Westpac Bank, Cooktown

News of the day

Morning Bulletin, Monday 1 May 1933, page 7


Strong Room And Safes


COOKTOWN. April 29

Burglars attempted to open the strong room of the local branch of the Queensland National Bank last night, and also to blow two safes in the premises of Donald and Black, merchants, but in each instance they were unsuccessful.

One safe at Donald and Black's had been left unlocked, but the intruders attempted to blow it open. It was damaged by explosives, but it contained nothing but books. Bags of flour had been piled round the other one, but the door had jammed. This safe contained money.

The officials are reticent about the attempt on the bank strong room, but, apparently, the only result was the jamming of the door, which now cannot be opened.


This two-storeyed brick building was completed in 1891, as the premises for the Queensland National Bank. The building was designed by FDG Stanley, who was responsible for the design of a number of bank buildings in Queensland during the 1880s and 1890s.

The gold rush of the early 1870s which attracted miners and speculators to the Palmer River goldfield provided the impetus for the permanent settlement of Cooktown, becoming a municipality in 1876. Cooktown developed rapidly in the mid 1880s and the substantial nature of the buildings in Charlotte Street indicated the town's importance as a port and business centre. The growth of Cooktown and success of the Palmer River goldfields stimulated the growth of the surrounding district and settlement of the Peninsula.

The Queensland National Bank commenced business in Cooktown in 1874 and built a small timber premises adjacent to the current site. These premises were demolished when the new building was completed. The other portion of the current site was occupied by John Walsh, a Cooktown storekeeper, Mayor of Cooktown in 1876 and the first Member of Parliament for Cook in 1878.

The premises were purchased by the Bank of New South Wales in 1934.

Courtesy of Queensland Heritage Register


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