The Bank is located in the centre of Carnamah, a town and farming community 300 kilometres north of Perth in the Mid West of Western Australia. It was constructed in 1930 as an imposing branch and residence for the Bank of Australasia. However, for most of its life it was used by the Rural & Industries Bank, later renamed Bankwest.
Over the years the inside of the building changed almost entirely. In early 2015 work began to undo these changes and bring back the building’s striking features which had been hidden for several decades. These include pressed tin ceilings, jarrah floors and an octagonal-shaped banking chamber.
The Bank Gallery Space was launched on Sunday 30 April 2017 as part of the Australian Heritage Festival. The opening was patronised by hundreds of people from across the North Midlands in addition to visitors from Geraldton and Perth. Duncan Ord, Director-General of the new Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, officially opened the building. The Bank is an outcome of the North Midlands Project. A calendar of events is being put together with the guidance of our Management Committee, Regional Leadership Team and Artistic, Cultural & Wellness Directories.
Our major project being for 2017 is around the story of Frank Thomas, a young 1920s bushranger from Coorow. Although largely unknown today, The West Australian newspaper went as far as making comparisons to the infamous Kelly gang, on 15 November 1922: "The career of the Kelly gang and their decline and fall, is a memorable episode in Australian history, but the chronicler of Australian bushranging may find almost equally excellent material in the exploits of Francis Henry Thomas."
The project will provide a new and mostly unknown WA voice to Australia's bushranging history while shining a light on mental illness and the impressive Aboriginal connections to the story. Perth artist Di Taylor will be spending time in the North Midlands as an artist-in-residence. She will work from an open studio, run workshops and create a series of artworks around the stories of the bushranger.
For enquiries, please get in touch by email to email@example.com or give David a call on 0419 766 808.