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Notes on Building Projects
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Note. 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.

Gender's Building, Adelaide

Brief correspondence in RCMPC's "South Australia" file shows this to have had four r.c. floors 87 by 52 feet in plan, supported on steel columns erected by SARC. A contract for £2550 was signed on 13 April 1911. All concreting was finished by 5 August, and SARC pulled out early in September, leaving a subcontractor to finish the "plastering".

Malcolm Reid Warehouse, Adelaide (project)

This proposal was for a furniture warehouse for the South Australia Company, whose manager was a Mr Moore. The initial query came to SARC through architect C H Marryat. (H G Jenkinson warned Monash that Charles Moore, just arrived from England, was not to be confused with the Charles Moore who was connected with the Charles M Reid Stores in Melbourne.)

On 10 April 1911, Jenkinson sent his computations and estimate to Monash for approval. The arithmetic was checked by A A Hargrave, recruited to SARC the previous year. In July, HGJ reported a "chat" with Malcolm Reid whose sons were in the timber business in Adelaide and had suggested it might "conduce to a friendly feeling" if SARC ordered their timber from them. HGJ thought it would be wise to do so, "though their prices work out about 12 per cent or more higher than Melbourne". In September 1911, HGJ reported that the S A Company was likely to sell the land proposed for the warehouse because of land tax.

"Miss Neville's Warehouse"

This project, for Miss Margaret Neville of the Mutual Manufacturing Co, was to be situated in Flinders Lane. Also described as a factory, it was to have a basement and three floors. The architect was Mr A W Parnell "recently arrived in Melbourne". In February 1911, a Mr Secull called at the RCMPC office to say that his father was tendering for the job and wanted a quote for minor reinforced concrete work (stairs, landings, etc). In March, Miss Neville herself called in and told P T Fairway that she wanted to build in reinforced concrete. She had seen Mitchell's Buildings and Sniders & Abrahams'. Fairway noted in his memorandum: "I showed her photos of McCrackens and fully described this, Stuarts and other of our buildings … I fully discussed our methods and I think quite convinced her that trouble would result from day labor methods (such as Mr Crawford at Sniders)".

The Sniders & Abrahams Building was designed and built by RCMPC's rival H R Crawford (Lewis, 1988, p.17).

In May, another caller was Mr Davis of R McDonald's, the builder. If RCMPC would provide a tender for their amended design, McDonald would embody it in his tender and pass over all reinforced concrete work to RCMPC. However, Monash and Gibson were already thinking of moving RCMPC into the role of master builder. PTF recorded: "I went into the matter very fully with Mr Davis and explained that unless he was keen on obtaining the work, it would not be of advantage to us to cooperate with him as against submitting a tender ourselves for the whole of the work. Mr Davis said that he was very keen on securing the work for various reasons, and we can rely on his price submitted with ours being cut as finely as possible." PTF then agreed to cooperate, and promised that if RCMPC were "obliged to quote to other contractors" they would ensure that Davis had a 10 per cent advantage. Fairway did the figuring for this project and a tender for £7315 was submitted on 30 May. However, there is no evidence in RCMPC's records that they got the job.

The brief documentation for this project was found in three RCMPC files. One has the architect's name as Purnell.

APM Broadford

This job, for Australian Paper Mills, was relatively routine. Drawings in JTC show much slab-on-ground and some suspended floor surrounding heavy machinery. The suspended slab was supported on walls (probably brick) and rolled steel joists. RCMPC's tender was accepted by Austral Otis on 19 April 1911. The foreman was J L Cleary. The final account, for £328, was submitted on 2 September.

Melbourne Co-operative Brewery Strong Room

A drawing in JTC shows this as a reinforced concrete box added to what looks like a suburban house. The vault has internal measurements 12 × 12 feet in plan and a height of 9 feet. Its top, bottom and sides are reinforced with grids of plain bars. The 'house' sits fairly high, and the sides of the box are taken down to strip footings just below ground surface. Minimal documentation shows the address was Bent St, Abbotsford, and the final account was for £295.

Refer to text. Refer to text.

