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A Bank in Bay Street

On Thursday, 1 January 1874 the following advertisement appeared on page 2 of The Argus newspaper.

TENDERS are invited for the ERECTION of a BANK at Sandridge, for the National Bank of Australasia.
Plans and specifications may be seen at our offices, 91 Little Collins Street West until the 8th inst.
The lowest or any tender will not necessarily be accepted.

TERRY and OAKDEN, Architects

The resulting bank can be seen at the right of this photograph of Bay Street by Charles Nettleton from around 1878.

Bay Street c 1878. Photograph by Charles Nettleton. PMHPS Collection Cat No 178

The architect, Leonard Terry designed many National Bank buildings and Jacobs Lewis Vines Architects and Conservation Planners described it as a good example of his work in the Port Melbourne Conservation Study, July 1979.

The bank first appears in the 1875 Sands & McDougall Directory listing J W Stephens as the Bank Manager.

Architect, George Jobbins designed an extension to the bank in 1889 adding a pair of windows to the southern end of the building. The extension matches the earlier building very well and only the keenest of eyes can spot the work but once you know the building has been altered you can see that the spacing of additional windows is not the same as the original ones. A comparison of this photograph from the 1890s below with the earlier photograph above confirms the quality of the work that was done.

National Bank of Australasia, Bay Street, 1890s (after the extension). PMHPS Collection Cat No 197

By the time the Port Melbourne Conservation Study was prepared in 1979, the premises were owned by Troedel and Cooper Pty Ltd presumably an addition to their Bay Street print works.

In 2005 the building was incorporated into a residential complex fittingly called the Bank Apartments. The ground floor window in the 1889 extension was converted in to an entrance for the apartments and the bank building itself became retail premises serving a number of businesses since that time, most recently a cafe. Signs in the windows, however, indicate that in 2024, the former bank will be the new home of Shoes and the City who will be relocating from further along Bay Street.

former National Bank of Australasia, Bay Street, January 2024. Photograph by David Thompson.
Opening Here Soon – Shoes and the City, January 2024. Photograph by David Thompson.


‘Advertising’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 1 January 1874, p. 2. , viewed 18 Jan 2024,

‘Port Melbourne Conservation Study’, Jacobs Lewis Vines Architects and Conservation Planners, July 1979

‘Sands & McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory’, 1875

‘Port Melbourne Conservation Study Review’, Allom Lovell & Associates, 1995, amended by Lovell Chen, 2012

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Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet and work, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.