representing Officers and families of

The Commercial Banking Company of Sydney Limited

and its subsidiaries & affiliates.

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Many of the Bank's premises were designed by famous architects of their time.

Backhouse & Lough

1884 SINGLETON George Street branch. Architects were Backhouse & Lough. Builder was W Burnett

Bank of Victoria

From: John Beer
Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2009 1:53 PM
Subject: RE: Typical BOV buildings making them easier to identify include flat triangle usually at top of main entrance:-
David Jobson replied:
John now that you mention it, that's pretty right. I can remember it.

Blacket, Edmund

1890s CBA cnr Margaret & George Streets, originally designed for Lebbeus Hordern

Cowlishaw, James

Architect James Percy Owen Cowlishaw was architect to the Commercial Banking Company and designed many of its buildings in Queensland. Born in 1867 he trained with architect J J Clark and in 1885 he joined the Public Works Department for a short time as a cadet, returning to Clark's office in 1887. By 1896 he was in practice on his own account. Remaining in practice until the 1920s, his other work is known to have included the Brisbane Gas Co Offices, Petrie Bight and the Lady O'Connell Wing Brisbane Children's Hospital.
1899 Childers
1911 Gladstone

Hilly, J.F.

1850s 343 George Street (original CBC of Sydney building
1865  Dubbo - original branch
         Sydney University branch which was facade of original 343 George St CBCofS building, donated to Sydney Uni when CBCofS 343 George St was rebuilt in 1923
1871  Bombala
1873/4 Tamworth 2 story building including residence erected to design of J F Hilly; shape similar to Bombala but windows & doors different

Kent & Massie

Many future prominent architects were articled to Kent including William Hardy Wilson [1899-1904], S A Neave and HH Massie in 1911.
Massie, a member of an influential banking, commercial and sporting family became his partner in 1919.
According to John Beer, the business was previously known as Kent & Budden then another 3rd surname then Kent & Massie.
This partnership, trading as Kent & Massie, lasted until Kent’s retirement from active involvement in 1930.
As Cable notes, the end of the Great War was a boom time in building and Kent & Massie were able to secure many commercial commissions including the Bebarfalds store [later Woolworth’s] in George St Sydney.
However, their principal client was the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney [which was acquired by the National Bank in 1981].
Kent & Massie designed the former CBC head office on corner of George & Barrack St Sydney [now on the State Heritage Register] and a series of country banks at Newcastle, Scone Cessnock and Parkes.

1904 Cessnock
1924 Haymarket, 661-663 George Street
1921 Newcastle 73 Hunter St, cnr Bolton Street (the tallest building in Newcastle at that time).
1923 Head Office: 343 George St Cnr Barrack St Sydney
1920s Townsville
1925 Newcastle West 559-561 Hunter St Kent and Massie, architects, C Davis and Sons, builders. Three storey inter war Free Classical building. Hunter Street facade is of squared sandstone, while Devonshire Street facade is rendered.
1935 Albury - Proposal to renovate previous premises
1936 Albury - New premises
1936 Lismore
1938 Brisbane Office - Cnr Queen & Creek Streets
1967 Current Accounts July p35 -
Head Carpenter, Harold Larking and French Polisher, Arthur Laybutt with the scale model of Brisbane Office which they restored.  The model was originally built for the bank by Messrs. Kent & Massie, Sydney architects.

Kerr J A & P
         1966 Baulkham Hills 26b Old Northern Road (Baulkham Hills "A District Second to None…" by Pam Trimmer 1990)

Kerr & Smith

1971 Darwin 67 Smith St for CBC Properties

197? St Leonards Centre

Kerr, Smith & Malone

        Mona Vale
        Double Bay
        Pyrmont Store

Laurie & Heath

1906 Dubbo - later branch

Ernest Rees Laver

Laver was a member of the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects and who worked for the Victorian Public Works Department in 1880s.
1888 CBCofS Canowindra opened acquired land & erected Bank & residence in prominent elevated corner position. The exterior of the Bank part of Canowindra building is very similar design to Laver designed buildings. CBD moved to Gaskill St to where CBCofS relocated to 69 Gaskill St but retained original residence.
1893 Mr Laver settled in Narrandera.
1902 Laver moved his practice to Cootamundra where he remained until 1932,
1909-11 and 1917-19 served as an alderman on Municipal Council.
1923 registering with the NSW Board of Architects.
1933 he moved to Hunters Hill, Sydney. Laver was active in public life in Cootamundra.
1909-11 and 1917-19 served as an alderman on Municipal Council. He
was active in Cootamundra public life
1933 Mr Laver moved to Hunters Hill, Sydney.  

