Queensland National Bank, Brisbane, Australia 1886By Remembering the Past Australia / August 16, 2020 / Australia / 0 Comments
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
This image is part of the Colonial Office photographic collection held at The National Archives UK.
This large masonry building was constructed 1881-1885 as the new Head Office for the successful and influential Queensland National Bank.
The burgeoning gold mining industry of the early 1870s created a mood of optimism and a desire for increased development capital, free from inter-colonial and overseas control. Seizing on this mood, eight prominent local businessmen and politicians formed the Queensland National Bank (QN Bank) in March 1872. Immediate widespread support of the bank exceeded expectations and the continuing patronage of powerful political figures ensured its prominence. When Thomas McIlwraith, a Queensland National Bank director, became Premier in 1879, he swiftly transferred the Queensland Government accounts to the Bank.
In December 1872, the Queensland National Bank, which was leasing Warry’s Store in Queen Street, purchased the North Brisbane School of Arts land and building at the corner of Queen and Creek Streets for the sum of £8000, as the site for the bank’s new Head Office. The bank’s lease on Warry’s building was not to run out until June 1879 and in the meantime, the School of Arts Committee leased back its original building from the bank.
Choosing an appropriate design for the new building proved to be a long and complicated process. Francis Drummond Greville Stanley, the Queensland Colonial Architect, informed the QN Bank in 1877 that he intended to go into private practice, and the bank’s board of directors asked him to design the new head office. However, Stanley did not resign at that time, and the Bank engaged Reed and Barnes of Melbourne to design the building. In August 1878 a plan was adopted with some alterations. More than eight months later, however, Reed and Barnes were requested to sell the plans so Stanley could carry out the design on a reduced scale. With a cheque for 100 guineas for their services, Reed and Barnes reluctantly took their plans back rather than sell them. In the same month, Stanley presented his plans to the bank with a cost estimate of £26,000. Tenders were called for the erection of the building in February 1881 and Messrs Southall and Tracey were successful with a cost of £33,997.
Clerk of Works for the project was John Daniel Heal, publican, building contractor, stonemason and ex-Mayor of Brisbane (1879). Foreman of works for Southall and Tracey was longtime employee William Relf. The foundation stone was laid in July 1881 but delays for want of building materials, particularly the New Zealand stone, extended the construction period by almost 18 months. It was completed by August 1885. [Wikipedia]
Showing the Queensland National Bank, Brisbane, Australia. Original photo published 1886.
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