Bank of New South Wales (Former)
32-34 Revell Street And Camp Street, Hokitika
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
21st September 1989
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes the land described as Secs 32, 34 Town of Hokitika (CT WS2C/679), Westland Land District and the building known as Bank of New South Wales (Former) thereon
West Coast Region
Secs 32, 34 Town of Hokitika (CT WS2C/679), Westland Land District
The Bank of New South Wales (Former), constructed in 1905 in a prominent position on the corner of Revell and Camp Streets, is the oldest bank building still standing in Hokitika and tells the story of the integral role that banks played in the town. It represents a continuous stream of history back to when the agency set up their bank on this site in the 1860s to provide gold buying and assaying services.
Bank of New South Wales agent, George Preshaw, arrived in Hokitika in November 1864. Temporary quarters for the bank were opened in mid 1865, comprising a corrugated iron structure divided into a bank office and a sleeping compartment, where Preshaw and three others slept on the floor. As well as the Bank of New South Wales, two others were operating in Hokitika by the end of 1865 – the Union Bank and the Bank of New Zealand - all were three handling numerous transactions relating to the soaring gold production in the area. In early 1866, a more commodious bank chamber and manager’s residence was erected on the corner of Revell and Camp Streets for the Bank of New South Wales. Described at the time as being a most handsome and imposing structure, the building was designed by architect C G Smith and was the first of the permanent bank buildings to be completed in Hokitika. In 1904 architects Crichton and McKay designed a two-storeyed Bank of New South Wales building to replace the 1866 building on the same site.
The building is two-storeyed and is largely constructed of timber, with a weatherboard exterior, metal parapet and corrugated iron roof. It has two main facades, one fronting Camp Street (north) with sash windows and, on the ground floor, a doorway leading to what would have been the manager’s residence. The north-west corner of the building contains what was the main entrance and on the Revell Street (west) front are further sash windows. Described at the time of construction in 1905 as representing progress in the town, the exterior of the building was considered to appear more like a handsome residence than a commercial institution. It contained a banking chamber, a manager’s office, strong room and a residence of eight rooms.
In 1959 the Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac) vacated the building when they moved to more modern premises at 97 Revell Street. Shortly afterwards, in 1961, Ivan Fern moved into the building and proceeded to operate his upholstery business from there for the next 41 years. South Bank Art Studios now operate from the building and its owners continue the tradition of living on site. Some changes have been made to the building over time, including simplification of the parapet and the removal of many of the features associated with the building’s banking days.
2nd February 2015
Report Written By
G O Preshaw, 1888. Banking Under Difficulties or Life on the Goldfields of Victoria, New South Wales and New Zealand by a bank official. Edwards, Dunlop & Co. Reprint by Capper Press, 1971.
A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from Southern Region Office of Heritage New Zealand
Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.