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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Security gone mad

I popped into my 'friendly' ANZ bank headquarters the other day to take another look and take some photos of the wonderful Gothic Bank which is considered the finest secular Gothic Revival building in Australia. You'll find it on the corner of Collins and Queen Streets in the city. 
The Gothic Bank with the new ANZ banking tower behind (they are still doing well!)
Stepping into the old banking chamber one almost feels that it requires you to creep in hallowed silence to the teller! The chamber is wonderful. And so well preserved. I can just imagine it in its boomtime heyday - in the speculative days of Melbourne's land boom of the 1880's. When I visited it was a hive of non-activity - with just a couple of the teller windows operating (having said that I experienced the same hive of non-activity at my local ANZ bank this morning!!)
Frantically busy in the stunning banking chamber (we all do our transactions on line now!)
The bank has provided a brochure outlining the history of the Gothic Bank, the Cathedral Room and the old Banking Museum for all to peruse. But take a photo - now that is breaching security. Having said that I happily clicked throughout the Gothic Chamber and the Cathedral Room before being persued by an overzealous security guard. It was interesting to hear the comments from others also viewing the bank "You'd think we were terrorists - and this is OUR bank - how ridiculous". I couldn't agree with them more!
The detail on the teller 'window' - closed for business!!
The Cathedral Room which is adjacent to the banking chamber was the original Stock Exchange which opened in 1891. The space is rather wonderful. Sadly it doesn't seem to be in use except by the odd visitor checking their mobile and putting their feet up (not on the seats please!!)
The entrance from the Banking Chamber to the old Stock Exchange
The Cathedral Room - hush - just look at that ceiling
Now I do understand that security these days is an issue but if they are going to provide a brochure including the layout of the banking chamber and various other rooms then I feel if I was going to plan the great bank robbery that my photos wouldn't be needed!
Here's is the map and information on the Gothic Bank, The Cathedral Room and more - so helpful!
The old Banking Museum located just off the main banking chamber at 380 Collins Street is worth a visit. It won't be long before they display cheque books - like so much they are on their way out!

So if you are in the city do pop in and have a look. Pick up a brochure and go for a self-guided tour. And you don't even have to be an ANZ customer!

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