Towers Drug Company Building (former) | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Towers Drug Company Building (former)

Item details

Name of item: Towers Drug Company Building (former)
Other name/s: Towers Drug Company Building
Type of item: Built
Location: Lat: -30.0886205575 Long: 145.9388944590
Primary address: 45 Mitchell Street, Bourke, NSW 2840
Parish: Bourke
County: Cowper
Local govt. area: Bourke
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Nulla Nulla
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP910672
LOT1 DP919748
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
45 Mitchell StreetBourkeBourkeBourkeCowperPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated


Construction years: 1889-1890
Physical description: The building consists of a two storey structure at the front of the block and a single storey extension to the rear. The front section is basically of brick construction, with a lightweight first floor extension in the North West Corner. The rear section is partly brick, with a larger fibro extension to the rear.

The brick construction represents several stages of development. The building was constructed originally only to the rear of the present shops, extended to the rear of the two storey section without making any jointing, thence with straight joints an infill section and eventually to the rear, again with straight joints. Both floors are timber, and some internal walls to the first floor also lightweight construction. Footings are concrete. (Hughes, Trueman, Ludlow 1981)
Former use: Medical centre, residence, commercial


Historical notes: The building is on a allotment originally owned by the pioneer T.A Matthews. The building was erected in 1889/90 for Dr Sides as a medical centre and residence. The building was named after Mr Towers, a chemist who worked with him.

It survived the 1890 flood and a severe fire. Typhoid epidemics broke out after the flood in 1890 leading to the closure of all private wells. In all probability the hastily erected extensions at the rear could have occurred about this time to cope with the epidemics.

In 1908 the Council building was burnt down, destroying all records of original buildings and early photographs. Succeeding doctors used the Towers Drug Company Building until 1920.

After the Second World War there was a boom period and a building revival. The main shoppping centre swung from Mitchell Street to Oxley Street. In the 1960's- 1970's the building was used as a residential and the first floor side verandah closed in for extra bedrooms. It would have been about this time that the rear extensions to form a separate house would have been completed. Extra toilets were also constructed upstairs.

Between 1970 and 1975 the first floor was used as a coffee house for teenagers and dancing took place. Some fabric damage was caused to the building during this period prior to a notice being placed on the building by Council preventing futher use of the first floor. Subsequent events indicate that the old and the new plumbing carried out was not of good workmanship. In 1976 a hairdresser took the lease to the front shop and extra plumbing was carried out. At the same time leaks in the plumbing were repaired. From 1976 stresses and subsequent major cracking of the building had taken place, probably accentuated by the general drying out and shrinkage of the foundation material, in particular the periphery footings.

The Bourke and District Historical Society has used the premises since 1976 as a museum and craft shop. (Branch Managers Report 1985).

The building was subject to an interim conservation order which lapsed in 1984. In 1985 the Heritage Council placed a Permanent Conservation order on the building.

The building was restored in 1985 with funding/grant from the Heritage Council of NSW.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Significant in the streetscape of Bourke (National Trust)
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 0038302 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0038312 Jul 85 1033474
National Trust of Australia register      

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenHughes Trueman Ludlow1981Letter - 28th.10.1981

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

rez rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045735
File number: S90/04662, HC32867, HAP85263

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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