Berry Museum | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Berry Museum

Item details

Name of item: Berry Museum
Other name/s: ES&A Bank, E.S.& A, ANZ Bank, English, Scottish & Australian Bank
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Bank
Location: Lat: -34.7750753889 Long: 150.6986252180
Primary address: 135 Queen Street, Berry, NSW 2535
Parish: Coolangatta
County: Camden
Local govt. area: Shoalhaven
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Nowra
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP221105
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
135 Queen StreetBerryShoalhavenCoolangattaCamdenPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Shoalhaven City CouncilLocal Government 

Statement of significance:

The Berry Museum, former E.S. & A Bank building, is of State Heritage significance through association as it was designed in 1884 by the prominent Victorian architect William Wilkinson Wardell. The building is an aesthetically distinctive building designed in the Victorian Gothic or Scottish Baronial style and provides a significant landmark in the township of Berry. The architectural style and detail of the building clearly expresses Wardell's design philosophy and provides an important research resource relating to late Victorian period architecture. Its heritage significance at a State level is enhanced by the rarity of the item, it is one surviving example of Wardell's suburban and regional Banks, built in the small scale with Northern European architectural influences. As such it is a bench mark example which demonstrates the principle characteristics of this group of five buildings characterised by the warmth and domesticity of architectural design and scale.
Date significance updated: 19 Dec 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: William Wilkinson Wardell
Builder/Maker: W. Stoddart
Construction years: 1884-1885
Physical description: The Berry Museum is a single storey brick building in the Scottish Baronial style with a stepped gable facade. The gable parapet is capped with stone and surmounted by a spherical finial. The parapet at is supported at the corners of the building by a stone corbel and a circular louvre windows placed in the centre of the gable.

The lintels over the windows and entrance are constructed in light coloured brickwork while the fanlight and upper half of the windows feature painted lattice work (Bishop and Hitchcock 1988, item 3. 15). There are verandahs on the western and eastern sides. The roof is tiled with manganese colour French pattern terracotta tiles that replaced the original slate roof. A white picket fence flanks the building. There is a grassed driveway on the eastern side and a small garden on the western side, which gives access to the front door of the residence. (Simpson Dawbin Associates 1999,22)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building is in an excellent and largely original condition.
Date condition updated:28 Jul 05
Modifications and dates: 1951 - Removal of two fireplaces, alteration to manager's office, W.Cs to rear verandah of the Bank, bathroom and kitchen upgrade.
1970 - External and internal renovation. The tiles replaced the slate on the roof.
Further information: Tropman and Tropman have prepared a Conservation Management plan for the Museum garden.
1.Conservation Management Plan. Addendum-Landscape
2.Design and Documentation-Landscape.
3.Tropman & Tropman Architecture, Conservation Landscape, Interiors, Urban Design, Interpretation.
Tropman Australia Pty Ltd May 2003.
Prepared for Shoalhaven City Council.
The Berry and District Historical Society is implementing this plan as funds allow them
Current use: Museum
Former use: Bank and Council Chambers


Historical notes: The English, Scottish and Australian Banking company commenced business in Broughton Creek in June 1875 (Private Communication, Hall H.K. To Lidbetter M. 1975 ). It was the second branch on the coast and the third in N.S.W. ( Bayley, 1975,111). On the 8th March 1884 the E.S.& A. bank purchased the land on which the Berry Museum, former E.S.& A Bank still stands ( Lidbetter 1993 ,63 ) for the purpose of erecting a new bank building. The architect for the new bank building was William Wilkinson Wardell.

Wardell was born in England in 1824 and became a distinguished designer of churches in his homeland before he moved to Melbourne in 1857. Here in his position as inspector general of public works in Victoria, he prepared designs for many public buildings including St Pauls Catholic Cathedral, the Royal Mint and Customs House, and the English Scottish and Australian Bank in Collins St Melbourne. Wardell later moved to Sydney where he worked as an architect for the remainder of his life. Wardell died in 1899. Wardell designed St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney as well as St Johns College at Sydney University. Whilst living in NSW he was commissioned to design a number of bank buildings for then E.S.& A Bank. Berry Museum is the only surviving bank building of a group of 5 suburban and regional branches of the E.S. & A Bank in NSW designed by William Wilkinson Wardell with a north European architectural influence.

The E.S & A Bank in Berry traded through the last years of the 19th Century and up until 1942
when it closed its Berry branch. (Anthill R.G. 1982,106). In June of that year the Berry and Bomaderry Municipal Council purchased the property from the bank for (Pounds)1,200. From 1943-1948 the premises served as the council chambers and the Town clerk Henry Stenning occupied the residence. In 1948 the Shoalhaven Shire council was formed by the amalgamation of several councils including Berry with all assets being transferred to Shoalhaven. Mr Stenning was not employed by the new council but continued to rent the residence until 1950. Shoalhaven Shire Council leased the premises back to the E.S.& A bank when it re-opened in 1951 (Simpson Dawbin Associates 1999,9)

In 1969 the E.S. & A. Bank merged with the ANZ Bank and the bank operated out of the Wardell building until December 1972 when the bank ceased trading.

