Westpac Inverell celebrates bank's 200th anniversary

All smiles: Donna Ehsman, Julie Hoscher and Nickie Bell show the local bank's progression over the years.
All smiles: Donna Ehsman, Julie Hoscher and Nickie Bell show the local bank's progression over the years.

Yummy smells and balloons filled the Westpac Inverell branch on Friday, April 7, as the bank celebrated 200 years in business.

Mayor Paul Harmon cuts the cake with Westpac Inverell's longest-serving employee, Julie Hoscher.

Mayor Paul Harmon cuts the cake with Westpac Inverell's longest-serving employee, Julie Hoscher.

Known as the Bank of NSW, the business opened in Sydney’s Macquarie Street on April 8, 1817 – the first bank in Australia. The local store has been a Westpac bank since the early 1970s. 

Local band Tabou serenaded customers, who were greeted with cookies, slices and chocolates as they entered the building.

The Westpac Helicopter Support Group took advantage of the fine weather, selling scores of sausage sandwiches to help keep the rescue chopper in the air. 

Ken Harrison, Col Hawkins, Wendy Dries, Dot Cattell and Chris Harrison barbecued to support the rescue helicopter.

Ken Harrison, Col Hawkins, Wendy Dries, Dot Cattell and Chris Harrison barbecued to support the rescue helicopter.

At 9.30am, Inverell mayor Paul Harmon joined the bank’s longest-serving employee Julie Hoscher in cutting the Westpac birthday cake, officially kicking off the celebrations for the day. 

“It was a lot of fun,” personal banking advisor Shannon Monckton said. “A lot of people loved the decorations.”

Julie has enjoyed her 22 years with the bank and said she’d met many wonderful people over the years and loved being able to help them. Highly regarded by her fellow employees, Julie was nominated for a Westpac local hero award and has received sapphire, ruby and diamond pins for her efforts behind the teller desk.

“I love my job, love doing what I do,” she said. “I’ve worked with some wonderful staff and made really good friends.” 

She said her job was a great way to get to know the community.

“You get to know your customers and they become like family. You know their family,” she said.