailing from different periods. The Bank Hotel demonstrates some Inter War Art Deco characteristics in its façade detailing that make a positive contribution to the streetscape, although this is from a later phase of modification of the building. Various elements of fabric demonstrate the various phases of change to the hotel from its construction in 1879 to the most recent alterations. The building is of aesthetic significance as the various phases of change are able to be read in the façade.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The building, with its long and continuing history as a hotel, and always known as The Bank Hotel (though with various publican's names attached to the title from time to time), has has a long and continuing history of use as a hotel in a prominent location in Newtown, and as a result has significance to the local community as a recreational and social venue.
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 hotel, altered over time and with various phases, in King Street and the inner suburbs of Sydney. Of its phases,the building best represents the Inter War Art Deco style arising from its 1930 modifications.
Integrity/Intactness: High above awning level
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. There shall be no vertical additions to the building and no alterations to the facade of the building above awning level other than to reinstate original features. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance and not be visibly prominent and be in accordance with the King St and Enmore Road Heritage and Urban Design DCP. The principal room layout, corridors and surviving significant internal features to be retained and conserved. 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 façade 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 2012I101014 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Modern Movement Architecture in Central Sydney - Heritage Study Review2014 Tanner Kibble Denton Architects  Yes
King St and Enmore Rd Heritage and Urban Design Study1999 Keys Young and Godden Mackay Logan  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenCity Plan Heritage2005Bank Hotel 324 King Street Newtown Heritage Impact Statement
GraphicV.J. Davis1934Plans 71331/2

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: 2420858

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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