Foster Butter Factory

RCMPC's Quotation Files contain computations by P T Fairway for foundations, walls, columns, and floor slabs, and a quote to architects Grainger & Little dated 26 April 1911. We found no other information on this project.

Chicago Cube Mixer trial

In May 1911, H G Jenkinson reported to Monash the results of trials in Adelaide made on a Chicago Cube Mixer. The "cube" held 6 cubic feet of concrete and turned out 120 c.ft. per hour "going full time". By the hand method, five men could mix 350 c.ft. per day. Wages were 9/- per day, so the cost was about 1.5 pence per c.ft. Machine mixing gave 960 c.ft. per day, with one attendant and two labourers feeding it, thus costing 0.4 pence per c.ft. Further, it allowed more efficient use of hoisting gear. HGJ noted that the concrete was better mixed and stripped better. However, where the volume of concrete on the job was not great and the formwork was complex, the benefit would not be evident. Monash agreed with this conclusion and added "We intend to procure one of these mixers for our Melbourne works".

HGJ presumably meant that the timber formwork separated from the hardened concrete more easily and cleanly, and that the appearance of the surface was better.
Imperial units and money.

Menz's Floors, Adelaide

This was a job in Adelaide for architect Dancker. In May 1911, H G Jenkinson sent his estimate to Monash for checking and approval. JM replied that he had had a bit more time than usual to look at the proposal and thought HGJ should take the opportunity to "get into a new [architect's] office" by cutting the price back. He suggested ways in which this could be done.

SARC several times took jobs at or near cost price in order to establish a relationship with a flourishing or promising architect. This may have been because they never enjoyed an effective monopoly in South Australia of the sort Monash had been able to maintain in Victoria until c1909. (SARC's policy may not have returned the dividends they hoped for.)

Jenkinson admitted that his price was on the high side, "and intentionally so, because I am always a little nervous about the panning out of little jobs". He did not think it could be reduced to the extent that JM claimed. Dancker, he added: "is an old established steady going gentleman who has a good practice in better class residences, and thinks wonders can be done with brick in cement". He suspected that the idea of using reinforced concrete had come from the proprietors, and did not see much prospect of further work from Dancker. In fact, the quote of £400 was accepted in July 1911. SARC's work commenced on 23 April 1912 and all concreting was declared finished on 10 June.

Centre Way Arcade, Melbourne

Facade of Centre Way Arcade. Above the street canopy, the vertical edges are defined by a continuous "bay window& effect. The first floor facade includes a wide ornamental arch. Above this, the centre panel has a grid pattern formed by three pillars and three rows of spandrels. The top floor has a continuous balcony with corbels, and this theme is repeated in the projecting roof line.The architects for this building, at 259-263 Collins St, were H W & F B Tompkins, with HWT active. The Builder was Clements Langford. Monash's initial notes on the project are dated 1 May 1911. He advised the architects to adopt a design floor live load of 112 pounds per square foot (5.36kPa) because of previous battles with Building Surveyor Morton over design loads for offices. P T Fairway prepared the detailed calculations in June, and Langford accepted a quote of £4899 for the reinforced concrete work: six floors, the roof, stairs, and some partitions. Little information on this building is preserved in the RCMPC records. Requisition for materials No.1 was issued on 15 August, and No.5 in January 1912. There is only one drawing in JTC, showing a small flight of r.c. stairs suspended between a brick wall and a concrete-encased steel floor beam.


Cannon's Factory

This was a "factory", about 80 × 57 feet in plan, in Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne, for Messrs Cannon and Blunden. The architect was R. Schreiber. The external walls were load-bearing masonry and the first floor was of reinforced concrete, supported by 12 internal r.c. columns on spread footings. RCMCP sent quotes of £396-12-0 to a list of Builders provided by Schreiber. The general contract was won by J D McBride in May 1911, and RCMPC agreed to do the r.c. work for £350 "if given a clear run". The working drawing was initialled by J A Laing as draughtsman and signed by JM as Engineer on 20 June. On 28 August, RCMPC announced that all work was complete except for stripping. The final account, sent to McBride on 20 September, was for £350 plus £38 for an increased design live load [imposed by Morton?], £21 for lintels, and £5-17-3 for hire of a hoist.

