CBA Bank (former) | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


CBA Bank (former)

Item details

Name of item: CBA Bank (former)
Other name/s: CBA Bank, Comfort Lodge, Former Commonwealth Bank
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Postal and Telecommunications
Category: Telegraph Station
Location: Lat: -30.5137894873 Long: 151.6665841440
Primary address: 164 Beardy Street, Armidale, NSW 2350
Parish: Armidale
County: Sandon
Local govt. area: Armidale Dumaresq
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Armidale
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP123572
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
164 Beardy StreetArmidaleArmidale DumaresqArmidaleSandonPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Jo Barbado Pty LtdPrivate 

Statement of significance:

The former CBA Bank (former Telegraph Office) is a significant element in one of the finest groups of civic buildings in New South Wales. The building is prominently located in the Beardy Street pedestrian mall, in part of the Armidale Conservation Area as identified by the National Trust. Its arcaded portico complements the arcade on the adjacent Post Office (158-160 Beardy Street). Together these buildings provide historic and aesthetic streetscape elements of importance to the people of Armidale (Heritage Office file). The building has historic significance as an example of the work of James Barnet, Colonial Architect, and as a link in the telegraph communications network established by the state in the second half of the 19th century.
Date significance updated: 06 Oct 06
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: NSW Colonial Architect's Office (Barnet and Vernon)
Builder/Maker: C.T. Cook
Construction years: 1882-1885
Physical description: GENERAL DESCRIPTION
The former CBA building is situated on Beardy Street, a main street of Armidale which has been closed to traffic creating a pedestrian mall. The building fronts onto the footpath with no setback.

The building is a two storey brick building, rendered and painted on the street side only. The facade is symmetrical and the street level portico has four round arches. A decorative central parapet with scrolled edges rises above the portico, and the upper storey has four segmental-arch openings with double hung sash windows. The slate roof has been described as hipped (Heritage Office File); photographs seem to indicate that it may even be pyramidal.

The facade bears elements of the Victorian Italianate style as defined in Identifying Australian Architecture (Apperley et al, 1994:72): stuccoed facade, segmental arch window openings, arcaded loggia, and bracketed eaves. A pyramidal roof is another feature which typically appears on some Italianate buildings, usually on tower features. James Barnet built many regional New South Wales post offices and government buildings in the Italianate style.

External decoration, on the facade only, includes rendered masonry bracket supports to the eaves, rendered string courses, label moulds, and keystones over the arches . The rear and side walls contrast with the street facade. They are brown brick with red-brown brick lintels over the flat-arch openings. Stone lintels are evident on the lower storey windows to the rear of the building.The roof is slate, and has been repaired and elements replaced over the years, with the ridge cappings having been replaced several times. No chimneys are evident. The interior has been altered with fireplaces removed (Heritage Office file).

Adjoining the rear of the main building is a single storey brick building which is square in plan. Its construction date is unknown. The smaller building has a corrugated iron roof which features small ventilation gables at its apex and a tall brick chimney. Application to replace the roof was received in 1997.
Modifications and dates: Ca. 1936 - the arcaded portico openings were filled in with framed glazing and doors.

Unknown date - post-1936 - chimneys removed to main building.

Unknown date - apparently terra cotta ridge cappings were installed on roof; later returned to original style galvanized capping.

Ca. 1986 - Glazing to portico arches removed and original openings restored. Timber shop fronts installed.

1991 - Aluminium and glass projecting shop windows installed under arcade.

1996 - Hail damage to slate tiles, parts of the roof replaced.

2005 - Painted.
Current use: Commercial/ retail
Former use: Government offices, telegraph office, bank


The former CBA Bank was built for the Land Board Office in the early 1880s, designed by the Colonial Architect, James Barnet. According to a historical reference the building was begun in 1882 and finished 1885, built by C.T. Cook (Heritage Office File). In the middle or late 1880s the building housed the Telegraph Office. The telegraph master in 1889 was Robert W. Arnott. He was also 'Money Order and Government Savings Bank Agent' (Heritage Office File).

In those days a telegraph master or post master was expected to reside as well as work in their office. It is likely that the subject building was used as a residence. By the 1890s the telegraph office functions were apparently combined with the post office and moved into the Armidale Post Office building adjacent. The subject building then housed other government offices.

It has been said that under the direction of Walter Liberty Vernon Government Architect 1890-1911, the single storey portico was added, to match the portico on the post office which was adjacent; but this has not been verified (Heritage Office File). Stylistically the Telegraph Office (former CBA building) loggia is in harmony and well integrated with its own faade design.

The Armidale Post Office loggia was added in 1897 designed by Vernon (Heritage Office File). In the early 20th century the Post Office loggia was extended again, reaching closer to the former telegraph office. Although it has not been confirmed exactly which building copied which, it is certain that through much of their early history the two buildings were linked in their function and form.

In 1918 the building was sold to the then State Savings Bank which was taken over by the Commercial Bank of Australia in 1932 (Heritage Office File). Modifications occurred during the late 1930s such as the enclosure of the portico openings. A 1936 photograph shows two chimneys (no longer extant) positioned on either side of the centre of the roof.

By 1985 the building had been unoccupied for several years. A new owner proposed to remove the fenestration from the arched portico opening thereby restoring its earlier arcaded appearance. Whilst this was strongly supported from a heritage viewpoint, it was felt that these and future alterations should be carried out under the guidance of the Heritage Council. This led to the Interim Conservation Order in September 1985, followed by the Permanent Conservation Order being placed on the building 21 March 1986, signed by Bob Carr, the then Minister for Planning and Environment. Retail shops have occupied the building since that time.

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 Banking-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Communicating by telegraph-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - facilitating telecommunications-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The former CBA Bank is associated with the historical development of Armidale's civic core. It demonstrates the growth of government commitment to services, especially communication, for the region between Sydney and Brisbane during the 19th century. The building is associated with Colonial Architect James Barnet, under whose direction the original building was designed and built. The building illustrates changing commercial patterns through the 20th century.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The former CBA Bank is part of an important historic precinct centred on the Beardy/Faulkner Streets intersection. Its pleasantly symmetrical façade shares aesthetic similarities to many of the adjoining buildings resulting in a particular streetscape harmony. It relates well to the Post Office at No.158, and the Court House.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
As a prominent civic building in a historic precinct, the former CBA Bank is considered to be significant to the Armidale community’s sense of place.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site has the potential to contain an archaeological resource, which may provide information relating to the previous use of the site, and to use by the Telegraph Office.
SHR Criteria g)
Part of the group of NSW government buildings. Representative of the work of the Colonial/Government Architect's office.
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0043302 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0043321 Mar 86 491320
Local Environmental Plan  23 Sep 88 1475047
Local Environmental Plan  30 Nov 90 15410537
Local Environmental Plan  20 Mar 92 381900
Register of the National Estate  21 Oct 80   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 2006Government Architect website
Written  Heritage Office File
WrittenRichard Apperly, Robert Irving, Peter Reynolds1994Identifying Australian Architecture

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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045355
File number: S90/01181 & HC 33406

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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