Bank building’s colourful past defined the town’s financial history

Barker Street in 1950. Photos: Contributed

Susanna Freymark

The story about the opening of the Wild Petals Market shop in the bank building on Barker Street prompted to find out more about the building’s history.

Who better to ask than Robyn Nesbitt from the Casino Historical Society?

Robyn sent some photos of 100 Barker Street, Casino and provided information on how banking used to work.

During the first thirty years of settlement in Casino, money was scarce and in its place, promissory notes were exchanged or tendered payment, as were IOUs (I owe you).

These orders as promises to pay, scrawled on paper, changed hands as frequently as today’s notes, but had to be taken on trust that the firm or individual issuing the note would honour it.

The first bank opened in 1870 in rented premises near the Tattersalls Hotel. This was run by the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney.

Before 1879, there was the Commercial Bank in Barker Street with its white picket fence.

The first bank manager was Mr Pockley. Within the year, the bank moved into its own premises in Barker Street, on the block next to where the post office would be built in 1879.

It is thought that the bank had bought a cottage already built on the land and used it for both the bank and a residence.

Mr Solling became the manager in 1878 and by the late 1870s the building had been ravaged by white ants and a new building was required.

Mr Solling applied to head office in Sydney for a new building and in 1881 quotations for the building materials had been sent to Sydney. By July 1883 the building had been completed costing £3300 ($6276).

At the same time, stables and a coach house were built. An underground tank was built too.

This tank provided the water supply before town water was available.

Mr Solling was the bank manager for 14 years until 1892 when he was granted 12 months leave. He was in Bowral on leave when he died in February 1893.

Mr Robinson became the new manager in 1892 and was followed in 1899 by Mr Osborne.

In 1914, further additions and repairs were made to the building at a cost of £2364 ($4728).

The 1883 building and the 1914 additions are what you see when you look at the building today.

The bank closed and in the 2000s was the premises of the Richmond River Express Examiner.

Circa 1883.

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