The 1996 Cardinia Shire Heritage Study, which was undertaken by Graeme Butler & Associates, describes the building as a two storey clinker brick and stucco building...with Greek/Georgian revival stylistic treatment including the hipped and tiled roof, Doric order colonettes at the main window opening, saltire cross glazing mullions, expressed voussoirs over the two doorways, smooth rustication in the central window, the 8-panel door pair, the bayed symmetrical elevation and the multi pane glazing. [A saltire cross is an x shaped cross and a voussoir is a wedge-shaped or tapered stone used to construct an arch]
The Bank in 1962. Photograph taken from the Back to Garfield booklet. The back-to was held June 1-4, 1962.
Banking services began in Garfield in 1905 when the London Bank of Australia opened an Agency of the Warragul Branch. This Agency was converted to a Branch soon after. The first manager was Clarence Adeney. So successful was this Branch that in February 1906 an Agency had been established at Koo Wee Rup and by the next year there were Agencies at Iona and Tynong. In July 1908, the Bank began the construction of new premises, which would be the first brick building in the town. This building is now a private house on the corner of Railway Avenue and Garfield Road. The next Manager was Edward Hattersley who was there in 1909, but had left by 1913. William Rupert Aspinall was the next Manager and he left around August 1917, having been shifted to Moama. Hugh Gardner is the next Manager I can trace and he was in Garfield in 1918. Gardner was the manager in 1921 when the London Bank of Australia was taken over by the English, Scottish & Australian Bank Ltd and I believe they used the London Bank premises until the new building was built.
When was this building built? The Heritage Study lists the build date of the bank as 1925, but I am not convinced this is correct and I believe it was more likely around 1931. Firstly, the Shire of Berwick Rate Books had listed the building through the 1920s under the Managers name and then in 1931 it changed to Arthur Nutting, who was shop keeper and also owned other property in the area, so I believe this was the time they built the new premises and sold off their superfluous old premises. Secondly, Bill Parish in his history of Garfield, published in the 1962 ‘back to’ souvenir book says the building was erected in the 1930s.
E.S & A bank advertisement from the Back to Garfield booklet.
Mr Gardner was at Garfield until around July 1926 when he was promoted to Cheltenham. The staff at the bank presented him with a gold wrist watch and at a ‘public send-off by citizens’ he was presented with a cheque, and gold sovereign case. His wife, Florence, and his two daughters were also presented with gold wrist watches, an extraordinary set of gifts which shows the esteem that Bank Managers were once held in. His replacement John Jessup only lasted a few years before he was transferred to Dunolly in 1928. The ‘women of Garfield’ presented Mrs Jessup with a handbag as a departure gift.
Mr Jessup’s replacement was Stanley Howell, who was at Garfield until 1935 when he was transferred to Burwood. When Stanley and Margret Howell left Garfield they ‘were entertained and presented with wallet of notes’. Other known staff in the early days was a Mr L.G Evans, accountant, who transferred to Garfield from Dunolly in 1927. Perhaps Mr Evans extolled the virtues of Dunolly to Mr Jessup and that’s why he moved there. Other accountants at the branch were Mr E. Judge who left Garfield for Warragul in 1924. His successor was Mr Pask.
The E.S & A. Bank Ltd merged with the ANZ Bank in 1970. There was an E.S & A. Agency at Cora Lynn, which was staffed about a morning a week and closed in the early 1960s.
The little building to the right of the bridge is the old E.S & A Bank at Cora Lynn, taken October 20, 1937 (State Rivers & Water Supply Commission photograph)