Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Koo-Wee-Rup ANZ / E.S. & A Bank

The ANZ Bank in Rossiter Road is closing down in the next few weeks (May 2015) so this is a look at the early history of the bank in Koo-Wee-Rup. The bank started in the town 110 years ago as the London Bank, in 1920 the London Bank amalgamated with the English, Scottish & Australian Bank (E.S. & A Bank) who in turn amalgamated with the ANZ in 1970.

The Garfield branch of the London Bank was established in 1905 and in August 1905 an Agency had been established at Koo-Wee-Rup and by the next year there were Agencies at Iona and Tynong. The first manager was Clarence Adeney, described in one report as the ‘genial Mr Adeney’ and described by David Mickle as ‘a kind and gentle man’. He retired in early 1920 and was replaced by Mr W. K Patterson.

Above: Article from South Bourke and Mornington Journal, August 16 1905
The Lang Lang Guardian reported on September 5 1906 that Mr A. Woodman had accepted a contract from the London Bank to erect a Bank chambers and dwelling at an estimated cost of £600. The construction was to be of oregon and plaster and it was also proposed to use tiles for the roof.  An advertisement in the same paper in the November said the London Bank Agency had been converted into a branch and ‘will be open daily for the transaction of all usual banking business’ – so I believe this would have coincided with the completion of the new building.

The Bank was obviously going well as in October 1912 they purchased the site of their building for a ‘satisfactory price’ according to the South Bourke & Mornington Journal.

In 1919, a ‘Receiving Agency’ was established by the bank at Dalmore - it opened Wednesdays from 10.15am to 1.00pm.

Above: E.S. & A. Bank in  Station Street, Koo-Wee-Rup c. 1940s
Below: The Lang Lang Bank 

In the October of 1919 the Koo-Wee-Rup Sun reported that The contractor for the alterations to the London Bank at Koo-Wee-Rup has the work well in hand and will complete it in a few weeks. It speaks well for Koo-Wee-Rup when the local bank has to enlarge its premises. The extra room will be needed in anticipation for the next record season. The second storey was added at this time and the banking chamber was enlarged, a manager’s office added as well as a room upstairs to be used as residential quarters. A strong room was also constructed and the ‘premises were renovated throughout’.

The works were not completed until the December owing to ‘labour trouble, strikes and railway delays’  The architects were Ballantyne and Hare – who designed houses in Malvern and Toorak and in 1929 Cedric Ballantyne designed  the Regent Theatre in Melbourne.

The Cardinia Shire Heritage Study describes the Bank as an early example of the architectural style known as ‘towards modernism’ and it is one of three former E.S. & A Banks on the Heritage Study. The other ones are the Garfield Bank, which was built in 1925 and the Lang Lang Bank, which was built in 1929.  The Garfield Bank is thought to have been designed by Twentyman & Askew, the same Architects as the Lang Lang bank. 

There was an E.S & A. Agency at Cora Lynn, which was staffed about a morning a week and closed in the early 1960s. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Garfield Progress Association

This post looks at the activities of the Garfield Progress Association (GPA) and its forerunner, the Garfield Progressive Association, mainly through the correspondence it had with the Berwick Shire. The minutes of the Shire meetings were extensively reported in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal and later the Dandenong Journal. You can find these papers on Trove

The first mention I can find is in 1901 where the Progressive Association was complaining about the state of local roads - a sign of things to come as roads and drains were the usual source of complaints right up to the 1950s. For instance, in September 1901 the Association wanted ‘the scrub on the road from the Station to the State School to be cut as there was no room for traffic’ (this was when the school was located up the hill on Garfield Road) In December of that year the the GPA had written a letter to The Age newspaper asking why the Department of Public Works ‘cannot do its works properly instead of wasting public money’ - a question many people still ask today of  the Government.

In August 1903, the South Bourke and Mornington Journal had a tongue in cheek look at the town of Garfield.  The reporter interviewed an unnamed local who, amongst other things, thought that Garfield was progressing so much and the Railway station was so busy that it needed to have a station master instead of a station mistress. He went on to say that Garfield had a strong political body in the town (the Progressive Association) and that they had lots of trouble with the Iona (Ward) Councillors so they were going to ‘put  a man into council so he will do what they want him to do’.  The local would not be surprised if the GPA was the cause of the agitation to get the Federal site (Canberra) shifted from NSW to Victoria and if it was then Garfield would stand a chance of being chosen!

I can’t find many reports in the 1910s, probably because the community was pre-occupied with the war effort, but it appears that by the mid 1920s the Association was up and running again and they were obviously convinced that Canberra would remain as the Federal Capital and not be shifted to Garfield so they were back complaining to the Council about the state of local roads, especially the North Garfield Road. In February 1928, the GPA was asking for a rubbish tip to be established at Garfield. And later that same year they asked the Council to ‘guarantee’ 15 street lights.

In 1932, the GPA asked the Bills Estate for a trough for Garfield - it was at one stage located outside the hotel. These troughs were funded from a bequest from the will of George Bills, who died in 1927. His will left various bequests and the bulk of his Estate was to be made available by his Executors to Societies for the protection of animals, such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and for the construction of horse troughs for the relief of horses or other ‘dumb animals’. These troughs were to be inscribed with the names of George and his wife Annis.

In 1944, the GPA asked for a street light opposite the west railway crossing (sort of where the 13 Mile Road comes into town) and, of course, more road improvements. In 1945, they had turned their attention to parks. The GPA had written to the council asking how their negotiations were going with the Railways regarding the proposed extension of the park facing Main Street. ‘There is keen local interest in the beautification of this town and the additional park area would be an asset in this direction’  They later (July 1945) asked permission to plant two ash trees in front of the Baby Health Centre -  whether that was  a priority for the mothers attending the  Health Centre is another matter as in August 1943 Sister Spence had reported to the Council that ‘we are looking forward to the improvement of the old baby Health Centre at Garfield which at present is a  fine sieve for rain’

In 1946 there were the usual complaints about drains - especially the unsatisfactory drainage on the steep Garfield hill and also a complaint  was made to the Council about ‘the cattle and horses  which are permitted to wander  in streets and roads around Garfield, constituting a constant menace to householder’s gardens and trees’. The Council Ranger was instructed to ‘make a raid’

In April 1947, the GPA made advances to have the Ballarat Starch Company start a factory in Garfield - the factory would obtain starch from potatoes and the establishment of the factory would ‘provide a profitable outlet of unsaleable rejects and rubbishy potatoes’.

In August 1950, the GPA asked the Council to convene a public meeting to consider the erection of a memorial to those who had paid the supreme sacrifice in World War One and Two.  In 1953, the GPA was once again on a political bent when they supported the election of Reg Sykes to the Berwick Council. Reg was described as a ‘young man who served the the RAAF as a member of the Air Crew in the south west Pacific’. He also had a 300 acre property on the Princes Highway at Tynong.  Reg had also owned 540 acres in Tynong North which he sold in 1949 for £4,500 to the Catholic Church for the establishment of township of Maryknoll.