Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Commos and Capitalism

On the corner of Little Bourke Street and Swanston Street is this very solid looking building. It was constructed for the English, Scottish and Australian Bank (ES&A) in 1928.  As is clear from the photo, a later sympathetic storey was added.


I can't remember it as the ES&A Bank, but I can remember it as an Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ). It then became the Bank of Hong Kong. You know that island, the home of capitalist free enterprise once controlled by Britain, and then given back to communist China. In a delightful turn around, after a time of being a surfing wear shop, Rip Curl, it is now going to re-open as Bank of China after being the Bank of Hong Kong. How the world has changed. It is worth clicking on the photo to see a larger view of the marvellous copper doorway.

20 comments:

  1. looks great and the winter is visible no leaves in the tree

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    1. Gosia, it was a late autumn, but finally the trees have lost their leaves and are having a rest.

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  2. Solid building. I wonder if we would have faith in our banks if their buildings were just timber shacks?

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    1. Carol, you are probably old enough to remember what banking was like many years ago. The local bank manager was the person to go to and he was both respected and feared a little too.

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  3. Banks used to be such distinctive buildings. Now they are moving into massive shopping malls as just one more retailer amongst hundreds.

    I can remember the ES&A Bank from my childhood.

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    1. Victor, I know of at least one building still with the faint ES&A name on its exterior. Respect and fear of institutions and their representatives is a thing of the past, from teachers, bank managers, post masters.....the list is long and includes police and the courts.

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  4. It's a lovely old building and I would not have known the top floor was an addition if you hadn't mentioned it. I would just assume the building had been designed and built as it now stands.
    I hope removal of the graffiti doesn't damage the surface of that door.

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    1. River, once you know something, you can see it quite easily. I only knew because I read it. I think the door will be ok. It looks like quite thick copper and the graffiti can be polished out.

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  5. I don't mind if it is used as a strip joint! As long as beautiful colonial and post-colonial (etc)buildings are not pulled down for another nasty bit of MacDonald's "architecture".

    Your timing is perfect!! Yesterday I received a booklet laying out the history of a building not far from Little Bourke and Swanston Sts.

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    1. Hels, what building? I will have to wait until you review the book. Btw, RN has a podcast about Greek Cafes. I have heard it yet but I am sure the book will be mentioned.

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  6. The world is changing indeed...communism and capitalism are becoming more intertwined. I find it interesting.

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    1. Keith, and what to make of hearing that perhaps Putin is bankrolling Trumpet?

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  7. That's globalisation. I was amazed by the diversity of the work force in Dubai airport during my brief stop over. Everyone looked like a foreign worker.

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    1. Ad Rad, I think every worker in Dubai is foreign. I work with a few Indian people who have worked in Dubai, but in management or engineer type positions, not the lowly and badly treated construction workers.

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  8. Once a bank always a bank, except for a brief interlude.. it's a building that was meant to be a bank Andrew 😃

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    1. Grace, it does scream bank. It never really screamed, surf wear shop.

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  9. Sounds like it's gone through a lot of hands. It's a neat building.

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    1. Sandra, I wonder why the Bank of Hong Kong did not thrive there?

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  10. I'm pleased it's returning to its original function.

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    1. Marie, it is just so typical of a bank building of its time. We have many of them.

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