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Notes on Building Projects
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Caution. The information on this page concerning buildings comes mainly from a speedy 'first pass' through the RCMPC records at UMA and from dipping into the Monash Papers at NLA looking for information on other themes. It is presented to indicate the nature and scope of John Monash's work in building construction. Details should be used with caution. For an overview of early development of reinforced concrete in Australia, see e.g. Lewis, M. 1988.

Bagot's Warehouse, Adelaide.

This warehouse and "grain store" for Bagot, Shakes & Lewis Ltd. was at the corner of Currie and Morphett Streets. The client was the Hon. John Lewis, the architect was Mr Claridge of Davies & Claridge, and the builders were Maddern & Sons. SARC were given the job of constructing the first floor, the roof, columns, stairs, and 2.5-inch internal walls for the warehouse only. Reflecting a growing trend, Maddern & Sons carried out some reinforced concrete work themselves elsewhere in the project. H G Jenkinson, the Resident Engineer of SARC, could not understand how clients and architects could allow this to happen. He shared Monash's conviction that only specialist firms could be entrusted with such work.

HGJ sent first details and estimates to Melbourne at the end of January 1911. Monash checked and approved them. A further estimate, with engineering calculations and an explanation of design logic, were sent in May. In June, Jenkinson reported that Maddern had told the architects his son was an engineer, and thus quite competent to carry out reinforced concrete work. HGJ continued: "Mr. Lewis has been against us from the jump", and complained: "nothing has ever been done to check him in the slightest". This was probably aimed at SARC's Directors. Soon after, Gibson remonstrated with one of them: Mr. Angas. He pointed out that two[?] directors of SARC were also directors of Bagot, Shakes & Lewis and shareholders in both companies, while Angas was an important client of BS&L. Their failure to support SARC had allowed the establishment of a rival firm with claim to expertise in reinforced concrete, and given architects the idea they could design it themselves.

As with most projects administered directly from Adelaide, the RCMPC files contain little about the progress of the work. On 12 February 1912, SARC reported that all their work on the building was finished except for the floor surfaces.


Buckley & Nunn's Warehouse

This project forms part of what is now the David Jones store in Bourke Street, Melbourne. Two units of the Edwardian Baroque style indicated in the sketch were erected side by side, the western one in 1911, and the eastern one in 1912. Two extra storeys were added to the western unit c.1929. A third building in Jazz Moderne was added to the east c.1934.

Sources: Lewis and Jacobs 1976; Storey 2004, Item 152; Lewis 2004, pp. 98, 99, 130-3.

Facade of one unit of the warehouse (line drawing). The centre panel is decorated with rusticated classical columns extending over the third and fourth storeys.The architectural practice comprised Bates, Peebles & Smart in 1911. According to our research notes the builder was A Parker, though he is given elsewhere as Albert Palmer. First computations in the RCMPC file are by P T Fairway at the end of January 1911. They resulted in a quote of £836 including the second floor and roof, the lift house, and the encasing of existing steelwork. The four drawings preserved in JTC, dating from April and May, show reinforced concrete floors supported by steel columns. In February and March, Monash looked at the design of r.c. columns on the Considère system as described in the "Wayss Handbook" (p.68 ff), perhaps hoping to convince BP&S to adopt them instead of steel.

Fairway continued his computations and liaised with Parker on the planning of the project, finding him difficult to work with. A new quotation of £1629, issued in mid-March, seems to have included r.c. columns in the facade at that level; r.c. mullions and transoms for the windows; and a small r.c. section of the first floor. This last was married to the surrounding steelwork in a manner similar to that used at Collins House. Some of the heavy beams or lintels in the facade, originally four RSJs side-by-by-side encased in concrete, were changed to reinforced concrete. An additional £94 was quoted for encasing the ground floor steel columns.

Parker accepted the second quote on 16 March, and RCMPC's first requisition for materials was issued on 5 April 1911. In May, the strength of the r.c. floor girders was increased. (They were deepened and provided with extra reinforcement.) On 18 July RCMPC reported that their work was "almost complete". At the end of that month they complained to Parker that he was imposing excessive construction loads on the new floors. The final account, for £1631, was sent to Parker on 10 November 1911.

