Albany House

Author

City of Albany

Place Number

00058

Location

119-125 York St Albany

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Union Bank; ANZ Bank
Western QBE Insurance

Local Government

Albany

Region

Great Southern

Construction Date

Constructed from 1884, Constructed from 1998

Demolition Year

N/A

Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
State Register Permanent 02 Jul 1999 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Category
Municipal Inventory Adopted 30 Jun 2001 Category A+
Classified by the National Trust Classified 20 Dec 1976
Restrictive Covenant UNKNOWN
Statewide Bank Survey Completed 01 Nov 1997
Register of the National Estate Permanent 21 Oct 1980

Statement of Significance

Albany House, a two storey Victorian Regency stile rendered masonry and iron office building with residential facilities, has aesthetic, historic, representative, social and rarity cultural heritage significance for the following reasons: The place contributes strongly to the physical character of the Albany town centre, located at a prominent intersection and displays some fine aesthetic qualities typical of the Victorian Regency style; The place is an important component of the Stirling Terrace landscape and an early example of a regional branch of the Union Bank of Western Australia. The place is indicative of the importance of railways in the development of the State The place is closely associated with the Union and ANZ Banks and the commercial life of Albany and surrounding farm districts; and The place is a substantial pre-gold rush building, which contributes to the community's sense of place having occupied its prominent corner site since 1884.

Physical Description

Albany House is a two-storey building occupying a prominent site at the north-west junction of the main commercial and water front streets of the Albany Town Centre. Constructed in the Victorian Regency style in 1884, the building contributes to the Stirling Terrace streetscape. A single-storey wing on the west side of the building is set back from Stirling Terrace and extends across the site to the boundary with the neighbouring London Hotel which is of similar scale and proportions. Albany House comprises office space at ground floor with residential accommodation above. The entrance to the brick paved car park located on the north side of the building is from York Street, through an opening in the stretcher bond, face brickwork fence. The building has a dominant square form with a truncated corner at the junction of the two street frontages. The first floor balcony of the north elevation has a timber floor, a balustrade comprising cast iron panels and a corrugated iron skillion roof. Some smaller forms house sanitary and laundry facilities and are located beneath the balcony at ground level, at either end of the rear verandah along the north façade. The verandah has a concrete floor and is bordered by timber posts supporting the upper balcony. The main roof, presumably also of corrugated iron, is concealed behind a parapet. Chimneys with moulded tops and a flag pole at the southeast corner are visible from street level. Albany House is constructed in rendered, load bearing masonry. A rendered plinth at the base of the building is continuous around the main façade and is deepest at the truncated corner as the site slopes to the south. A decorative frieze stringcourse divides the ground and first floor with further horizontal mouldings. The two street facades are identical and broken into bays by the pairing of window elements. The main entrance to the building is at the truncated corner. A stainless steel handrail divides the set of five concrete risers and leads to the public office space. Further offices are provided at ground floor with the strong room equipped with original door and hardware from the former bank immediately behind the public space. Some residential facilities are provided on the ground floor with a kitchen, dining room, laundry in the north-west corner of the building, and a hall with a staircase at the upper floor located centrally. A former unpretentious entrance to the residence from Stirling Terrace is situated in the single-storey weatherboard clad portion protruding from the junction of the lower west wing with the main building. The upper floor accommodation provides four main spaces, one of which has been subdivided for kitchen and bathroom facilities. The central hall is divided by semi-circular arches with plaster mouldings and leads to the rear verandah. The main spaces of both levels are generously proportioned and together with the high ceilings and large windows contribute to an impression of comfortable grandeur. Interior wall surfaces are plastered at both levels with particularly elaborate cornice details in the ground floor public space. Elsewhere original skirtings, ceiling roses, panelled doors and the timber joinery in the stair and window architraves are still in evidence. The ablution facilities extending from the rear of the building are likely to have been added in the early 1950's. Rearrangements to the office spaces has involved the partial removal of some walls, the insertion of the new brick walls and alterations to door openings. Bathroom facilities and additional kitchen facilities have been incorporated in the upstairs residence. The building is in good condition and is undergoing a programme of maintenance in 1999.

History

By the late 1870s the Union, Commercial and National Banks each had a branch in Albany. The General Manager of the Union Bank of Australia, John Franklin McMullen, acquired Albany Town Lot S33 on the corner of Stirling Terrace and York Street, in 1879. Construction of the Great Southern Railway began in 1884, and the prospects for Albany's economic growth were viewed with optimism. That year, Melbourne Architect, George C Inskip, was commissioned to design a new building for the Union Bank in Albany. Tenders were called on 29 April 1884 and the foundation stone laid on 12 August. George Inskip was also involved with the Fremantle and Geraldton Union Bank buildings. From 1888, he was in partnership with William E. Robertson. They used Perth Architect, James W Wright, as their representative in Western Australia. The upper floor of Albany House was designed as a residence, which was occupied by the Bank Manager. The land was transferred by endorsement to the Union Bank in 1888, and in 1945, Lot S33 was subdivided and a section at the back fronting York Street was sold. The development of the Union Bank of Australia was paralleled by that of the Bank of Australasia. They were both british owned banks and were known in the late 1880's as the 'Imperial Banks'. The Bank of Australia premises in Albany in York Street. In the twentieth century, the market share of the Union Bank and the Bank of Australasia declined while other banks grew. After several failed attempts, they finally merged, becoming the Australia and New Zealand Bank on 10 October 1951. In Albany, the ANZ continued to run the two branch premises, York Street and Albany House. In 1970, the ANZ Bank took over the English, Scottish and Australian Bank and became the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. The ANZ Banking Group occupied the ES&A Bank building on Albany Highway following the takeover of that Bank, and the York Street branch was closed. In 1973, they vacated Albany House and relocated that branch in Peel Place. In 1975, Albany House was purchased by Raymond and Orina Wyness and the following year, by the Bellemore family of Perth. Under their ownership renovations to the place were carried out by architects Hobbs, Smith & Holmes of Albany, who had also been involved with renovations on the place for the Union Bank in the 1950s. The latest work includes the reconstruction of the two-storey back verandah. Albany House has always been a residence as well as a business premises. In 1999, Western QBE Insurance occupied the ground floor of Albany House.

Integrity/Authenticity

Integrity: Moderate

Condition

Good

Associations

Name Type Year From Year To
James W. Wright Architect - -
Hobbs Smith & Holmes (for rennovations) Architect - -
George C Inskip Architect - -

References

Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Heritage Council of Western Australia assessment for entry on permanent basis 1999
Heritage TODAY Site visit and Assessment 1999

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
7716 Albany House conservation plan. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2006
5038 Stirling Terrace, Albany : conservation plan. March 2001. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2001
7665 Design parameters for Stirling Terrace heritage areas. Heritage Study {Other} 2000
7728 Draft local planning policy: central Albany urban design policy. C D Rom 2005

Place Type

Individual Building or Group

Uses

Epoch General Specific
Present Use COMMERCIAL Insurance Building
Original Use COMMERCIAL Bank
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Other

Architectural Styles

Style
Victorian Regency

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall RENDER Smooth

Historic Themes

General Specific
OCCUPATIONS Commercial & service industries
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Community services & utilities

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):

Approved

Last Update

01 Jan 2017

Disclaimer

This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.