Our community heritage series: Working on Queen Street

Last Updated : 30 Oct 2018
Heritage stories series – Life in the city
The original Bank of New South Wales (BNSW) building at the top of Queen Street on the corner of Karangahape Road. Photo credit: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-2349

To finish heritage month and celebrate our people’s history, we hear directly from the community and discover Aucklanders’ stories about our city’s heritage.

In the first in the series, Chris Ball tells us about his childhood in Auckland and the adventures of having a father working in banking.

Tell us about where you grew up?

I was one of five boys, growing up in Milford – I used to ride my bike from Milford, across on the ferry and all the way to Parnell baths for swimming lessons.

What did your parents do?

In my early years my dad worked at the Bank of New South Wales (BNSW) branch at the top of Queen Street on the corner of Karangahape Road. This was very close to the Sanitarium Health Food Company’s Weetbix factory in Upper Queen Street. He regularly walked to the factory and bought a large paper bag of Weetbix seconds which were our breakfast staple. I enjoyed chewing on the hard biscuits mixed in with softer broken ones.

He later transferred to the BNSW main office near the bottom of Queen Street next to Milne and Choyce. One of his duties there was the transfer of money between different bank offices in the city. Sometimes I called in at the bank to see him on my way home from school. 

Are there any particular memories you have of that time?

On one occasion I was waiting for him to return after moving money around the city. When he came into the bank he handed over to the teller a revolver and a satchel which was normally locked onto his wrist. Obviously, the satchel of money needed immediate attention and momentarily the revolver was unattended on the teller's counter. Filled with curiosity I managed to get as far as touching the gun before I was ordered “Leave it alone! Don’t touch it!” so as you can imagine I moved away very quickly! Nothing further was said. Well, not to me anyway…

Heritage places still used gif

Note: The information in this story series was submitted to OurAuckland by members of the public, who were asked to share their stories and memories of Auckland. OurAuckland and Auckland Council have not fact-checked this information.

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