Lewis and Jacobs state that the western half of the building (the western 'unit' as I have described it) was built first and "the eastern half followed in 1912, the contract date being 15th April 1912". The drawings in JTC, dated April and May 1911, show only one unit and the RCMPC file on which this account is based ends in November 1911, so must apply only to the western unit.

A 1956 photograph of the building in its Bourke St context is held by the State Library of Victoria, with Image No. rg001621.


Murtoa Freezing Works: Slaughterhouse.

The client for this job was the Wimmera Inland Freezing Co. The architect was Charles D'Ebro, assisted by a Mr Meldrum. The builder was T Quayle. We sighted four relevant drawings in JTC. Two are headed "Slaughterhouse" and appear to show D'Ebro's original scheme.

Longitudinal cross-section. Refer to text below.

Murtoa Slaughterhouse. D'Ebro's original scheme [?]

A reinforced concrete slab at first floor level is carried on rolled steel beams. The whole system is supported on masonry walls around the perimeter. These are 18 inches thick, with arched apertures. Two rows of steel columns provide internal support. The walls of the upper storey consist of 9-inch brick walls to mid-height and timber louvres above. The timber roof trusses are supported on metal stanchions in the wall.

P T Fairway's initial figuring was done late in January 1911. Monash added to it and prepared an estimate a fortnight later. He noted: "We have apparently an advantage of quite £250 over the Architect's amended design" and suggested tendering for the whole job with a reinforced concrete alternative, "so as to get a stronger footing". Fairway would be back [from holidays?] before 20th so there would be ample time, as tenders did not close until 27th. PTF's new computations are dated 23rd and resulted in a quote to Quayle dated 10 March for portions of the Slaughterhouse, including footings, columns, and a first floor (total £1225).

Longitudinal cross-section. Refer to text below.

Murtoa Slaughterhouse. RCMPC scheme. Roof omitted. (Shown to larger scale than D'Ebro's scheme.)

The sketch above shows the ground and first storeys, taken from a RCMPC drawing dated 24 March, drawn by J A Laing and signed by Monash as Engineer. The left hand side shows the north elevation, with haunches between columns and beams ornamentally curved. The half-wall of the upper storey is now 6-inch reinforced concrete. The right hand half of the sketch shows a part-longitudinal cross section. The main beams have triangular haunches and two joists can be seen in each bay. (The floor had a fall of 1'-0" longitudinally.)

On 17th March PTF checked the effect of wind forces acting on the roof. Because there were no walls or cross-bracing in the ground storey, the ground-floor columns would have to resist the sideways force of the wind by their bending strength alone. This problem was most serious in the lateral direction because there were only four columns to resist the wind load. This may have been the first time that RCMPC had encountered this problem, because the solution was unusual and may have been an after-thought. It took the form of very deep triangular haunches as shown in the cross-section and photo below.

Note the reinforcement in columns, beams and slabs exposed by spalling, linked to inadequate cover.

1. View from just outside the building, looking up at the underside of the first floor. Concrete cover has fallen away in patches from the underside of the slab and from the ribs. The square columns are relatively thin, and concrete has fallen from their corners. In all cases, reinforcing bars are left exposed and rusting. 2. Cross-section showing the first storey in reinforced concrete, with large haunches where beams meet columns. Above is the timber second storey with steep south-light roof.

1. View beneath floor, 2004. (Photo courtesy of Heritage Victoria.)
2. Murtoa Slaughterhouse. Lateral cross-section.

RCMPC's first requisition for materials was issued on 18 March. On 30th they quoted £83 for 18 columns to extend from the Slaughterhouse floor to the roof principals. Structural work was declared complete on 5 July, with only the finishes to be completed. A final account for £1314 was issued on 2 October 1911. An extension was added to this building in 1912.


Savings Bank, Melbourne.

Images available on the web include:
University of Melbourne, Grainger Museum: photo of J H Grainger's drawing of the facade;
Australian War Memorial: Photo ID Number H02364.

