Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey
Western side of Bank Place, Melbourne (north-
Technically not a Control Data Australia work place, but the premises of E. L. Heymanson and Co., manufacturer's agents, who were the early agents for Control Data Corporation in Melbourne before the Australian subsidiary was incorporated on Friday,17 May, 1963.
By the end of the Second World War, the company was intimately involved in the aviation industry -
E. L. Heymanson & Co. Pty. Ltd. became agents for CDC from 1 January, 1962 after previously representing Ramo-
The first Control Data equipment to be installed in Australia was a 160-
Computers and aviation (and other Heymanson agencies) made for strange bedfellows in Bank House, as the name suggests most of the tenants of 1963 very much more involved with the professions, the directory showing:
Ground floor : a finance company, two stock brokers, two solicitors and an accountant, the first floor entirely occupied by the Worker's Compensation Fund, the third by Heymanson, a debt collector and three solicitors, and the fourth by the Hemingway Robertson Institute (listed as tutors), the Dale Carnegie Centre and a publisher's representation, these three probably all part of Robertson's corporate structure.
The fifth floor was the residential quarters of the caretaker, then one William Turner. Whether there was an anonymous tenant or the area was left vacant is unknown, but there was no entry listed for the second level between 1961 and 1963 with 1964 showing the occupancy as Kent, Brierley and Barraclough, accountants.
This was the last year Heymanson & Co. occupied Bank House, the company shown in 1964 at 94 William Street.
Whether these were smaller or larger premises is unknown -
Strangely enough, despite Bank Place nestling in the centre of the financial section of Melbourne, it was once the centre of Melbourne's bohemian life, the building directly opposite Bank House at number 12, once known as White Hall purchased in 1923 by The Savage Club, founded in 1894 by Australia's first baronet, Sir William Clarke with the aim of bringing together those connected with literature, arts or science.
The club still functions, and although its membership is highly secretive with a strong code of silence, it is known that Sir Robert Menzies served as president from 1947 to 1962 and other presidents have included leading judges and Queen's Counsel. Many of Australia's most famous artists and art patrons have also been members, while recent members are believed to include Barry Humphries, Ted Bailleau and John Elliott.
The local group was based on The Savage Club of London, formed in 1857 and there are Savage Clubs in Adelaide, Perth and Sydney.
The Bank House site was originally known as Eldon Chambers which appears to have existed prior of 1860 (it in fact preceded the Mitre Tavern). In 1903 the two floors were occupied, the ground section by two solicitors and an architect, the first by another architect, a typist, and W. T. Wright, "Australian Live Stock Manual".
The original section of Bank House was built in 1903 when tenders were issued on behalf of the printers mentioned in the insert above, Messrs Mason, Firth, and McCutcheon Pty. Ltd for the erection of new premises on the Eldon Chambers site (unfortunately all references are to plans in the office with no detailed specification as to what the building may have been like). Directories always ran about six months behind, and the 1904 version still showed a mix of professions under Eldon Chambers, but in 1905, Bank House was fully occupied by the printers. With their full occupancy, no floor-
Bank House was bought and extensively renovated and expanded in 1923 by businessman Charles Victor Robertson to house his Hemingway Robertson Institute  formerly at 528 Collins Street. Two additional floors were added, a tell-
(The Bank referred to in both the thoroughfare and building appears to have been the Bank of Australasia).
While checking a query as to solicitors that operated in Bank House (Ron Bird thought his first wife may have worked as a secretary to a solicitor there), I noted there were 11 or 12 offices on most floors in 1954, but this dropped to five or six in 1956, which makes me suspect there may have been some re-
At the time of updating (October, 2015), the building appears to be empty; certainly the ground level viewable from Bank Place, and the double doors were securely locked, it seems highly unlikely any of the upper floors were in use.
The narrowness of that section of Bank Place makes a meaningful image of Bank House almost impossible, but it is a an eye-
But if it so happens, then sans car, I want one!
The Mitre Tavern
It is almost impossible to discuss Bank Place without touching on its near-
The site is believed to have operated as a hotel since 1868, the first publican Henry Thompson, but it is known to have been used as residence for some years before that and parts of the building may date back to Melbourne's foundation in the mid-
Six additional bedrooms were ordered to be added by a Licences Reduction Board hearing in 1923, but the licensee contested the order, maintaining that the number and quality of the meals served there compensated the lack of accommodation and that altering the building would be an act of vandalism. Fortunately the licensee’s appeal succeeded and the building retained its original character.
The building was offered at an auction in August, 1930 which attracted a huge crowd of bidders and on-
Prior to the sale, the Mitre was owned by The Trustees, Executors and Agency Co. Ltd., who were planning a new ten-
(Coincidentally, my first experience of the Mitre was in 1976 when contracted to Royal Insurance, my first contract after leaving Control Data. The Mitre Tavern also provided the name for the hardware chain, Mitre-
Ron Bird also remembers the highlight of his then eight-
 The Hemingway Robertson Institute was a correspondence school specialising in accountancy and business courses.
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