In the rural town of Toora, in Victoria, stands the former building of The Bank of Victoria. The flaking faded paint on the building makes it stand out on Stanley Street, the quiet main street of this once thriving town.
Built in 1906 for the princely sum of 1535 Pounds, the bank served the township that had prospered from one of the largest tin mines in Victoria, as well as a timber trade contract to supply railway sleepers to the Indian government. However, in 1942, after merging with the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney the Toora bank was closed and sold five years later for 750 Pounds.
I met the buildings current owner, Andy, a mechanic who spends much of his time under old Jaguar and Roll Royce cars at a wedding car centre in Melbourne. The bank has been his ‘weekend project’ for a little while now as he restores the building ensuring it keeps its character for years to come.
In the unforgivingly hot afternoon sun Andy spoke about his plans to one day move to the township and live in the bank which still includes the original safe. He’s been here for a while working on the restoration, but after five years he says he is “still twenty years from being a local.”