Butter Factory, Toora

The RCMPC Quotation Files contain a test report on a sample of aggregate submitted by architect Little, but nothing else.

Trafalgar Co-operative Butter & Cheese Factory

This job involved three suspended floors about 21 × 21 feet in plan, supported on brick walls and rolled steel joists. The Co-operative's manager was a Mr Stoner. RCMPC received an enquiry from architects Grainger & Little in June 1911 and quoted £187 for the lot, or £66 per floor. On 17 July, the Co-op ordered one floor only. Materials were organised immediately and work proceeded under J C Stevens as foreman. A final statement for £69-10-2 was issued on 15 August 1911.

On 18 June 1912, the Co-op asked for two more floors. RCMPC quoted £126, saying they were trying to keep the cost down despite increases in the prices of materials and labour. There was some haggling, and RCMPC reduced the price to £100 by reducing the design live load and finishes, and the size of the floor. On 26 July, Stoner announced he was satisfied with the price but that it was now too late in the season to proceed. He also had doubts whether the building was strong enough to cope with the additional weight of construction. However, on 17 August he announced he had had advice that the building was strong enough.

Judging by our research notes, there is nothing in the RCMPC file to indicate where the doubts and subsequent reassurance came from.

Work reports were sent from M R Stuart who was probably foreman. The final statement was issued on 1 October 1912. RCMPC received the £100, but there was further haggling over extras they claimed. There is no sign that they were successful.

British Australasian Tobacco Co Additions

Additions to the BATC factory at the north end of Melbourne, grouped by me under this heading, are a roof over the Philadelphia Dryers (and possibly the floor to support them), Pantries and a Strong Room. The architect was again F J Davies.

BATC Dryers Floor

A quote of £265 for a partial floor under the dryers was submitted in December 1910. However, it was decided to build a larger area, leading to a fresh quote of £494 in June 1911. There is no further information in our research notes or JTC about this floor.

BATC Dryers Roof

The roof of the Dryers area was designed by Fairway. It was a 4 inch slab supported on beams spanning about 42 feet clear and spaced at 8 foot centres. They had short haunches and were cranked at mid-span (exaggerated in the sketch below) to form a ridge and so drain rainwater to the edges.

RCMPC quoted £585 for the roof on 6 July 1911. The first requisition for materials was issued on 8 December. Soon after, Davies wrote to Monash regarding a request for double shifts, presumably emanating from BATC. On 19th JM replied: "It is to be observed at the outset that labor conditions are at the present juncture extremely difficult and delicate, and it is impossible for any contractor to enter into definite undertakings of this nature, because he is compelled to conform his programme more to suit the demands of the workmen than to meet the actual needs of the situation". Despite this, JM hoped to organise two daylight shifts. He continued: "It is practically certain, however, that the men will not consent to work outside of normal working hours unless either they be paid overtime for all work during unusual hours, or be paid as for a full eight hours shift for the somewhat shortened shifts that would have to be introduced". The final account for the roof was issued on 30 January 1912.

Refer to text below.

Technical Notes on Dryers Roof

The single drawing preserved in JTC is difficult to interpret out of context, but suggests the roof sat on masonry piers projecting up from the 18 inch load-bearing walls of lower stories. The longitudinal edges of the roof are formed by deep beams 9" × 40". It seems that these were reinforced to span between the piers, and that the 9 inch brick wall beneath them was infill rather than load-bearing. The layout plan shows piers under the ends of every second roof beam. This would mean that the edge beam had spans of about 16 feet, and carried an intermediate roof beam at the centre of each span. Its depth and reinforcement appear commensurate with this task. However, in the reinforcement detail, a "centreline" of span is shown at a distance of only 8 feet from the adjacent pier, implying a pier for every roof beam. The drawing was prepared by F H Foster and signed by PTF as Engineer on behalf of Monash. Initially, the roof beams were to be 12 inches wide and 24 inches deep, with 8 bars of 11/8 inch diameter. However, in December they were redesigned and became 28 inches deep with 3 bars of 1 inch dia. and 6 of 11/8 inch.

