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Bank Place

Bank Place runs south off Little Collins Street between William and Queen streets, and is so much a Melbourne institution that it has become part of the Golden Mile Heritage Trail. Bank Place was named for the many banks which occupied the surrounding buildings in the mid nineteenth century, but the laneway has been occupied by a variety of other financial institutions and industries. Here in 1860, the Eldon Chambers contained the businesses of solicitors, conveyors and accountants. In the 1890s the lane was almost rebuilt to house assignees, conveyancers, liquidators, accountants, and Mrs Walpole's typewriter office. By the 1920s, Troedel & Cooper, lithographers and printers, had moved in amongst the financiers. The bohemian Savage Club also moved into 12 Bank Place in 1925, bringing together businessmen and professionals with artists such as Tom Roberts and Fred McCubbin, and politicians including Billy Hughes and Robert Menzies. Architects, engineers, a correspondence school and office-systems firms all occupied Bank Place in the 1930s. The real treasure of Bank Place, however, is the Mitre Tavern, which has drawn office-workers down Bank Place for after-work drinks since 1868. The tiny inn was renamed 'Ye Olde Mitre Tavern' in 1894, and so it remains, now overshadowed by the early twentieth-century buildings which surround it. Mitre Lane and Roeszler Lane, which were once mere tributaries of Bank Place, have since been named in their own right.

Edwina Byrne

Sands & McDougall’s commercial and general Melbourne directory, Sands & McDougall, Melbourne, 1860. Details
'Bank Place, H0032, File 602703', in Victorian Heritage Register On-Line, 2000, http://www.doi.vic.gov.au/doi/hvolr.nsf. Details
Bate, Weston, Essential but unplanned: The story of Melbourne's lanes, State Library of Victoria and the City of Melbourne, Melbourne, 1994. Details