Banks thought to be designed by Ernest Laver include:
1907 Temora (from
1907 Coolamon
1908 Oaklands
1909 Henty
1911 Lockhart
1912 Corowa
1913 Ganmain
1913 Stockinbingal
1918 Bank of New South Wales in West Wyalong
1920 Lake Cargelligo
        Ariah Park
        The Rock
____ Beckom
____ Walla Walla (possibly similar design to Oaklands ?)

____ Barmedman (possibly - due to similar design  ?)
        Canowindra 5 Suttor St original premises (possible – due to similar design ?)
____ West Wyalong (possibly -  due to similar design  ?)
____ Harden (possibly -  due to similar design  ?)

Mansfield family

1866 63 York Street warehouse - George Allen Mansfield
1871 Campbelltown - Mansfield Brothers
1873 Parramatta
1873 City Bank of Sydney, Pitt Street, facade re-erected at Santa Sabina, Strathfield
1874 Glen Innes - Mansfield Brothers
1875 Milton
1878 Camden
1878 Wollongong & stables - Mansfield Brothers
1880 Parramatta Town Hall
1880 173-175 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
1881 Kiama - Mansfield Brothers
1881 Yass
1882 Wagga Wagga - Mansfield Brothers
1883 Lithgow
1884 Narrandera
1885 Moss Vale - Mansfield Brothers
1886 Lismore
1887 City Bank of Sydney, Kiama - Mansfield Brothers
1888 Braidwood - Mansfield Brothers
188? Forbes
1889 Tumut
1889 Berry
1889 Morpeth - Mansfield Brothers
1889 Tamworth additional residential wing at back - Mansfield Brothers
1891 Bundaberg
(Mansfield completed 5 bank buildings in Queensland between 1861 and 1891)
1897 Paterson
1897 Lismore remodelled
1911 Lismore remodelled
1911 Bondi (for Mr Thomas Stacey) - Alfred Allen Mansfield
        Temora, Bourke,  ? (hidden)
1872 165 Pitt Street
1884 Warren - Mansfield Brothers
1887 Maitland 315 High Street
1888 Waterloo - Mansfield Brothers
1903 Waterloo alterations - Mansfield & Son
        High & Church Streets, Maitland - Fowell, Mansfield, Jarvis & McClurcan
        Sydney University alterations & agencies - Fowell, Mansfield, Jarvis & McClurcan

An indication of the Bank’s growth during the 1880s is to be found in the number of branches that it opened. In 1879 there were only two in Sydney and 79 across the state, whereas by 1890 Sydney could boast 10 branches and New South Wales 126.
Many of these buildings would have been designed by the prominent architect George Allen Mansfield.
1834 George Allen Mansfield was born
1840s spent his childhood in Parramatta.
1851 at the age of 17 he was articled to the architect John F Hilly
1850s John F Hilly designed CBC 343 George St
1850s after completing his articles he was taken into partnership with the elder architect, and the association lasted until 1859.
1859 Mansfield then established his own practice.
1867 He was appointed architect to the Council of Education after it was set up in 1867 and
1860s for many years was architect to the Australian Gas Light Company.
1871 He was also one of the founders of the Institute of Architects of New South Wales in 1871.
1874 the contribution of his brother Ralph was recognised when the firm became known as Mansfield Bros.
        Ralph’s input may not have been considerable 1889 the partnership was dissolved; George & Arthur wqere alaso brothers in the firm.
        it is likely that George Mansfield was actually involved in the design and construction of the Oxford Street building.
1888 Mansfield’s son Wilfred joined the office and was eventually to become a partner in it.
1867 to 1902 Mansfield’s office designed buildings for the Commercial Banking Company.
1908 George A Mansfield passed away aged 74.
His office also worked for:-
a) Bank of New South Wales
b) 1877-1888 major commissions, not the least of which was a large building for the AMP Society in Sydney (1877-1888)
c) The Australia Hotel in Castlereagh Street
d) Parramatta Town Hall
e) the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.         from NSW Heritage Branch notes regarding CBC Oxford Street branch