BATC Pantry

The BATC factory must have been a wonder to behold. Additional space was created as needed by perching new rooms on top of existing buildings. The Pantry, adjacent to Havelock Place, can be envisaged as a concrete box perched at fifth floor level, except that one of its shorter sides was formed by an existing masonry wall, and one of its longitudinal sides by areas of existing brick and new concrete wall.

Elevation showing the pantry perched above the triangular roof line of the original building. Cross-section showing the way in which the r.c. walls formed a continuation upwards of existing, projecting, masonry walls.

The cross section at right above is taken looking from the right-hand end of the elevation. The end wall nearest the viewer (not shown in the section) was existing brick. The shaded T-shape is the cross-section of a girder 6'-6" deep forming one long wall of the Pantry. At its near end it is supported by the masonry cross-wall. At its far end it sits on a 12" × 12" r.c. column which supports that corner of the 'box'. At its base, the column is built into an existing brick wall indicated by the lowest horizontal line on the cross-section.

The flange of the T-girder is 3 feet wide and the web 12" thick.

The floor of the Pantry is ribbed. Its left-hand side (in the section) is supported by the T-girder and its right-hand side is built into the brick wall. The Pantry roof is supported at left on a r.c. wall with windows, and at right by a low r.c. wall sitting on top of a masonry wall. The roof has a parapet about 2 feet high and 4" thick.

The elevation shows the roofscape, with the pantry structure perched above the level of a pitched roof. At right is the brick cross-wall supporting one end of the T-girder. At left is the 12" column and its supporting brick wall. Windows can be seen in the front wall above the T-girder. The dashed line shows the top of the rear (brick) wall, which varies in height. Dotted lines indicate the approximate levels of roof and floor. The drawing indicates that they are "to be fixed on site", an increasingly common practice with RCMPC.

The structural drawing for the Pantry was prepared by J A Laing and signed by P T Fairway as Engineer on 28 July 1911. RCMPC's final statement was issued on 21 November for £284.

Refer to caption.

As P T Fairway took increasing responsibility for the engineering design of buildings, it became more common to see drawings signed "John Monash per PTF". Fairway continued to use this formula at least as late as 1916, when Monash was overseas at the war. (Compare with JM's signature.)

BATC Strong Room.

This was the usual r.c. box, with plan area about 10 × 8 feet divided into two rooms. However, most of the surfaces consisted of two leaves 5 inches thick separated by an "airspace" of 1.5 inches. The airspace was to be formed by leaving the formwork in place. One side was against an existing brick wall and the floor was on an existing r.c. slab. For these surfaces only one leaf was added. The drawing was signed on 28 September 1911 and the account for £99-10-0 is dated 14 December.

Other BATC projects

RCMPC's previous project for BATC was the Stewart St Block 1909-11. Their next project involved another vertical extension 1912-13.


Noye's Strong Room

This is included as a reminder of the many strong rooms built by RCMPC. Most of them were not considered worthy of a separate project file, so documentation usually remained in the Quotation Files. Only a representative sample have been noted during our research. This one was a box two storeys high, providing strong rooms at ground and first floor level. It was inserted into what looks like a conventional warehouse with brick walls, timber floors, and a timber truss roof. It is known only from a drawing in JTC dated 25 July 1911.

Queensland House

This building, for the Queensland Insurance Co, is at 84-88 William St, Melbourne. The architects were Butler & Bradshaw and the Builder A G Plowman. Drawings in JTC show it as having a basement, ground and six upper floors, with flat concrete roof. Light-wells are cut into the rectangular block of the building (from the longitudial sides) above first floor level. The load-bearing structure is almost entirely of reinforced concrete, about 48 feet wide and 117 feet long. The drawings show reinforced concrete walls on the sides and rear. The William St facade is to be infilled with masonry and incorporates an entrance porch two storeys high. The basic column layout changes above first floor level. In the basement and ground floor, pairs of columns straddle the longitudinal centreline (diagram below). In the upper floors there is only a single line of columns in the middle. To make the transition, the structural system of the first floor includes steel beams spanning the pairs of columns to carry the central column of the floors above.

