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Perc Tucker Regional Gallery

  • 600912
  • 253-259 Flinders Street, Townsville


Also known as
Union Bank of Australia; Australian & New Zealand Bank
State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Commercial/financial/professional: Bank
3.7 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Financing
8.2 Creating social and cultural institutions: Cultural activities
Stanley, Francis Drummond Greville
Construction period
1884–1933, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery (1884 - 1933c)
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century
1919–1930s Interwar period


253-259 Flinders Street, Townsville
Townsville City Council
-19.25808473, 146.81794158


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Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, erected c1885 as a single-storeyed building with a c1933 second storey, survives as a good illustration of the effect of the 1880s 'gold' boom in transforming Townsville from a shanty town into the most important port in North Queensland.

Criterion DThe place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

In the elegant facade, the building demonstrates the principal features of a regional bank whose classical design, by prominent architect FDG Stanley, is adapted to tropical conditions by the use of verandahs.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

The Perc Tucker Regional Gallery is an imposing and aesthetically pleasing building which makes a strong contribution to the streetscape both by its prominence and its corner position, its landmark qualities linking the Flinders Street East heritage streetscape with that of Denham Street.

Criterion HThe place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.

The building is significant for its strong association with the work of the Union and ANZ banks in Townsville, and more recently with the Townsville City Council and its establishment of the Perc Tucker Gallery. As one of a group of three late 20th century masonry bank buildings in Townsville designed by Stanley, it provides important evidence of Stanley's work in adapting classical design to suit the climatic conditions of the tropical North. The 1930s additions, which echoed the Stanley design, evidence the success of the original work.


This building was erected 1884-86 as single-storeyed premises, designed by former Queensland colonial architect FDG Stanley for the Union Bank of Australia. The second storey, possibly designed by Cairns architects Hill and Taylor, was added c1933.

Townsville was established in the mid-1860s to service the pastoral lands of the interior, and with the opening of the Charters Towers goldfields in the 1870s, developed rapidly. By the early 1880s Townsville businesses were consolidating, timber commercial premises, particularly those along Flinders Street, were being replaced by brick, and it was clear that Townsville had a strong future. A branch of the Australian Joint Stock Bank had opened at Townsville in February 1866, of the Bank of New South Wales in March 1866, of the Queensland National Bank in 1873, and of the Bank of Australasia in January 1881.

On 21 February 1881 a branch of the Union Bank opened in Townsville in rented premises. About 1882 the bank acquired the site at the corner of Flinders and Denham Streets, then occupied by a c1866 hotel, which was demolished in 1884 to make way for the new Union Bank building.

The new offices were designed by Francis Drummond Greville Stanley, who as colonial architect from 1873 to 1881 was responsible for Townsville's more imposing public buildings, including the 1877 magistrates court [600929], the first hospital (1870s), the 1878 gaol, and the 1879 telegraph office. From the late 1870s to the late 1890s Stanley designed a substantial number of bank buildings in Queensland for the Queensland National Bank, the Australian Joint Stock Bank, and the Union Bank. In Townsville he designed 3 large masonry bank premises: the Queensland National Bank [1878-79 - 600905], the Union Bank [1884-86 - 600912] and the Australian Joint Stock Bank [1886-87 - 600895]. Each of these survives, and as a group they offer important evidence of Stanley's adaptation of classical design to a tropical climate.

During the latter part of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century Townsville, with its port and railhead, grew to be an important commercial centre. This economic growth necessitated the addition of an upper floor to the Union Bank building in the 1930s. The extensions are thought to be the work of Cairns architects Richard Hill and AJH Taylor. In detail and form they mimicked Stanley's design and were skilfully executed.

In 1951 the Union Bank of Australia amalgamated with the Bank of Australasia to form the Australian & New Zealand Banking Corporation. For several years both Townsville branch buildings, on opposite corners at the intersection of Flinders and Denham streets, traded as the ANZ bank. In 1955 the former Bank of Australasia branch was closed, but ANZ continued trading from the former Union Bank premises. At this time some alterations were made to the interior.

In 1981 new premises in Sturt Street were opened for the ANZ Bank and their building at the corner of Flinders and Denham streets was sold to the Townsville City Council. The council converted the building into the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, named in honour of a former mayor of Townsville who was a long time campaigner for an art gallery in the city. The gallery displays the city's art collections and visiting exhibitions.


The Perc Tucker Regional Gallery is prominently situated on an important corner allotment of the city. It is a classically designed building which is constructed of cement rendered brick. It has colonnaded verandahs on both floors of the Flinders Street Denham Street facades.

The facades consist of Roman arches with pilasters enhanced by Corinthian capitals. The whole is surmounted by a simple but effective Italianate parapet which conceals the roof.

The ground floor, which originally housed the banking chamber, has been refurbished as an art gallery display area. A side entrance in Denham Street leads to an entrance vestibule and a staircase to the upper level. This was once the domestic quarters of the bank manager, but has been converted to storage, toilets and additional display space.

The modernised interior contains an acoustic ceiling, fluorescent lights, air conditioning vents and an elevator.

A brick extension with a corrugated iron roof has been added at the rear, together with an external fire escape, and a skillion over the back entrance.

Image gallery


Location of Perc Tucker Regional Gallery within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
20 February 2022