Created By: Uki and South Arm Historical Society
Mr Groves, a blacksmith, initially used this site. The building was constructed in 1910 by David Cleaton Marshall, who leased it to the E. S. & A. Bank. The bank opened in 1910. There were stables at the back of the building.
Local farmer, Gerald Parker sat overnight in front of the safe with a loaded double-barrelled shotgun until bank representatives from Murwillumbah could arrive to empty the safe; by all reports, the contents survived the fire intact.
The original building had been built in timber. When it was rebuilt around the original vault and fireplaces, it was built in expensive fibro imported from France by James Hardie Pty Ltd. (fibro was not made in Australia till 1917). When the bank was rebuilt in 1914, the owner was Edmund Williams.
During the outbreak of influenza in 1919, the Uki School was used as a hospital, and the kitchen of the bank residence was used to prepare the food for the patients.
In 1942 the back residence was rented to the Connolly family for 15/- per week. The Murwillumbah manager came out one day each week until the bank agency finally closed on 30th July 1955.
From 1960 to 1961, the bank area was used as a meeting place for the Buffalo Lodge for £1 per meeting until local church dignitaries acted to cease the activities.
In 1967 the Connolly family purchased the entire building.
The front bank section was used by Lloyd Roberts (a relative of the Connolly’s) as a banana ripening room and to make banana cases, and as a banana packing shed. In 1991 two barrel loads of carbide mixed with water to ripen bananas were removed from the old safe. The building had the front awning removed sometime around 1972/1973.
The old bank was restored and heritage listed in 1992. Quaint touches included in the restoration were a repolished yellow teak floor, a unique key for the historic Chubb safe and a “scrubbed up” old stove dating from the 1800s. The colours used to paint the restored building are the same as the original structure. The old lino was removed, tested, and found to have been made around the turn of the twentieth century and brought out from Scotland.
The Chubb safe was built in the front room where customers would have been served and were locked with a two-key system. The strongroom door came from England in 1905 and was sold to the E. S. & A. Bank for £54/7/-. The old bank has since housed a Chiropractor, an Art Gallery and Pottery, and an organic food store fair trading store.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Historic Uki Village - Walking Tour