RCMPC used steel in situations like this where shear forces were high. See below for more detail.

1. Facade of Queensland House. A massive arch, two storeys high, frames the entrance, with large windows either side. Next comes the line of a full-width balcony. Above this, bow windows over four storeys mark the edges of the facade. Between them is a simple grid of plain windows. The top floor facade has no bows, but its four large windows are deeply recessed. Above this is a decorated cornice. 2. Plan of Ground Floor. Plan of Upper Floors. Refer to text above for details.

1. Facade of Queensland House (c.2010).
2. Plans of Ground and Upper Floors.

According to our research notes, the earliest documents in the file are calculations made by P T Fairway in July 1911. At a meeting later that month, Butler expressed horror at the proposed depth of the floor beams. Monash pointed out that this was because the architects had ruled out the use of secondary beams running at right angles to the main ones. It was agreed that secondary beams could now be used. JM's notes continue: "Mr. Butler said he was not at all disposed to hand over to the Quantity Surveyor all the valuable data we had disclosed to him" and the QS was to be given only the percentages of steel in proportion to concrete. At Monash's suggestion, it was agreed to leave the alteration of floor system until after tenders had closed. JM noted: "This obviously gives us a grand chance for making all the alterations in design that we can possibly require or desire, without any suspicion."

Possible reasons for the above are (1) that JM was keen to preserve confidentiality regarding the future RCMPC design, (2) that the engineers would be free to organise the structure on engineering rather than architectural principles, (3) that competitors would set their price by the less economical design.

More computations were made by Fairway and J A Laing in August. Letters of tender for £9957 were sent out on 6 September to the three builders most likely to win the overall contract: Plowman; McKnockiter; and Lockington & Sinclair. Fairway summarised the latest news in a memorandum to Monash, who was heading for the Western District (of Victoria). Mr. Lockington had called in and promised to subcontract the concrete work to RCMPC. Lockington had "been approached by the Permasite people (Innes & Co.) but laughed at the idea of considering a quotation from them". Butler had told Fairway that RCMPC's new rival E G Stone had borrowed the drawings and intended to submit a similar tender for the concrete work. "I told Mr. Butler a few facts about their methods of work &c., and also pointed out the many advantages that both he and his clients would gain by adopting the amended designs proposed by us". Butler had "readily agreed" and told PTF that he "had done all he could to prevent Stone and the Contractors coming together, that he hoped Stone's tender, if received, would not be the lowest, and also that he was prepared to do everything in his power to secure the acceptance of our tender instead of anybody else's". PTF was confident that Butler meant what he said "as he seems to realise that he has placed himself in such a position in respect to this work that he will find himself in very serious difficulties without our help in the execution". PTF had discussed the matter with Gibson "and he decided that no alteration of quotations need be made, any adjustment of figures being left for consideration in connection with the making up of our own tender on Friday morning". He continued: "Mr. Butler laughed when I told him that Mr. Wright proposed carrying the work out himself, and said that he would require very solid guarantees and assurances from any one but ourselves before he would allow any contract to be signed".

Our research notes show that a reduced tender, for £8961, was submitted on 9 October; but contain no explanation for the change. The first working drawings were produced soon after, and the first requisition for materials was issued on 27th. The production of drawings continued steadily. Most of them are signed by Fairway as Engineer.

There were the usual problems of mutual interference on the job, with a Builder perhaps unused to working with a reinforced concrete specialist subcontractor, and a separate team of masons at work on the facade. A large bundle of correspondence was generated on this issue. In February 1912, Fairway, Plowman, Alex Lynch (RCMPC Works Manager) and a Mr Wright (managing the masonry) met to try to improve matters.

Requisition 18, probably the last, was issued in June 1912, and the "final" account on 1 October 1912 for £8736. This must have resulted in negotiations, because Fairway produced a brief history of the project detailing cases of interference between Plowman and RCMPC. An account for "sundry items" was submitted on 7 January 1913.

