INW-SU-09.jpg (83908 bytes) Sydney Architecture Images- Sydney University

Old Bank Building University of Sydney 


John Hilly


Science Road


1854, moved 1923.


Victorian Academic Classical






This facade was on a bank in Martin Place and was moved piece by piece when the building was demolished in the twenties. 
  Above- the facade at its former location at the corner of George and Barrack Streets (at the end of Martin Place).
The furnace room, stack and possible remains of the milling building represent the importance of metallurgy as one of the new professional subjects in the curriculum in the 1890s, a subject of considerable importance for the development of Australia's mineral resources. The incorporation of the facade of the CBC bank in Wilkinson's design is an interesting example of the re-use of historic fabric in a later building, which was also a feature of Wilkinson's domestic architecture. The Science Road facade was a focal element of Wilkinson's remodelling of the entrance to the University from the Parramatta Road by the Union steps and remains a dominant element of this entry point. The inability of the University to complete this building due to lack of funds marked the termination of Wilkinson's employment as University Architect and is representative of the financial difficulties of the University in the late 1920s-1930s. The 1940s additions are some of the few buildings of this period on the campus. The site has archaeological potential as some fabric of the earlier milling building may survive within the 1920s building or beneath the forecourt.

A milling building, furnace room, stack and roaster for metallurgy were built on the site in 1899-1900 by the Government Architect's branch to the design of the Professor of Chemistry, Archibald Liversidge. The former battery room of the physics laboratory, built in 1887-1888 (A16) was incorporated into the milling building. Plans by Leslie Wilkinson in 1923-1924 for a new building linking physics (A16) and chemistry (A15) incorporated the facade of the Commercial Banking Company's George Street/Barrack Street branch, designed by J F Hilly (1854 & 1864) which had been donated to the University in 1923. The furnace room and stack were to be removed, with the south facade of the new building as a focal point of the view from St Paul's College. The milling building was removed and replaced by the new link building in 1925-1928. Parts of the earlier structures may have been incorporated into the basement level or survive under the forecourt. The furnace room and stack were never removed. Intended as additional accommodation for chemistry, the building remained unfinished for many years due to lack of funds. A branch of the Commonwealth Bank was established in 1938 and a post office in 1959. Additions were built on the south side in 1944 and 1947 (new technology department). The forecourt was re-paved in 1988.

The main facade of the former CBC Bank is Victorian Italianate in style. The original composition with an attic storey over the entablature and cornice has been modified. The fluted giant order columns have finely carved Corinthian capitals, with capitals that appear to have been based on those of the Pantheon in Rome. The small paned windows were generally reinstated to match the original, omitting the metal balustrades. The Conservation Management Plan identifies the surviving original joinery. A forecourt was created in front of the building, which terminates a vista from the walkway to the Union Steps. The roof form of the building was altered by Wilkinson. He added a timber eaves and lantern. The use of lanterns is characteristic of his work at the University and they occur on a number of his buildings. This lantern functioned to admit both light and ventilation. Internally the coffered ceiling with original cornices survives internally. Refer to the Conservation Management Plan for a detailed description.