Penrith City Library and Commonwealth Bank St Marys Branch
In the 1960s this location was home to many businesses such as Automotive Spare Parts and Philips and Thomas pushbike and motorbike sales and service.
In 1976 a new bank building – Commonwealth Bank, St Marys Branch was built on this address (207-209 Queen Street) before becoming Penrith City Library St Marys Branch and Council’s Service Centre in 1998.
Location of Automotive Spare Parts, G.R.S. Engineering Pty.Ltd. local newspaper advertisement from 1964
Source: St Marys Times
Penrith City Library St Marys Branch and the St Marys Commonwealth Bank
The Penrith City Library, St Marys Branch is located on the original grant of Mary Putland O’Connell called “Frogmore”. Mary’s family received the grant before 1840 and her son did stay on the property with his wife. Initially there was little development.
By the 1960s the site was recorded to be hosting many businesses including Automotive Spare Parts, G.R.S. Engineering Pty.Ltd. and Philips and Thomas pushbike and motorbike sales and service.
In January 1976 a new bank building – Commonwealth Bank, St Marys Branch was being built at this location. The property was bought from Phillips & Thomas in September 1976 and the bank continued on this location until 1996.
After being vacant, in 1997 Penrith Council bought the building for $1 million with a new library giving the St Marys’ economy a boost and providing access to Council and community services. Its official opening was on 12 December 1998 by Penrith City Mayor Councillor John Bateman.
The first Bank branch at St Marys
The first Bank branch at St Marys opened in May 1947, located on land beside the telephone exchange and St Marys’ post office on the highway and rented from the Presbyterian Church for £1 per week. The bank found an unused transportable building at a mine site near Lithgow and transported it over the mountains and re-erected it on brick foundations on the church land. The building cost £1,500 and had a staff of three. Later the bank purchased land from Mrs Tait on the corner of Queen St & Carson’s Lane for £2,500 and built the bank in 1958 for £14,660.18.8d where they remained for 18 years.
The bank felt they needed a representation at the other end of Queen Street so a property on the corner of Queen and Belar Streets was acquired for £16,500 and subdivided in half which was sold. In 1976 the bank moved from the Carson Lane premises and sold the building to Penrith Council for $100,000 for the widening of the laneway and provide access to Council services in St Marys until 1994 when it moved.
The bank originally purchased the new property from Phillips & Thomas for $103,500. The new bank was built by B H Coleman & Fairburn at a cost of $905,035.
First Commonwealth Bank in St Marys was beside side the Telephone Exchange building and St Marys Post Office building (pictured above) on the Great Western Highway. Today Aldi Store building occupies the site. Unknown photographer, date and source
29th May 1947
St Marys Branch of the CBA
The opening of the new St Marys branch of the Commonwealth Bank marks another step forward in the development of this progressive community. The branch is situated on the Western Highway next to the Post Office, and will be under the management of Mr. Augustine McLaughlin who has had experience in every phase of the banks activities.
All types of savings bank and general bank business will be conducted at the new Branch including the granting of overdrafts and the financing of new homes. Later the bank purchased land from Mrs Tait on the corner of Queen St & Carson’s Lane for £2,500 and built the bank in 1958 for £14,660.18.8d where they remained for 18 years. The bank felt they needed a representation at the other end of Queen Street so a property on the corner of Queen and Belar Streets was acquired for £16,500 and subdivided in half which was sold.
1 February 1962
MR. DAVID TRIST APPOINTED BANK MANAGER
Formerly accountant at Penrith branch of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation, Mr. D. Trist has been appointed manager of the bank's South Wagga branch. He will take up the position in approximately two months’ time. Aged 36, Mr. Trist received his appointment on Monday of last week. Before his recent transfer to the Auburn branch, as accountant, Mr. Trist was accountant at Penrith for two years. He had also been, located at Penrith and St. Marys for three years following World War II. During his stay in Penrith, Mr. Trist became actively interested in the affairs of Penrith R.S.L. He is auditor of the sub-branch and club, far western metropolitan district council (to which he is also a Penrith delegate) and N.S.W. R.S.L. bowls council.
