Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Bank Of Australasia, Hobart

The Bank of Australasia provided an important role in the development of the Hobart and Tasmanian economy. The former Bank of Australasia (now the Queen Mary Club) is the grandest surviving pre-1850 bank building in Hobart. The Heritage building was designed by prominent colonial convict architect James Blackburn and was built in 1843 and it is said to be his most polished work.

The Bank of Australasia building was his last work in Hobart before his passage north, culminating in a residency in Melbourne. It featured a combined banker’s residence and chambers, set in the streetscape behind a high fence.

This is the oldest surviving bank building in Hobart, and the one of the oldest Bank precincts (courtyard etc) in Australia. The precinct has remained virtually intact since the early 19th Century and represents a unique example of a grand, architecturally important commercial building / residence within the centre of Hobart. The building is a fine example of early Victorian architecture with its dual entrances, for `Bank' and `Residence',

The Queen Mary Club was formed as a residential social club for ladies in Hobart on 4 July 1910, obtaining patronage from the new Queen Mary. Club members leased the upstairs manager's quarters of the former Bank of Australasia, eventually buying the whole building in 1935.

The Queen Mary Club was the second earliest all-women's club in Australia (the Queen Adelaide Club was established 1909) and is the longest continuously operating women's club in Australia. The place thus has special associations to Australian and Tasmanian women.

Main Text & Information Source - Australian Heritage Database
Queen Mary Club website -


  1. Isn't it interesting that this beautiful work was designed by the colonial convict architect James Blackburn. Yes he probably WAS prominent but why were architects sent out in chains to the penal colony in the first place? What did Blackburn do that was so criminal?

    1. Blackburn certainly has left a wonderful legacy in Tasmania with his buildings and infrastructure projects. And all that from someone who was convicted of forgery, transported for life, arriving in Hobart and immediately being employed in the dept of roads & bridges. Certainly our gain!!!

  2. My ancestor John Jackson was an original shareholder, probably prompted by his friend Phillip Oakden, who he commissioned to bring his 13 year old illegitimate German son to Ross for a farm apprenticeship