The building at 333 Collins Street is not so old, dating back to 1990. Within the building is a much older building. Property speculation was rampant in the 1880s and it all came to abrupt halt in 1891 with an economic depression, so it is a little surprising to me that work began on the original building in 1891 and completed in 1893 amid a severe property price crash. Banks closed their doors and financial institutions went belly up, just as the building was completed. One in ten Melbourne houses were repossessed by banks and building societies. Bad times for most people including my mother's grand parents who lost a substantial amount of money, real money not paper profits.
In 1973 the Commercial Bank of Australia decided to pull the old Victorian bank down and as there should have been, there were howls of protest and the government stepped in and created the Historic Buildings Preservation Council and the building was saved. In the late 1980s the Commercial Bank and merged with the Bank of New South Wales and the building was sold to the Becton Corporation, a development company. A new building to sit over the top of the old was designed and built and even if you detest modern architecture, you will agree this is a nice example of what can be done. The old bank received a full restoration and the project was completed in 1990. You can see the dome in this photo I put up a couple of weeks ago.
Look at the size of those lamps!
Would you believe the sign was put on the wall a little crooked? No?
Polished brass is lovely, as long as you are not the one who has to polish it.
Gazing upward in the banking chamber....
to the dome, with the new building above.
Beautiful mosaic floor tiles.
Maybe not original, but a walkway through to Flinders Lane.
There is a guard come guide who was showing this lad the model. Where the lad is standing is a cut away into the building to see the old one within.
Perhaps not the original position but obviously a bank serving counter.
Very clubby and comfortable. The guide on the floor was happy to answer questions and there is no problem with taking photos.
One last look at the dome. What a wonderful thing to have a restored Victorian building and a relatively modern building over the top. Credit to the Becton Corportation, who I have not always been so happy with. The Domed Banking Chamber is recognised by the British Society of of Architects as the finest of its type in the world.