Historical information

These specifications were for the Bank of Australasia building on the corner of Timor and Kepler Streets in Warrnambool. The two-storey stone Regency building was built by Roberts & Co. in 1859 and it still stands today, a hundred and sixty years later. Above the doorway, the words "BANK OF AUSTRALASIA" were etched into the stone. In 1856 Roberts & Co. built the Warrnambool Post Office on Timor Street, and in 1858 purchased land on Timor Street.

The Bank of Australasia was incorporated by the Royal Charter of England in March 1834. The bank began in Australia on 14th December 1835, opening in Sydney. The Acting Superintendent of the bank at that time was David Charters McArthur. He was Superintendent from 1867-to 1876. The Melbourne branch opened on 28th August 1838 in a two-roomed brick cottage on the north side of Little Collins Street, where two huge mastiff dogs were used at night to guard the bank. The government also provided an armed military sentinel. Due to the bank's rapid growth, a new building for the Melbourne branch was opened in 1840 at 75 Collins Street West. By 1879 the bank had been upgraded to a magnificent two-storey building on the corners of Collins and Queens Streets, with the entry on Collins Street.

In 1951 the Bank of Australasia amalgamated with the Union Bank to form Australia and New Zealand Bank, now known as the ANZ. Then in 1970, the ANZ merged with both the ES&A and the London Bank of Australia to form the ANZ Banking Group Limited. The ANZ Banking Group Ltd kindly donated a variety of historic items from the Bank of Australasia.


In 1854 Warrnambool had two banks, the Union Bank and the Bank of Australasia. Later, completely different bank businesses opened; in 1867 the National Bank of Australasia, then in 1875 the Colonial Bank of Australasia. The original Warrnambool branch of the Bank of Australasia was established in July 1854, and operated from a leased cottage on Merri Street, close to Liebig Street. The bank later bought a stone building previously erected by drapers Cramond & Dickson on the corner of Timor and Gibson Streets. Samuel Hannaford was a teller and then Manager at the Warrnambool branch from 1855 to 1856 and the Warrnambool Council chose that bank for its dealings during 1856-57.

In 1859 Roberts & Co. was awarded the contract to build the new Bank of Australasia branch for the sum of £3,000. The land was on a sand hill on the northeast corner of Timor and Kepler Streets and had been bought in 1855 from investor James Cust. The new building opened on May 21, 1860. The bank continued to operate there until 1951 when it merged with the Union Bank to form the ANZ Bank, which continued operating from its Liebig Street building. Warrnambool City Council purchased the former Bank of Australasia building in 1971 and renovated it, then on 3rd December 1973 it was officially opened as the Art Gallery by Cr. Harold Stephenson and Gallery Director John Welsh. The Gallery transferred to the purpose-built building in Liebig Street in 1986 and the old bank building is now the Gallery club.

Staff at the Bank of Australasia in Warrnambool included the following men but others were also involved: Samuel Hannaford, Teller then Manager from 1855-1856; W H Palmer, Manager from January 1857 until November 1869 when the Teller Basil Spence was promoted to Manager; H B Chomley, Manager from April 1873 and still there in 1886; A Butt, Manager in 1895-1904; J R McCleary Accountant and Acting Manager for 12 months, until 1900; A Kirk, Manager 1904; J Moore, staff until his transfer to Bendigo in December 1908; J S Bath was Manager until 1915; C C Cox, Manager until April 1923; Richard C Stanley, Manager 1923 to April 1928.


The document with the building specifications for the Bank of Australasia, Warrnambool has historical significance as it was the basis for the building housing the Bank from early 1860. The document is also a historical record of the specifications and the builders of the mid-1800s in Warrnambool.

The document is also significant for its association with Roberts & Co. which also built the Warrnambool Post Office.

The document is significant for its association with the Bank of Australasia in Warrnambool, the first bank in Warrnambool, established in 1854. The bank continued to operate until its merger in 1951 when it became the ANZ Bank, which is still in operation today. The Bank was an integral part of the establishment and growth of commerce in Colonial Warrnambool and throughout Australia.

Physical description

Building Specifications; five large cream-coloured pages, folded in half to make a book. Handwritten text in black ink. Rectangular paper sheets were folded in half parallel to the short sides then stapled together near the fold A remnant of green tape suggests it was used to seal the binding.
The specifications relate to the Bank of Australasia's Timor Street branch in Warrnambool, 1860.

Inscriptions & markings

Handwritten in pencil on front cover "Completion date 18th March 1860" "Cost £2,860 sterling"
Script handwriting, black ink on cover "Specifications / Bank of Australasia / Warrnambool"