Philip E. Ranclaud, Tamworth

1806 Wee Waa (timber)
1910 Moree
        Tamworth (extension of strongroom) - Ranclaud & Thomas

        Bundarra (similar design to Merriwa)
        Merriwa (similar design to Bundarra)    advised by John Beer

Joseph Reed - Bank of Victoria

1862  251 Collins Street
1862 The 3 storey building designed by Joseph Reed was a similar design to the Royal Mint. Heavy ornamental treatment on the bottom floor. Built at a cost of £40,000 in the Victorian period in the Renaissance Revival style.  It was destroyed around 1956.

The architect Joseph Reed was awarded first prize for the design of the Bank of New South Wales Melbourne office. This facade was presented to the University and relocated when the bank was demolished in 1935. It has been classified by the National Trust as an object of interest and still lives on in a sense.

A. L. Smith - Bank of Victoria

A. L. Smith, in combination with various partners, including Johnson and Watts, was architect for the Bank of Victoria from 1861 to 1876, and the banks designed show great diversity. As a group, the banks designed by Smith and his partners epitomise the best qualities of conservative classicism and as such are regarded as important.

1857 Beechworth - Smith & Watts

MERINO: Architects Smith & Johnson Builder James Nation & Co of Melbourne to same design as Coleraine branch by same architects and builders as can be seen in photos of these 2 branches. Advised by David Jobson, who also states: Just a bit on the Colerarine building, if you have a look at Wahgunyah Vic, it is nearly identical, I think the number of windows on each side are reversed. Also the old CBA ( The Commercial Bank of Australia Ltd) at Omeo is identical and which I have seen and photographed. Some of these architects were pretty busy in the old days and probably used the same plans!.

William Wardell

English born William Wilkinson Wardell (1823-1899) arrived in Melbourne, Australia in 1858. Having already established himself in England as an ecclesiastical architect, he became one of Melbourne's most significant early architects. Soon after arrival he was appointed chief architect for the colonial government of Victoria and later became inspector-general of public works overseeing many of Melbourne's early major projects. Despite these official positions, he continued his private practice.

An exponent of the Gothic Revival movement his churches include St Patrick's Cathedral and St Ignatius Church in Richmond in Melbourne, and St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney. He also designed Melbourne's Government House and Venetian styled banking chambers for the ES&A bank.
1886 saw the building of the former English Scottish & Australian Chartered Bank 135 Queen Street.  The building is unusual with an asymmetrical stepped facade and interesting casement windows. It was built of Flemish bonded brickwork and is probably the only survivor of about six country banks that William Wardell (1823-1899) designed.
Wardell designed the E S & A Bank head office in Melbourne, acclaimed as 'the most distinguished building of the whole Australian Gothic-Revival Era'.

____ Newtown
1886 ES&A Chartered Bank, 135 Queen Street, Melbourne
1884 ES&A, 135 Queen Street, Berry 
Photo by Frank Chapman.
The Berry bank is a fine example of one of Wardell's more modest projects. It was designed at a time when he was expressing 'his newly discovered love for Italianate,
Palladian and Venetian architecture'.
See NSW State Heritage website for more details.  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.

1885 ES&A Kiama re-design
1859 saw the building of the old ES&A Bank a large, austerely simple, two-storey, white Georgian house with cedar skirtings, architraves, doors and windows and oregon floorboards. Built originally as a store - the largest in the district.
1859 the ES&A Bank rented office space within the building. Victoria Stores were once located at the rear of the building.
1875 this adjunct was pulled down, probably when the Bank purchased the entire building in 1875. They added extensions in 1885, designed by William Wardell, including the downstairs ballroom. This was the birthplace Sir George Fuller, NSW premier in the 1920s.

Last modified: 02/06/2023

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