BNE Open House – National Australia Bank

The second building that I visted in my afternoon session of the Brisbane Open House is the National Australia Bank. Actually, I had already pre-booked a tour for the Treasury Heritage Hotel but due to long walking distance from Riparian Plaza, I chose the closest Open House building that I had not visited yet.

After the Riparian Plaza tour, it was raining. And at Queen Street, there was a construction took place to widen the pedestrian walkway. Hence, I waited outside NAB where the queue was quite long. A volunteer came and counted the number of visitors coming. He gave me NAB Open House brochure. I think I waited for 10 minutes before a group of 12 people (including myself) were called to begin the tour.

This is NAB from the outside with AAMI building located across the street. It is also the first time I edited a photo of mine into black and white.




Most of the visitors dry their umbrella when they managed to be on the queue inside the building. There was a security guard reading a book and enjoying his cup of coffee while the rest of us were drenched.

Look upon the ceiling and you’ll see this beautiful ornaments. There is also beautiful ornament on the ceiling of the closed Regent Theatre (which was based on Spanish architecture).


Previously a Queensland National Bank building, the NAB was built in 1875. At that time, Australia’s big four banks buildings were located on each corner of Queen and Creek Streets. That’s according to a tour participant. However, the big four banks referred by the tour participant do not refer to Commonwealth, NAB, Westpac and ANZ but the big four banks at that time. While the guide led us through rooms by rooms reading the history of the building printed in a paper. I don’t expect them to memorise or know the history by hearts, after all they are just volunteers.

Back in the early years, when the bank closed, the bank manager would sleep inside the building. That’s for Australia, not sure about my home country.

The inner roof taken from a window in the front corridor.

The lift is not working.

The front balcony on the first floor, facing Queen Street

A furnace is located in every room. Strange though for Queensland’s sub-tropical climate. Perhaps that’s why all the furnace are now blocked and unused.

The competitor on the opposite side of Creek Street; there was anger mounting on NAB back in 2002. And now there are angers mounting on the big four banks on ATM charges.

What is quite unique is that almost all rooms have mini pantries with a staircase to level 1.5. What you can do at level 1.5 is to reach the ceiling. This photo tells about ne of the building’s pillar located near one of the “mini pantries” on level 1.

Imagine this early 20th century and you’re a banker. Your bank is in big trouble and you need to discuss the matter with your boss. The picture above may not be a true depiction of what would happen then but at least it gives the slightest idea. Notice that a picture of the Queen of England is hung on the wall.

Yet another furnace

That’s the latest update on NAB. It’s not done yet but I’ll be back tomorrow. Have a great evening.

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