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345-349 Collins Street

Heritage Listed Location

Address

345-349 Collins Street Melbourne, Melbourne City, Victoria, Australia

Details / Significance

First land sale 1837, Block 4, Allotment 15, William Sharp. Subdivisions and lanes by 1840. 1877 - 5 buildings; retail and financial. 1888 - two three-storey buildings; Mercantile Bank of Australia, CA Clarke, Agent: Ditchburn, Sharebrokers. Replaced by current building, 1888. 1905 - four- and five-storey buildings.

Heritage Inventory Significance: HISTORIC BUILDINGS COUNCIL - STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: THE FORMER MERCANTILE BANK AT 345 - 349 COLLINS STREET, MELBOURNE WAS CONSTRUCTED IN 1888 TO A DESIGN BY WILLIAM SALWAY IN CONJUNCTION WITH MESSRS WIGHT AND LUCAS, ARCHITECTS. OF FIVE STOREYS AND BASEMENT, IT IS CONSTRUCTED FROM BRICK AND CONCRETE WITH A CEMENT RENDERED FACADE INCORPORATING POLISHED GRANITE AT THE BASE. THE MERCANTILE BANK'S CRASH IN 1892 SENT SHOCK WAVES THROUGHOUT THE FINANCIAL WORLD AND CONSTITUTED AN IMPORTANT AND SIGNIFICANT PART OF THE 1890'S COLLAPSE IN VICTORIA. THE BUILDING, CONSTRUCTED AS HEADQUARTERS FOR THE BANK, ARCHITECTURALLY TYPIFIES THE GRANDIOSE ATTITUDES OF THESE INSTITUTIONS AT THE HEIGHT OF THE LAND BOOM. IT WAS DESCRIBED AS BEING OF ROMAN CLASSICAL ORIGIN BUT OWES A LOT TO MANNERIST AND BAROQUE INFLUENCES ALL ASSEMBLED WITH A TYPICAL VICTORIAN ECLECTICISM. ARCHITECTURALLY IT MUST BE COMPARED WITH OTHER SUBSTANTIAL, BOOM STYLE' BUILDINGS SUCH AS 'THE BLOCK' AND LOMBARD BUILDING, BUT AS THE LAST REMAINING NINETEENTH CENTURY LAND BANK IN COLLINS STREET IT MUST BE SEEN AS OF PRIME IMPORTANCE IN A STATEWIDE SENSE. THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THE STRUCTURE IS GOOD, HOWEVER THE INTERIOR HAS UNDERGONE SUBSTANTIAL ALTERATIONS DURING THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (NOTE: THE INTERIOR IS EXCLUDED FROM THE DESIGNATION) THE FACADE IS CURRENTLY PAINTED AND THE DOME WHICH ORIGINALLY GRACED THE ROOF HAS BEEN DEMOLISHED.

Archeological Potential: Extant bldg Fabric, Site

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Heritage Listed Locations Nearby

Anz Bank 0.1km
Alkira House 0.2km
4 Mill Place 0.2km
Anz Bank 0.2km
Dumas House 0.2km
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