This building was in Elizabeth St, Melbourne. The architects were Grainger & Little with J H Grainger most evident. Our research notes do not record the Builder. The perimeter walls were of load-bearing masonry and most of the columns steel. In the floors, the main girders were steel and the secondary beams reinforced concrete, supporting a r.c. slab. RCMPC built floors, walls and stairs, and encased the steelwork.

P T Fairway had talks with Grainger early in January 1911. RCMPC must have sent quotes for the reinforced concrete work to builders Peters & Hetherington. On 17th, W Peters replied that they would not be tendering for the job (also that they would be doing the r.c. work on the Melbourne Hospital themselves). On 19th, the Argus carried an article headed "Tendering difficulty. Builders v. Specialists." Tenders had been called for the Savings Bank in Elizabeth St with "one company" named to do the r.c. work. The Master Builders Association "maintain that this stipulation means giving a monopoly without competition to the company for part of the construction, and involved undesirable division of control over workmen and progress of the work". The MBA had put its views to the Savings Bank Commissioners and to the architects without result, so had resolved that builders should not tender. The Argus continued: "The other side of the case is put thus: Reinforced concrete construction must, as experience has shown, be regarded as a specialty, and is recognised in America, Great Britain, and Europe as work of a kind for which, in the interests of safety, there must be scientific specialisation. The architects, knowing this, ought not to be subject to dictation, but should be able to set conditions which will provide against the consequence of possible inexperience or ignorance. Building regulations in other countries make it mandatory that this class of work is to be carried out only by firms which specialise in it. Further, it is contended that it would be anomalous to shut out, by making tenders for all or nothing, people who, in accordance with modern requirements, specialise as experts in an important department of construction work."

In 1908, RCMPC had similarly been named, by architects Bates Peebles & Smart, as sole suppliers of r.c. construction in extensions to the Melbourne Public Library. However, in February 1909 the MBA had forced BPS to call open tenders for the work. In August 1909 the MBA instructed its members not to tender for the Alliance Buildings because the architects originally specified that the successful tenderer must employ RCMPC to carry out the reinforced concrete work. The MBA's move appears to have been successful once again, as there is nothing in the RCMPC files to show that they worked on the Alliance project.

On 27th January 1911, RCMPC quoted Grainger & Little £7037 for r.c. work on the Savings Bank. This was accepted on 3 February, with RVIA Conditions of Contract to apply. Fourteen drawings have been preserved in JTC, half of them relating to stairs. The earliest shows a staircase at the north-west corner rising from the Basement through Ground to a Fifth Floor. The new, flat reinforced concrete roofs were often described as Floors at the time, so the "Fifth Floor" may have been the roof. As befitted a bank, the Ground Floor was about 32 feet high.

A drawing showing setting-out measurements locates the walls and six internal columns in the basement and ground floor. It is dated 1 June 1911 and signed Thos H Davies. A drawing for the ground and first floors is dated 12 July, and that for the second and third floors 12 December. The drawing for the roof is dated 15 May 1912. These three drawings are signed "John Monash per PTF", a practice that was becoming increasingly common as Fairway took greater responsibility for buildings. The floors are a mixture of structural steel and reinforced concrete, the main girders being concrete-encased steel and the minor ones r.c. There is a change in layout from the second floor up, the columns for the upper storeys being supported on the girders rather than placed directly over the columns of the lower storeys.

The first floor is a simple rectangle. Portions of the second and upper floors are omitted to form a void, or light well, T-shaped in plan, with the stem of the T forming a gap in the street facade. Column and beam layout is adjusted accordingly. The first floor is a simple rectangle. Portions of the second and upper floors are omitted to form a void, or light well, T-shaped in plan, with the stem of the T forming a gap in the street facade. Column and beam layout is adjusted accordingly.

Except where they intersected with the r.c. secondaries, the encasement of the main girders included a void, as shown in the vertical cross-section at left below. At right, below, is a horizontal cross-section through an encased steel column which has been formed by joining two I-sections side-by-side.

The main plate girder is encased in a "box" of concrete, leaving a void either side of the web, created by lost formwork. The column is formed from two parallel I-sections. Though the double I is encased in concrete, the void in between the webs is not filled.

