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National Australia Bank

  • 600141
  • 180 Queen Street, Brisbane City

General

Also known as
National Bank of Australasia
Classification
State Heritage
Register status
Entered
Date entered
21 October 1992
Type
Commercial/financial/professional: Bank
Theme
3.7 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Financing
Architect
Henderson, A & K
Builder
Stronach, GA
Construction period
1929–1930, National Australia Bank (1929 - 1930)
Historical period
1919–1930s Interwar period
Style
Classicism

Location

Address
180 Queen Street, Brisbane City
LGA
Brisbane City Council
Coordinates
-27.46874522, 153.02587062

Map

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Significance

Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

(Criterion under review)

Criterion DThe place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

The National Australia Bank is a fine example of a 1920s bank with Classical elements reflecting the solidity of a financial institution.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

The building is significant for its contribution to the streetscape in terms of style, scale, and texture, in conjunction with the adjoining Finney Isles building.

History

This building, constructed in 1929-30, replaced an earlier bank which had erected in 1891 for the Royal Bank of Queensland. In 1917 the Royal Bank of Queensland merged with another Queensland bank, the Bank of North Queensland to form the Bank of Queensland. In 1922, the Bank of Queensland was absorbed by the National Bank of Australasia and several years later decided to build a new bank on the site.

Designed by Melbourne architects A & K Henderson with assistance from local firm of Atkinson, Powell & Conrad, the contractor was G A Stronach, with the technical advice of Thomas Walker Pearce. It was an example of the pervasive fashion for the neo-classical style in commercial and civic buildings, of similar scale and materials during the period. The building was opened on 6 May 1930 and its lavish fittings and imposing style attracted favourable comment. Prominent features of the building included the large bronze doors in the Queen Street entrance, separate lifts for tenants, and a special women's banking section fitted with lounge, retiring room, writing facilities and telephone. Over the years various professional tenants have occupied the upper floors - solicitors, doctors, accountants, architects, and optometrists.

The new building, like its predecessor, served as the head office of the National Bank of Australasia in Queensland until 1948 when it absorbed the last of the distinctively Queensland banks of the nineteenth century, the Queensland National Bank. The new head office was set up in the former QN Bank building on the corner of Queen and Creek Streets. In 1983 the NBA merged with the Commercial Banking Corporation to form the National Australia Bank.

Description

The National Australia Bank Central Branch, located at 180 Queen Street, is a seven storey structure with a steel frame and reinforced concrete floors and roof. The external walls are brick with sandstone facing and a granite plinth on the front facade. The sandstone is from Yangan, Queensland and the granite from Uralla, New South Wales.

The main facade, in the Classical Revival style, is divided into five vertical bays. The three central bays are distinguished by flanking giant order pilasters which extend from above the ground floor level to the cornice line below the parapet.

The openings on the upper level have semicircular arches. The three central openings have individual balconies with balustrading and a projecting cornice/balustrade that returns to the flanking side bays. These are plainer with narrower openings. The original glazing on the building has been replaced by aluminium framed glazing to a similar pattern.

At the ground floor level the building has four engaged Doric columns above the granite plinth and flanking the three entrance doorways. Over these is an entablature that has balustraded balconies to the first floor level.

The ground floor contains the main banking chamber with a mezzanine level, partly renovated. Much of the plaster detailing in the chamber remains. The vestibule and adjoining lift lobby have finely figured marble linings. The second and third floors retain the original office layout and finishes, but other levels have been modified to accommodate larger tenancies. The relatively austere basement contains carefully detailed security grilles and a strong room.

Image gallery

Location

Location of National Australia Bank within Queensland
Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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