Bank celebrates 150 years

One of Launceston's many prominent corner buildings is celebrating its 150th year this month.

The Bendigo Bank on the corner of St John and Paterson Streets began life as the Union Bank Building, with its official opening on 8 October 1866.

The solid form of this two-storey Victorian Academic Classical building would have been chosen to impress both in scale and design. For a newly established bank, the design would give a sense of longevity, wealth and security.

News of the new building was first reported in the Examiner in October 1858, though it wasn't until May 1865 that the Cornwall Chronicle reported that the foundations were nearly completed. The Chronicle continued to follow the construction of the grand structure, noting in June of the same year that “the strong room…….. is built of solid square Melbourne stone, through which nothing short of heavy charges of blasting powder could penetrate", that the first floor provided eight rooms for the manager's residence, and the whole building cost around 7000 pounds to build. By September the same year, the not-yet opened bank was touted as being one of “a line of first-class buildings from Brisbane Street to the Town Hall, of great value, of much diversity of architectural design, ably carried out and of an imposing appearance as to be rarely equalled in so short a space".

Since its opening, the building has been home to numerous banking institutions including ANZ, Connect Credit union and Tasmanian Banking Services.

The building is entered on the Tasmanian Heritage Register.

Thank you to Gus Green and John Dent for contributing information for this article.

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