The staircase climbs in three straight flights from floor to floor. In plan, the three flights form a U shape. Refer to text for more. The seven drawings preserved in JTC that relate to stairs are interesting. (A note warns that they must be read in conjunction with the architects' drawings, which I have not yet looked at.) A set dated November 1911 signed by Monash himself as Engineer, shows stairways from Ground to First Floor in the NE and SW corners of the building. They are supported by brick walls on two adjacent sides (red). At their internal corners they are supported on slender concrete-encased steel columns (shown to exaggerated scale in blue). Six flights are required to climb from Ground to First and a large landing is provided at mid-height. The flights and landings whose outer edges are not supported by brick walls have no direct vertical support.

The staircase climbs in three straight flights from floor to floor. In plan, the three flights form a U shape. Refer to text for more.A drawing dated February 1912, signed per PTF, shows the stairways above First Floor to be without columns, climbing in three flights from floor to floor. A paragraph prepared for the newspapers in September 1912 was intended to explain to the public the "apparently curious construction of stairways" which it described as "on the cantilever principle". The article assured readers that the stairs had been tested by the architects under a load of 120 pounds per square foot. The flights actually have an inclined beam (or "stringer") along their free edges, shown here in heavy black. On the third flight the treads span between two stringers, but on the first and second flights they span from stringer to wall.

There are two intriguing details. The steel columns supporting the stairway from Ground to First Floor consist of four angle-sections, riveted back-to-back at widely spaced intervals, making a star shaped cross-section. Cross-beams supporting the 'free' flights and landings have an unusual pattern of shear reinforcement that appears to be some sort of helix, reminiscent of Considère construction, which Monash had considered in January for columns in the Buckley & Nunn project.

1. Cross-section of column. 2. Reinforcement of cantilevered beam supporting landing.

1. A horizontal cross-section through the column made from four 2" × 2" × ¼" angles encased in concrete.
2. Reinforcement for one of the cantilevered stringers supporting the main landing.

Our research notes say little about the actual progress of the work, which suggests that it went smoothly. RCMPC advised on 7 August 1912 that their work should be complete within a week. The final account for £7164 was submitted on 24 September. Subsequently, some small plates were supplied to cover vents. Late in November RCMPC complained to the Clerk of Works, a Mr Hill, that the following trades had been cutting away at the stringers supporting the flights of stairs. [This suggests that understanding of reinforced concrete had not spread very far within the industry.]

Lewis 1990 lists the following entries in the journal Building: Aug 1910, p.37 (competition); Sep 1910, pp.64-5; Jan 1911, pp.13 and 45; May 1935, pp.22-24 (photo).


Herald & Weekly Times Building, Roof.

The architects for this building, at the corner of Flinders St and Collins Place, were Grainger & Little. Their main consultant for the structure was H V Champion, but in February 1911, Fairway prepared a scheme for a "fireproof" reinforced concrete south-light roof. He sent the architects a drawing showing the loads resulting from this roof, so that design of the steel structure of the building itself could be carried out. Monash made further computations and an estimate, and a quote of £1665 was included for construction of the roof by "portable [precast] manufacture and subsequent hoisting and placing of the several parts into their final position". It appears that this scheme was not adopted. At the end of May a separate quote was submitted for very small precast roof plates described as 26 inches wide, 22 inches in span, and 2" thick. Delivery commenced in mid-September 1911. (All correspondence was left in RCMPC's "Quotation File".)


Amalgamated Pictures Theatre, Flinders St (portion).

This project, the Amalgamated Pictures Theatre in Flinders St, Melbourne, appears in our research notes as a single item found in RCMPC's Quotation Files. This is a memo written by Monash on 20 February 1911, headed "Mr Foster, Architect". It states inter alia: "He also mentions the picture theatre which he contemplates building in concrete. The only point discussed was as to gallery, which would have a clear span of nearly 50 ft as he desires to have no supporting columns to block the view of the spectators sitting under the gallery."

