Some history of NAB in Barraba

17th March 2023

        History Notes

Our market co-ordinator gave us a correct forecast – no rain until after lunch on Saturday and she was correct although a few spots before midday were a worry.  The markets were successful with a nice number of supporters arriving to buy from the stalls, sample the barbeque and enjoy coffee while listening to the music.  It was great to have live music again – thank you boys for coming.

The next market day falls on Easter Saturday so there may need to be some discussion at our next meeting to see who is going to be available over Easter.

This week, as our oldest business left town, I thought I would share a little history of its movements since the 1870’s.

The Commercial Bank of Sydney opened in an old building just to the north of the Victoria Hotel although it was 20 years before the brick single story hotel was erected.  The old building the bank rented, was in need of repair and so when William Mell built a single story hotel next door he rented it to the bank for a few years and it was the scene of the Bank Manager’s murder in 1894.

The Commercial Bank found themselves a site next door to the Court House and built a new bank and residence there.  There must be a reason (I do not know what it was) but this bank and residence was demolished in the early 1920’s and a new bank and residence was built and opened in 1925.  This bank underwent renovations in 1955 and of course the signage had to be changed when the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney amalgamated and became the NAB.  Sadly, it all closed down on 6th March, 2023, and all signs of the business have been removed.

I wonder how many of our older residents remember the people who came to manage and run the Bank.  I am sure some of the golfers remember Mr Sommerville who always played golf with his tie on.  Then there was Mr Brownscombe who loved playing nightlight tennis but had to calm down for an extended time before he could go to sleep afterwards.  I came across one Bank Manager who did not know the difference between a cow and a bull in the paddock!

The wife of one of our bank managers wrote a long poem about the golf ladies and read it at one of our lunches causing a lot of mirth among the golf ladies.  If I can find it, we might put in the news sometime.  There must be a few more memories of our banking staff so please bring them in – nice ones of course.  It is the end of an era.