Fifty Pounds Worth of Silver

A Remnant of Banking in Berry

Made before decimal currency was adopted in Australia, this bank bag was used in Berry by customers and staff of the local English, Scottish and Australian Bank (ES&A Bank) up until its closure.

In 1884-5, the ES&A Bank began building a branch in the country town of Berry. The building was one of five small-scale banks designed by William Wilkinson Wardell (1823-1899), making it the first building in Berry to be designed by a prominent architect.

As the Berry branch of the ES&A Bank, the building served Berry locals for nearly sixty years before being sold to the Council in 1943. Just eight years later, the bank was reopened in the same building. However, they ceased business following a merger between ED&A Bank and the Australian New Zealand Bank (ANZ) in December 1972.

Today, the building is only one of two remaining small-scale bank buildings designed by Wardell. Significantly, many of its original features, both inside and out, have been preserved to the present day.

The Berry Historical Society began to operate in the former banking chamber in the 1970s, and the property has been used as the Berry Museum ever since. Throughout this time, the banking chamber and its history have engaged visitors interested in the years spent processing thousands of withdrawal, deposits, and loan negotiations.

This small, cotton bag has likely spent most of its existence within the same walls. A bank, now long-gone, becoming its permanent home.