There are five relevant drawings in JTC. These seem to show a portion of the theatre, very roughly equivalent to a square of 60 feet enclosing relatively small rooms and stairways. The surrounding walls are load-bearing masonry, as are some of the internal walls. There are two reinforced concrete columns with spread footings. The earliest drawing, dated 28 December 1911 shows the columns and footings, and the layout and reinforcement of the ground floor beams. Two from January 1912, show similar information for the first and second floors. Another shows "girders over [the] concrete walls" and reveals there were steel beams in the second floor. The last drawing, from June 1912, shows the main stairs in reinforced concrete. As stated previously, Monash invested a minimum of design effort in projects until he was sure they would go ahead. The existence of working drawings prepared over this period of time is a strong indication that the job proceeded. However, there is no dedicated project file in the RCMPC archives at UMA.

It must have been at this time that Monash first considered the problem of supporting the balcony in cinemas and theatres without introducing columns to prop the front edge. A E Lynch mentioned his skill in this regard when JM was asked for advice in the 1930s concerning the balcony of Burley Griffin's Capitol Cinema in Melbourne, well after JM had left RCMPC and taken over the SECV (Thompson, 1952).

Bank of New South Wales.

Records in UMA and JTC present a mystery in relation to this project, at the corner of Flinders and King Streets, Melbourne. RCMPC's Quotation Files contain copies of extracts from the specification prepared by architects Godfrey & Spowers. These specify expanded metal reinforcement for concrete floors supported on rolled steel joists (also "steel trolly rails" to reinforce the Strong Room). JTC contains lateral and longitudinal sections of the whole building, and plans for the basement, ground and first floors, and roof. These were "Traced from Architect's drawings 18.3.1911" and are initialled "EJG" - probably Eric J L Gibson, John Gibson's son, who worked in the RCMPC office for twelve months.

A reference dated 27 July 1911 states that Eric J. L. Gibson had been a member of Monash's professional staff for the past 12 months in the capacity of junior engineering drawing office assistant, and had acquired experience in the preparation of designs and in supervision of works under construction - chiefly in reinforced concrete. He was diligent and enterprising and gave promise of satisfactory development in his profession.

In April 1911 RCMPC submitted a quote to carry out the work entirely in reinforced concrete (the Strong Room being conventionally reinforced) and this was accepted. A RCMPC drawing dated 9 June shows plans of the Ground and First Floors, with details of the main and secondary girders, and footing and column details. It is initialled by J A Laing and signed by Monash as Engineer. This indicates that the project was expected to go ahead, because JM avoided preparing detailed drawings until the contract for a project was secure. However, there is no project file in UMA relating to the Bank, and what documentation there is, has remained in the Quotation Files. It seems that something went wrong. [I have not yet looked elsewhere to find out what happened.]

Gippsland & Northern Co-op Offices

Line drawing of facade. No ornament is shown. Strong horizontals are established by the parapet and by the spandrels beneath three rows of windows. Broken vertical lines are established by plain strips at each side and at the centre.This project was for new offices and stores for the Gippsland and Northern Co-operative Selling Co. Ltd. The architects were Grainger & Little. It was a long, narrow building, 42 × 107 feet, fronting Flinders Lane, between Geddes Lane and Robbs Lane. There was a basement, ground, first and second floors and roof. The perimeter walls were of reinforced concrete with engaged r.c. columns. There was a single row of r.c. columns down the middle, giving a grid of 3 by 9. At pavement level, the facade had low windows to admit light to the basement, interspersed with panels faced with trachyte. Above this, the ground floor facade was faced with marble. The upper floor facades were simply rendered.

The RCMPC project file in UMA is headed "Gippsland Butter Factory".

This appears to be another project in which RCMPC were moving into the role of master builders. Excavation was by G E Watts. The electrical contractor was J L Newbigin. The first document in the project file is a rough sketch "per Mr. Grainger", dated 14 February 1911, that shows two rows of columns, giving spans of 10, 14 and 12 feet across the width of the building. A bundle of computations by Monash, complete with specification, has a note attached: "This whole file rejected as both site and shape of building are completely altered. JM 23/02/11". In March RCMPC was in contact with a number of general contractors. In April the architects produced drawings and a specification for the new scheme, showing steelwork. They called tenders on 18th. Monash set to work preparing an estimate for a reinforced concrete alternative. P T Fairway informed him that, having had "a Saturday evening free", he had taken the file home and "sorted out the problems in the Schedule".

