To-day four banks, branches respectively of the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney Limited, the Bank of New South Wales, the Australian Bank of Commerce Ltd., and the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales, carry on business in the Manaro district.
The earliest record of
banking business being conducted on Manaro is in the thirties, when
Daniel Driscoll, who kept an hotel at Umeralla (now Chakola) at what is
to-day called Driscoll's Flat, conducted an agency for the Commercial
Bank of Sydney. Cash was represented by I.O.U's., and Driscoll would
negotiate these at 21 per cent. discount for notes, though it is not
recorded that these transactions were on the Bank's behalf. In Ben
Boyd's time - in the forties - notes valued at 10/- and 5/- issued by
him were a common medium of exchange.
The Cooma branch of
this bank is situated at the corner of Sharp and Vale Streets, in the
heart of the town. The site was one on which an hotel was once
conducted. In 1860 the branch was opened by Sir T. A. (then Mr.) Dibbs,
who was returning from Kiandra. The business was conducted in a room
attached to the Lord Raglan Hotel in Lambie Street. Mr. R. C. Joplin was
left in charge as first manager. Mr. James Ham was the first depositor
and he records that the Bank purchased from him gold in pickle bottle
containers. From Lambie Street the branch was
to premises in Sharp Street which belonged to Mr. Alexander Montague and
are now occupied by Mr. Mitchell as offices. In 1882, Mr. J. G. Beazley
being manager, the business was removed to the present building. where
business operations started on 1st January, 1883. Under managers like
Messrs. J. G. Beazley. E. B. Backhouse, H. L. Lovegrove and G. F.
Antill, who is at present in charge, the bank's activities have
increased with the growth of the district. The present staff numbers
seven. A branch has been established at Adaminaby and an agency is open
twice weekly at Nimmitabel.
BANK OF NEW SOUTH WALES.
AUSTRALIAN BANK OF COMMERCE LTD.
As the Australian joint
Stock Bank, this bank was opened by Mr. Eliot Mullens in a room in
Montgomery's Buildings in Sharp Street on 1st June, 1882. Upon the
vacation by the Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney of premises lower down
in Sharp Street, held by it from Mr. Alexander Montague, this Bank
secured a lease thereof and remained there until 1900, when it acquired
land opposite the Commercial Bank, on which it erected its own banking
chambers. The area proving larger than was necessary, a portion with a
frontage to Sharp and Vale Streets was sold by auction and on this the
purchaser, the Bank of New South Wales, built business premises and a
residence. In 1917 a further change was made, the Bank building, at a
cost of £4,500, the handsome building it now occupies on a block
adjoining that where it carried on in 1882. Mr. W. L. Seeley and Mr. G.
W. Ord will be recalled in connection with the management of this
branch, which is today to clay controlled by Mr. H. Spence.
GOVERNMENT SAVINGS BANK OF NEW SOUTH WALES.
In addition to the banks named, one other bank - The Oriental -which has gone out of business for many years, had a branch at Kiandra during the rush..
Transcribed by Pattrick Mould, May 2003, from the book "Back to Cooma" Celebrations, Felix Mitchell, 1926, p101