National Mutual Building
The National Mutual Building was built between 1891 and 1895. Originally the head office of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the USA, this building was designed by the Society's chief architect, Edward Raht, in the early Romanesque style. On completion the building was said to have surpassed anything that had ever been attempted in the Australian colonies. Raht designed the building around a central light well containing a grant staircase with a balustrade of Belgian marble. The light well area is roofed by a magnificent stained glass ceiling and once housed two open cage lifts. during world War II the ceiling was temporarily dismantled and stored in the building's basement. At this time, part of the basement was converted for use as an air raid shelter. A handsome vestibule, with walls faced in Italian marble, provides stair access to the upper floors. On the fifth level there is a grandly decorated room that was once a banqueting hall. The building was extensively restored during the 1980s.
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