On Tuesday 25 June 1935 at 10am the newly built Taree branch of the Rural Bank of NSW opened for general business.2 The opening of the bank indicated a demand for increased banking facilities and the general progress of the Manning River region. It was a policy of the bank to assist primary producers throughout NSW.3
The building’s imposing front was described at the time as ‘simple’ implying economy. The bow front carried the Rural Bank’s coat of arms coloured blue, red and gold. To either side of the coat of arms, NSW is represented by the engravings of a ram’s head surrounded by wheat sheafs.4 Cornucopias flank the sides denoting abundance and nourishment.
It was tradition for the manager and his family to live in the bank. The living quarters were laid out over two storeys and described as spacious and comfortable overlooking the Manning River. The banking chamber was also spacious and the fittings were made of local cedar and Queensland walnut panels.
The first bank manager was Sydney Vincent Moffitt who served for nine years before finishing his career at the Parramatta branch. He was followed by Thomas Sydney Butt who arrived in January 1946 but died just eight months later in the Manning River District Hospital.5 He was a WWI veteran who had been awarded the Military Medal when his platoon in the Somme were hit by machine gun fire. He crawled round to the left flank, and captured the machine gun along with nine prisoners.6 He was only 47 years old when he died.7
The Rural Bank became the State Bank in 1982 and was sold in 1988.8 Since then the building has been used for various commercial purposes. It is listed on the local heritage register.9
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Creative Commons, https://taree.fandom.com/wiki/Rural_Bank_of_NSW?action=edit§ion=3&veaction=edit
2 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 26 June 1935, 2.
3 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 22 June 1935, 10.
6 NAA: B2455, Butt T S
7 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 4 September 1946, 2.
8 NSW Land Registry Services, Vol-Fol: 4729-99.
9 Greater Taree Local Environmental Plan 2010.