History Matters: Banking on history

Facade of the past: The ornate architecture of the old police station in Inverell.
Facade of the past: The ornate architecture of the old police station in Inverell.

The former Government Savings Bank building still stands regally between the Inverell Post Office and the police station in Otho Street.

Over time, its façade has changed, but not greatly. Cedar counters can still be seen inside this building, now occupied by Sapphire City Security.

Inverell’s Government Savings Bank first opened as an agency at the post office in 1874, then moved to Mr Bloore’s stock and station office until a branch opened in November 1907. Business hours were Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 11am to 1pm.

Cedar counters can still be seen inside this building, now occupied by Sapphire City Security.

Walter Wilson was manager from 1909 until 1912 when the Savings Bank office transferred to rooms leased from Australian Bank of Commerce in Otho Street, opposite the post office.  Mr R. B. Christie was then appointed in charge.  

During 1913, the Savings Bank moved into new premises, designed by Ross and Rowe of Sydney and erected by Mr. C. Harris, in Otho Street near the courthouse. Described in the Inverell Times on August 30, 1912, the new building had electric light throughout and included a large main chamber, manager’s office and a strong room with 46cm thick walls strengthened by hoop iron. The ceiling and floor were made of reinforced concrete 30cm thick.

The private accommodation was “large, well-lighted and ventilated” and included a dining room, kitchen, pantry, and laundry on the ground floor. A staircase of New Zealand kauri led upstairs to a drawing room, four bedrooms, linen press and bathroom. Brick-built stables were located behind the courthouse. The Times reporter wrote “… the architectural appearance of the upper section of Otho Street will be greatly enhanced …”

The Savings Bank Annual report of 1921 recorded the number of local depositors had increased to 6000, despite the depressing times.  The manager, Mr Dinan, reported the stability of the Inverell branch was “very healthy”. 

By 1933, there had been several bank amalgamations and the Rural Bank acquired the Inverell Savings Bank premises. It was one of the first branches to open in NSW, with the aim of assisting primary producers.

About 1970, the Rural Bank moved to new premises at 46 Byron Street until its closure. That building is now occupied by legal offices.

The Government Savings Bank Inverell.

The Government Savings Bank Inverell.

Rural Bank NSW, Inverell.

Rural Bank NSW, Inverell.