LEGACY OFFICER - As assistant secretary of Penrith-St. Marys Legacy contact group, Mr. Trist has been prominent in the organisation of the group's charter night to be held on February 24. His work in civic organisations includes the duties of auditor for Nepean Spastic Council. Mr. Trist has also served at the Hay, Bowral and Lockhart branches of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation. At South Wagga he will be in charge of a staff of six. Married to former St. Marys girl, Betty Cobcroft, they have three children.
Former site of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, St Marys Branch becomes Penrith City Library, St Marys Branch and Penrith Council Services
Photograph by Lyn Ford, taken in 2017
Former site of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia
In January 1976 a new bank building – Commonwealth Bank, St Marys Branch was being built on this location. The previous property was bought from Phillips & Thomas in September 1976 and bank continued on this location until 1996.
After a year of vacancy, in 1997 Penrith Council bought the building for $1 million for the new library giving the St Marys’ economy a boost and providing access to Council and Community services.
The first library in St Marys
St Marys Library originally opened in November 1949 in the old electricity building on Mamre Road. The official opening performed by Mr G R C Remington, Deputy Chairman of the Library Board that took place in the open air in front of the building. The Mayor Alderman Tornaras presided.
The library moved after that into the Baby Health Centre that was originally the St Marys’ Municipal Council Chambers. In 1957 the Mayor and Alderman McCalman from Penrith Council and Librarian Miss J Pearson were asked to inspect the library accommodation at St Marys and report back. It was agreed that the existing building should be extended by 15 feet in an easterly direction and it would be necessary to remove the strong room used by the old St Marys’ Council. The Mayor suggested the extension could provide ample accommodation for the next five years and allowed an expenditure of £500.
In 1964, Penrith Council submitted a tender for alterations to the library won by Alex Gall Constructions Pty Ltd from Mortlake at £5,500. The architect Mr E N Skerratt designed additional wings on the north and south sides of the building. The north side to being eight feet six inches wide would mean that wall would be right against the fire station and to complete this, Council had repeatedly tried to move the fire station from this site. The southern wall towards the Memorial Hall would extend the frontage by 16 ft. Interior walls were being demolished to make way for more open spaces and the frontage of the building would have one more front window on the northern side and two more on the southern side of the extensions.
The library was officially opened in April 1965 by the Director General of Education Dr. H S Windham with an outlay of 6,000 books. This remained the library until premises were built on the corner of Mamre Road and the Highway alongside the Senior Citizens Centre. In January 1976 a new bank building was being built on land in Queen Street bought from Phillips & Thomas September 1976 and continued there until 1996.
After a year of vacancy, in 1997 Penrith Council bought the building for $1 million for the new library giving the St Marys’ economy a boost and providing access to Council and Community services. Its official opening was on the 12th December 1998 by Penrith Mayor Councillor John Bateman.
St Marys Library in the old St Marys Municipal Council Building
Estimated taken in 1950s
Source: Penrith Library Photographic Collection (Penrith in Pictures)
Interview with David Trist
Researcher: Lyn Forde St Marys & District Historical Society Research Officer
Lyn Forde is 56% English/Scottish, 19% Irish and 25% European. She is a 7th generation Australian with two First Fleeters connected to Ropes Crossing. Lyn was born in Penrith, lived in St Marys, Kingswood and now lives in Werrington. She went to St Marys Public School, St Marys High School and Penrith Business College. Lyn retired in 2005 working in administration.
Lyn is divorced and a great grandmother of four. She has researched local history since the 1970’s and she is a contributor of the History Page in the local Nepean News. Lyn was a Secretary of the first St Marys Historical Society and currently a Research Officer & Vice-President. She is also a member of Encore Historical Sewing Group at St Marys Corner. Lyn has researched and self-published several books on local history, it is the area where she feels at home and where she can research her earlier family and community connections.
- Written by Adam Gatt Penrith City Council (02) 4732 7777 (02) 4732 7958 firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au 601 High St Penrith NSW 2750 Australia
- Back to QSRT 2018 - Windows on Queen Project