A tender for £7486 was submitted and accepted. JM prepared one of his "Agendas" listing action to be taken to get the project started. Watts was informed on 12 May that the site was in possession and told to get started on the excavation. RCMPC's first requisition for materials was issued the next day.

Grainger & Little must have been worried about the thickness of the floor slabs as designed, but JM or PTF assured them that the thickness had been increased from the "necessary" 2.75 inches (70mm) to 3 inches (76mm) and that stresses were only 8700 psi on the steel and 445 psi on the concrete. The slabs were designed for a live load of 1.5 cwt per square foot (168psf) and spanned 5 feet between joists (or "ribs").

In October RCMPC informed G&L that there was a hold up with the facade as no skilled men could be found for the task in Melbourne. (The thickness of the marble facing is not dimensioned on the drawings in JTC, but scales at less than 2 inches.) On 9 November 1911, work was declared substantially complete, apart from the facade. However, a requisition was issued as late as 26 February 1912. The final account, for £7694, was issued on 24 May. Disputes over minor matters continued until December.

A Mr Atherton, to whom one letter was directed, may have been RCMPC's foreman for this project, but Frederick Bloom was also on site.

Factory foundations near Steam Ferry.

Mr Forster, the architect who approached Monash about the Amalgamated Pictures Theatre, also asked him about foundations for proposed factory buildings near [the?] Steam Ferry, "opposite Spencer St, in South Melbourne". JM's notes on the meeting record that the ground was very bad, so the clients wanted to put up galvanised iron buildings. The South Melbourne Building Surveyor was insisting they be brick. The clients were worried that damage would occur due to subsidence, but their lease was for only 21 years, so they did not care what happened after that. JM explained to Forster how strip foundations in the form of inverted T-beams could be used. [This note remained in RCMPC's Quotation Files.]

Perryman & Co. Adelaide.

This was a small shop for Perryman & Co., Jewellers, in King William St, Adelaide, next door to Jackman's Cafe. It was handled entirely from the Adelaide office. H G Jenkinson advised on 17 March 1911 that the contract had been signed and that he was obtaining "bulk steel" locally. On 1 July he advised that the job was almost complete.

Dennys Lascelles Austin Woolstore. Fairway's observations.

On 25 March 1911, Fairway made a visit to the site of the Dennys Lascelles Austin woolstore, under construction in Geelong by RCMPC's rival Edward G Stone of Stone & Siddeley. He made detailed notes and sketches on this remarkable structure and probably at the same time took the photographs now in the RCMPC Collection at UMA (see details below). His comments were generally complimentary, though he noted some problems.

Sketch of a main beam supported by two columns 26 feet apart. Diagonal cracking is indicated, approximately at quarter span, suggesting 'shear' failure. The sketch includes a cross-section of the ribbed r.c. floor.

Sketch from PTF's notes. (The figure 22 is the RCMPC file number.)
University of Melbourne Archives, Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Co. Collection.

"Many of the main Girders are cracked - 1st Floor. Not nearly so many on Ground Floor. About 6 or 8 main Girders have wooden props under them. No cracks elsewhere except thermal cracks on floor. Timbering has been particularly good and the work has stripped beautifully - a very wet mixture having been used throughout. The timbering might almost be called joiners' work. Apparently only a small amount of timber on the works considering the scope of same. Many ingenious devices for bar bending, cutting, &c and the forms for portable [precast] work are particularly well made, the plates &c having a smooth face with the appearance of wet cement. Concrete throughout is very rich - certainly better than 1:2:3 and only toppings sand has been used in the tile plates. Every part of the work shows extreme care in execution and labor costs must certainly have been double our ordinary costs for similar work. Panels &[?] walls are constructed portably [precast] and put in subsequent to building columns and girders."