In October 1975 the Berry Museum sub-rented the banking section of the property from the A.N.Z. bank with the assistance of the Shoalhaven Shire Council in meeting the cost of the rent. When the bank's lease ended in 1978 the area rented to the Museum was enlarged and an out-door display set up. In 1983 the residence portion of the building was vacated and the Shoalhaven City Council agreed to rent the entire building and grounds to the Berry and District Historical Society providing an admirable setting for the Museum. (Lidbetter 1993, 63)

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-
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 Developing civic infrastructure and amenity-
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. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing and maintaining a local museum-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Berry Museum, former E.S. & A Bank building, is of State heritage significance as one of the few remaining smaller scale buildings of the noted architect William Wardell. The building is a complete and intact record of interior spaces, detail joinery and style of architecture, which is distinctively identified as the work of this architect.

Wardell was notable for his work in Victoria designing public buildings such as St. Patrick's Cathedral, Government House the Royal Mint and the Customs House. In New South Wales his works included St Mary's Cathedral, St John's College at Sydney University, the NSW Club and the old M.L.C. offices( Simpson Dawbin Associates,1999, 33). He did extensive work for the E.S.A. bank including their head office in Collins St. in Melbourne. Berry Museum, former E.S. & A bank building is the only surviving bank of a group of five suburban E. S. & A Bank buildings which were designed by Wardell with a Northern European Architectural influence.
( de Jong 1983 ,58).
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Berry Museum, former E.S. & A Bank building, is of State heritage significance as an aesthetically distinctive building in the Victorian Gothic style so well executed by the architect William Wilkinson Wardell. The facade expresses the heritage of the E.S.& A. Bank through the distinctive detailing of the stepped ramparts, reminiscent of the medieval castles and grand houses of Scotland. The work of William Wardell is apparent throughout the external design of the building especially in the use of asymmetry in the front stepped gable. Aspects of the interior are also highly significant components of the building. The more important interior spaces are in original condition and retain considerable charm and design quality. ( Simpson Dawbin, Associates 1999,33 )The building is a fine example of late Victorian architecture and remains a most significant element in the streetscape, and the facade is visible on approach from the east and west approaches along Queen St.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The bank has local heritage significance as it was one of three major banks represented in the town. It was the first building in the town to be designed by a prominent architect. (Berry and District Historical Society) Together with the Post Office adjacent, this group was the centre of commercial and business activity during the period of growth of the town following freehold sale of the Berry Estate. ( Simpson Dawbin Associates 1999, 33)
The building continues an important role for the community as the Berry Museum and headquarters of the Berry and District Historical Society. The museum display has established a centre of considerable tourist interest and is an important resource for local history research. ( Simpson Dawbin Associates 1999,32). An excellent collection of Aboriginal family and cultural history has been established at the museum with the assistance of aboriginal elders and serves as a reference centre.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The former E.S.& A. bank is l of State heritage significance as an outstanding work of the architecture of the prominent architect William Wilkinson Wardell from the late Victorian period.. The strong stylistic quality and resolution of the design and detailing proclaim this building as the work of an extraordinary architect. Wardell's design philosophy is clearly expressed in all aspects of the fabric of the building, which remains intact and legible to this day. ( Simpson Daw bin Associates 1999,32).
SHR Criteria f)
The building is rare as the only surviving example of Wardell's prolific E.S.& A Bank commissions in suburban and regional context to have survived to present day in N.S.W. It is also a rare example a Wardell building built to a more warm and domestic style and scale than many of this other commissions. ( Simpson Dawbin Associates 1999, 32 )
SHR Criteria g)
The Museum is of State heritage significance as a fine example of bank design of the Victorian period. As one of a group of five suburban and regional Bank buildings it demonstrates the principal characteristics of this group which is characterised by the warmth and domesticity of style usually associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. As such it represents a significant variation to the imposing classical edifices that were usually built by banks in the Victorian period. ( Simpson Dawbin Associates 1999,33 ).and (de Jong 1983,58 )
Integrity/Intactness: The building is remarkably intact and retains much of it's original fabric. In spite of past renovations, the legibility of the spaces remains clear. The modifications in the bathroom and kitchen demonstrate improvement in living standards and domestic technology during the 90years of residential occupation.
The banking chamber through-out all the years continues to be the initial point of contact with the public.
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 0175501 Sep 06 1117852
Local Environmental Plan     
Heritage study     
National Trust of Australia register      
Within a National Trust conservation area     
Register of the National Estate     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Berry Museum View detail
WrittenJune Robson and Nancy Bevan2005SHI Nomination form
ElectronicSerle, Percival1949Dictionary of Australian Biography
WrittenUrsula M. de Jong1983William Wilkinson Wardell His Life and Works 1823 to 1899

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: 5056566
File number: H05/00212

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