T & G Mutual Life Assurance Society

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T & G Building in Melbourne
Sydney's now demolished T & G Building from Hyde Park, ca. 1930
T & G building in Geelong
T & G building in Mildura
T & G building in Horsham
T & G building in Wagga Wagga
T&G Building in Hobart, Tasmania
T&G Building in Hobart, Tasmania

The T & G Mutual Life Assurance Society was an insurance company that operated in Australia and New Zealand.[1] The 'T & G' stood for 'Temperance & General'.[2] The company was founded in Victoria in 1876,[3] emerging from the Assurance branch of the Independent Order of Rechabites with 132 policies. The branch was severed from the I.O.R. after six years of operations.[4]

By 1920, the Society had 385,000 policies and by 1930 had grown to become the largest ordinary-industrial life society operating solely within Australia and New Zealand, with 737,000 policies, with an income of nearly 4 million pounds, and assets totaling over 16 million pounds.[5] By 1952 the income had increased to 16 million pounds and funds to 86 million pounds.[6]

In 1983 the T&G Society amalgamated with the National Mutual Life Association.[7] which was itself purchased by AXA, a French multinational, in the 1990s.

The T&G Buildings[edit]

The T&G Mutual Life Assurance Society was notable amongst Australian insurance companies for expanding its reach and visibility with a building program of 20 almost matching landmark buildings in cities and town across Australia and New Zealand in the interwar period. Other insurance companies also built numerous office buildings in many cities, but fewer in number or not all in matching style. Colonial Mutual built about 8 matching office blocks across Australasia and South Africa (designed by Hennessy & Hennessy), while AMP built far more, but in various styles over many decades.

In the boom years of the 1880s they built prominent headquarters in Melbourne and Sydney, the Melbourne one on Swanston Street on the north side of the town hall, and another even larger one in Sydney on Elizabeth Street on the corner of Park Street, overlooking Hyde Park.[8] In 1908 they purchased the large, ornate Edwardian Moirs Chambers in St Georges Terrace in Perth for their branch there, and had a presence in other cities and towns.

Starting in the mid 1920s, T&G buildings appeared in all the capital cities and numerous regional centres across Australia and New Zealand, the majority of which featured a landmark tower with a distinctive stepped top and the company's name in a kind of corporate advertising. All but one were designed by the Melbourne firm of A & K Henderson, those of the 1920s designed in a matching classical style, which evolved into a more varied vertical Art Deco style in the 1930s. The towers often made them the most prominent buildings in the smaller towns, and the Melbourne and Sydney T&G buildings were amongst the largest, most prominent, interwar commercial buildings in both cities.

In the postwar years, the T&G continued this program, but in the form of more typical modernist office towers, branded mainly by the prominent signage.

All except four of the interwar T&G buildings still exist, and are often still landmarks in many towns and cities across Australasia.

List of T & G buildings[edit]