Another sketch shows a precast wall panel in position containing a complete window. The panel had been "Made on platform on floor, rendered and finished with all moulds &c and then raised into position and fixed with bolts". PTF's sketch of the floor plan shows a building 182 × 185 feet with six reinforced concrete roof trusses running in the longer direction. The floors have main beams spanning 26 ft and secondaries spanning 15 ft.

The floor plate was 6 inches thick, with 3/8" reinforcing rods spaced at 12" in both directions. The main girders were about 14" × 16" (dimensions measured below the slab) reinforced by 5 bars 1 1/8" in diameter. The secondaries were about 10" × 13" (below slab) with 4 bars of 5/8" diameter. Additional Considère columns were being inserted either side of the supports for the main (trussed) roof girders.

Fairway continues: "Whole roof construction is made portable except main Girders. Commenced March 1910. Main Girders (roof) are still in course of construction but the whole of the portable frames and tile plates - balance of roof construction - are in position and held up by wooden props, the ends of frames projecting so as to be concreted into main Girders. Wool Sales have already been held on this upper floor and the roof although unfinished appears to be watertight."

Images of the Woolstore

Most of the photographs that were probably taken by Fairway may be seen in the University of Melbourne Archives Image Collection UMAIC. Search under Record ID for UMA/I/6403 to UMA/I/6406. Any enquiries to UMA regarding these images should quote Location Numbers BWP/23927, 23929, 23930 and 23931 respectively. Another internal view exists as BWP/23928.

Two views of the external walls under construction, taken from outside the building, have numbers BWP/23932 and 23933. These are badly faded and appear very grainy when constrast is enhanced. They may have been taken from screened originals.

For general views of the Woolstore see, e.g. Lewis 1988, cover photo and pp.18-21.

Malt House Floors (bid).

This malt house in West Melbourne was about 105 feet long and 40 wide. Contractor J Timmins & Son asked RCMPC to contact Architect Stapley who had prepared his own structural scheme. This had two rows of cast iron columns in the longitudinal direction supporting rolled steel joists. The beams carried a concrete floor reinforced in 'catenary' fashion with Indented Steel bars.

The floor slab is supported by steel I beams at regular intervals. The tops of the beams are just below the top surface of the slab. Reinforcing bars for the slab run at right angles to the beams. They are bent so that they run near the bottom of the slab at mid-span, but slope up gradually as they approach the beams, to pass over their top flanges.

The RSJ was 8" × 4" and the slab 4.5" thick. The 'catenary' bars were 0.5 inch diameter at 6.5 inch centres. Parallel to the RSJ were 0.5" bars at 24" centres.

RCMPC made an estimate of the strength of the floor as detailed by Stapley, and then prepared a rough design in their own style. They wrote to Timmins: "We find … that the design and method of construction is so different from our own methods that we are quite unable to give you a quotation for carrying out the work" [as specified]. However, Fairway had had a talk with Stapley "and he suggested that some amendment may possibly be made after the tenders are closed". They therefore quoted Timmins the cost of a RCMPC solution. There is no evidence that this bid was successful.

(Our research notes have the architect's initial as "W". I need to double check whether this was Frank W Stapley.)

Commonwealth Offices, Melbourne. (Bid.)

This project, for offices in Treasury Gardens, Melbourne was under the direction of Thomas Hill, "Works Director, Victoria" for the Dept. of Home Affairs, Commonwealth of Australia. RCMPC staff met with him and a Mr MacKennal on 1 May 1911. On 11 June they submitted a tender for £4370 for all columns, floors and roof, stairs, lintels, etc. Most of the work was done by Fairway.

News then broke that the Offices were to be built by 'day labour', with the Department supervising construction, cutting out the private sector contractors. Monash raised the matter with Senator McColl, saying he would prefer not to have his name mentioned; but the cost by day labour would be much more than the £4370 tendered by RCMPC. A filed copy of page 44 of the Journals of the Senate, No.10, shows that McColl did raise the question on 26 July. Late in August McColl sent Monash a copy of the Department's return concerning the costs of the project and its history.

For engineers. The tender was to the following specification:

Shear in r.c. beams was analysed as a horizontal shear on the cross-sectional area of the stirrups.

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