Swan Steet, Morpeth 29cm x 15.5cm
Original Oil on Board by John Vander
Johns Inspiration: “Thirty-Five kilometres west of Newcastle, Morpeth is a unique example of an inland river port town. Morpeth was amongst the greatest of Australian river ports in its heyday more than 150 bullock teams worked the ports hauling wheat, wool, hides and timber to the ships that took it to Sydney or overseas for sale. After the shipping trade declined in the early 1900’s the village declined but many of the buildings remained to fall into disrepair. The bank pictured here closed, the, 18 hotels, dwindled to just 2 that still trade today. Today the town is a well-preserved tourist town with the Commercial and River Royal Hotels the only remaining hotels. Most of the remaining buildings are owned privately Heritage NSW recognises Morpeth as an “historic village”. My painting of Swan Street helps you to imagine a time when Morpeth, thronged with people horses and carts.”
Located at 149 Swan Street, the elaborate CBC Bank building (1889) was designed by the Mansfield brothers. It has a particularly impressive interior, featuring Italian fireplaces, porcelain servants’ bells, red cedar woodwork, a fine staircase, quality panelling and original bank fittings including a huge cedar counter, ledger desk and cupboard. There is also an old vault, an underground well, a roof tank installed to improve water pressure and, at the rear of the building, the sandstone coach house, stables and loft. The exterior has a impressive arched entranceway and arched windows.