Bank of New South Wales


Founders Heritage Park contains a replica (pictured here) of the first Bank of New South Wales that was built in Nelson, which opened on February 1st 1862.

Nelson was a prosperous colony, with plentiful forests for logging, some rich cropland for farming, and gold discovered in the province in 1857.

Replica Bank NSW, Founders ParkReplica Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac), Founders Park
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Formed in Australia in 1817, the Bank of New South Wales was one of many Australian banks to invest in Nelson, assuring the future prosperity of the young colony.

The Bank of New South Wales was a major part of banking in New Zealand eventually merging with the Commercial Bank of Australia in 1983 to become Westpac Bank.

The Bank of New South WalesThe Bank of New South Wales 1860s, Trafalgar St. Nelson Provincial Museum, Copy Collection, C110
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In this late 1860's photograph taken from Cathedral Hill looking north along Trafalgar Street, the Bank of New South Wales is third from the right. In the background is Dr. Bush's Windmill.

The Bank eventually needed more space and purchased a new site occupied by the Wakatu Hotel (1843-1877) on the north-west corner of Trafalgar and Bridge Street.1

The new buildings consisted of a Bank and a Manager's Residence. They were designed by W.B. Arnson, an architect from Christchurch, and were built by local builder John Scott, the last owner of Dr. Bush's Windmill. In 1883, the editor of The Nelson Evening Mail reported;

Bank of New South WalesBank of New South Wales. Nelson Provincial Museum Tyree Studio Collection: 178744
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"The building, judging by the drawings, with a view of which we have been favoured by Mr Stedman, the local manager, will be a decided ornament to the town. ... On the whole the new Bank will be a most creditable addition to the public institutions of the town."2

The text of this story was written for an Interpretation Panel at Founders Heritage Park, 2010 (updated 2022)

Sources used in this story

  1. Smith, D.  (1987) 19th Century Nelson Hotels in Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, v.2(1). Retrieved from
  2. Nelson Evening Mail. (1883, 31 January) Volume XVIII, Issue 26, p2 . Retrieved from

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