Interwar period

  • Australia
    • Brisbane (T & G Building, Brisbane), cnr Albert and Queen Streets, completed 1924, A&K Henderson.[9] 9th mansard level added 1936, also by A&K Henderson.[10] (demolished c1970)
    • Adelaide, cnr King William and Grenfell Streets, 1925, A&K Henderson.[11] In 2016 operating as the Quest on King William Hotel.
    • Bendigo, 31-33 View Street, 1925, A&K Henderson.[12]
    • Rockhampton, William Street, 1928, A&K Henderson.[13]
    • Melbourne, cnr Collins and Russell Street, 1929, extended 1939 to the west with new tower, and 1959 to the south, A&K Henderson.[14]
    • Sydney, cnr Elizabeth and Park Streets, north half with tower completed 1930, southern in 1932, A&K Henderson. (demolished c1976)[15]
    • Geelong (T & G Building, Geelong), Cnr Ryrie and Moorabool Street, completed 1934.[16] A&K Henderson [17]
    • Mildura, cnr Eighth and Langtree Mall, 1937, A&K Henderson. (alterations to an earlier building) [18]
    • Newcastle (T & G Mutual Life Assurance Building), cnr Hunter and Watt Streets, 1937 (addition of two floors and alterations to earlier building), A&K Henderson.[19]
    • Hobart, cnr Collins and Murray Streets, 1938, A&K Henderson.[20]
    • Horsham, cnr McLachlan and Firebrace Streets, 1940, A&K Henderson.[21][22]
    • Warrnambool, cnr Liebig and Lava Streets, 1940, A&K Henderson.[23]
    • Albury, 553 Dean Street, tower front designed by A&K Henderson added to an earlier building in 1940.[24]
    • Wagga Wagga, cnr Fitzmaurice Street and Gurwood. Possibly 1941 alteration of an earlier building.[25]
    • Townsville (T&G Building, Townsville), cnr Flinders and Stanley Streets, designed 1939, A&K Henderson.[26] Not built until well after the war, completed 1959 (demolished 2008)[27]
  • T&G Townsville, completed 1959, demolished 2008
    New Zealand
    • Christchurch, cnr Hereford and Liverpool Streets, 1926, A&K Henderson with Alsop & Martin.[28] Last known as Kenton Chambers, and demolished in 2011 following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.[29]
    • Wellington, cnr Lambton Quay and grey Street, 1928, A&K Henderson with Atkins & Mitchell as supervising architects. Now known as Harcourt's Building.[30]
    • Auckland, cnr Wellesley and Elliott Streets, 1929 alteration by A&K Henderson of a 1909 warehouse.[31]
    • Napier, cnr Marine Parade and Emerson Street, 1936, Mitchell & Mitchell architects of Wellington.[32]
    • Palmerston North, 16-22 Broadway, 1938, A&K Henderson [33]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Investment Savings and Insurance Association (ISI) New Zealand
  2. ^ State Library of Victoria: T & G (Temperance & General) Mutual Life Assurance Society Building
  3. ^ Guide to Australian Business Records
  4. ^ Commemoration Centenary & History of T&G Mutual Life Society
  5. ^ "Life Assurance: Influence of the T&G". Brisbane Courier. 10 October 1931.
  6. ^ "T&G Mutual Life Society : Continued Progress". Wellington Times (NSW). 7 January 1954.
  7. ^ Townsville City Council: T & G BUILDING
  8. ^ "T & G Buildings & Elizabeth St from Hyde Park". State Library NSW catalogue. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  9. ^ "T&G Building Final Inspection". The Daily Mail. 19 February 1924. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  10. ^ "T&G Building to have ninth storey". The Telegraph. 19 May 1936. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  11. ^ Emporis: Adelaide T&G Building
  12. ^ Butler, Graeme (1993). Eaglehawk and Bendigo Heritage Study Vol 3 Significant Areas. City of Bendigo.
  13. ^ "T&G Building Imposing Structure". Morning Bulletin. Rockhampton Morning Bulletin. 12 October 1928. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  14. ^ "141 - 165 Collins Street,, MELBOURNE VIC 3000 - Property No B3935". Victorian Heritage Database. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  15. ^ "T&G building nearing completion". Sydney Morning Herald. 19 January 1932. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  16. ^ "Geelong". The Age. 5 July 1934. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  17. ^ "T&G Society - New Building at Geelong". The Agus. 10 June 1933. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  18. ^ A&K Henderson Architectural Drawings for Mildura T&G held by the State Library of Victoria
  19. ^ "Imposing Block, Newcastle Sun". Newcastle Sun. National Library of Australia. 28 June 1937. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  20. ^ National Library of Australia: Murray St & T&G [building] from St Davids [picture] : Hobart, Tasmania
  21. ^ Horsham Heritage Study Part 1 (PDF). Horsham Rural City Council. June 2012. p. 42. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  22. ^ Image: Horsham street
  23. ^ A&K Henderson Architectural Drawings for Warrnambool T&G held by the State Library of Victoria
  24. ^ "T&G Building Albury". Search for NSW Heritage. NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  25. ^ "Building at Wagga". Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga). 14 February 1941. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  26. ^ A&K Henderson Architectural Drawings for Auckland T&G held by the State Library of Victoria
  27. ^ "T&G Building (former)". Australian Heritage Database. Australian Government. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  28. ^ A&K Henderson Architectural Drawings for Christchurch T&G held by the State Library of Victoria
  29. ^ "192 Hereford Street". Quakestudies. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  30. ^ "Australian Temperance and General Mutual Life Assurance Society Limited Head Office (Former)". Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  31. ^ A&K Henderson Architectural Drawings for Auckland T&G held by the State Library of Victoria
  32. ^ "T & G Building". Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  33. ^ "Ansett Tower (former T&G Building)". Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  34. ^ "Cargill House". ADL Properties. ADL Properties. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  35. ^ "Garden Place 1964". Hamilton City Libraries Heritage Collections. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  36. ^ "T&G Building". Territory Stories. Northern Territory Government. hdl:10070/13244. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  37. ^ "T&G Building". EMPORIS. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  38. ^ "201 Elizabeth Street". EMPORIS. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2016.


  • Shirley Thomas, T & G : yours for life : the history of T & G Mutual Life Society Limited 1876-1976, T. & G. Mutual Life Society Limited