The Commercial Banking Company of Sydney Limited/Burberry – Sydney, NSW

Yeah, this one’s an easy target but it’s Friday, so gimme a break. If we look past the brand name for a moment we can see this building belonged to the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney Limited (CBC). The CBC was established in 1834, and here’s its seal:

Now, I know what we’re all thinking: “How can I find out more about the boat in that seal?”

The CBC website answers our prayers:

Thermopylae was an extreme composite clipper ship built in 1868 by Walter Hood & Co of Aberdeen to the design of Bernard Weymouth of London for the White Star Line of Aberdeen.

She measured 212’0″×36’0″×20’9″ and tonnage 991 GRT, 948 NRT and 927 tons under deck. The under deck coefficient was 0,58. Rigged with royal sails, single topgallant and double top-sails.

She was designed for the China tea trade, and set speed records on her maiden voyage to Melbourne — 63 days, still the fastest trip under sail. In 1872 she raced the clipper Cutty Sark from Shanghai back to London and won by seven days after Cutty Sark lost her rudder. In 1895 she was sold to Portugal and used as a naval training ship. The Portuguese Navy torpedoed her at sea in 1906.”

But for every nagging mystery solved, another pops up in its place, such as why Burberry needs a safe deposit area:

But that just goes to show that they used to build banks to last. To these designers, the CBC was going to rule the waves forever, but the truth is much more banal. In 1981 it was absorbed by the National Australia Bank, whose logo can be found bolted to the front of this building. Looking inside, we can see the extent of the bank’s lavish furnishings:

After having a look at some of those price tags, I can safely say that even though Burberry has only been at this location for a year (it was previously Sydney’s only Virgin Megastore), it’s banked fatter coin than the CBC ever did.

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One response

  1. I do remember one in Richmond diagonally from the P.O,if I.m not mistaken.Good stuff this.

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