In April 1913, Gibson mentioned to Butler that he had been "shaking up" Plowman to get the money [presumably that associated with the claims of interference]. Butler replied that Plowman "somewhat resented the tone" of RCMPC's letter. Gibson had explained that "the tone of our letter need not cause any resentment, as it was a purely business communication, and contained nothing personal". In July 1914, Fairway wrote to Plowman at Sassafras to ask if he could call in re the Queensland Building when next in town.

Integration of Structural Steelwork in Queensland House.

Monash adopted the principle that steel should never be used in RCMPC structures if reinforced concrete could do the job. Exceptions occurred when architectural requirements called for relatively long spans or, as in this case, when unusually high shear forces were to be carried. There is some curiosity value in the techniques that were used to marry the two forms of construction.

Typical transition from steel to concrete in vertical support system, explained in text below.

The schematic above shows a pair of r.c. columns rising from foundation to first floor level. At this point they are bridged by two RSJs 24" × 7.5" attached side-by-side and 9 feet long. For some reason (possibly to suit the construction schedule) the single column they support is also of steel, rising to just above third floor level. At this point it is capped by a horizontal plate and supports a reinforced concrete column that rises through the rest of the building.

Cross-section through upper, reinforced concrete column. Detail at third floor level (elevation). The top of the lower, steel column is furnished with concealed steel brackets to carry the adjoining reinforced concrete floor beams. It also has a cap plate to support the reinforced concrete column that carries on into the upper floors. Cross-section through lower, steel column (encased in concrete).

The three sketches above show the detail at third floor level. The main sketch shows an elevation of the steelwork at the junction of column and floor. The outline of the main floor beams is indicated by horizontal green lines. The dashed green line shows the level of the underside of the floor slab. Notes on the RCMPC drawing give details of the way the beam reinforcement is to be directed either side of the steel column, or stopped against its face, bent to form 'cogs'. The four holes at slab level are presumably to allow the reinforcing bars of the secondary beams to pass through. The cap plate has holes to allow eight bolts, each 2 feet long, to pass through it. These functioned as 'starter bars' for the r.c. column above. The column itself is a 10" × 8" I-section with cover plates (concrete encased).

Other examples of the use of steel occurred at Collins House and the Melbourne Savings Bank. I do not know how successful these techniques have proved.

General Reference. Building, Jan 1912 pp.67-9, including sketch and plans. [AAI.]

Stuart's Foundations

This project, presumably in Adelaide, is known to us only through brief reports from SARC. H G Jenkinson advised Monash on 29 July 1911 that a quote of £191 had been accepted. Work was complete by 26 August.

Wesley Strong Room

This project, possibly at Wesley College, Melbourne, is known to us only through a drawing in JTC dated 3 July 1911. It shows a reinforced concrete box on strip footings with internal dimensions 10'-9" by 9 feet in plan and 10 feet high. The drawing is intialled by J A Laing and signed by Fairway as Engineer on behalf of Monash. The strong room is shown opposite the door of Mr Gill's office and the existing strong room. Details of finishes are to be finalised with a Mr Derrick on site.

Battery House, City of Melbourne (tender)

This project was a battery house for the City of Melbourne Electric Supply Department, to be located either in Russell Place or Heffernan Lane. The Department had evidently called tenders based on its own design. In July 1911, Fairway produced a complete redesign of the building, including the omission of one storey! The "Agenda", which set out the steps to be followed in the design process, was started by Fairway but completed by Monash. The tender makes the following comparisons:

  ESD designRCMPC design
Russell Place Site£9396£8898
Heffernan Lane Site£9316£8826

Swallow & Ariel's Factory (tender)

This project was for work at Swallow & Ariel's Factory, Port Melbourne. The architect was C Gordon McCrae, FRVIA. Extensive calculations and an estimate of £2500 were prepared by Fairway, but these remained in RCMPC's Quotation File and there is no evidence of construction work. The quote is dated 7 July 1911.

Durato Flooring

In July 1911, W E L Wears wrote to Monash (on Wormald Bros & Wears letterhead) about this proprietory floor surface, having learned of it at the "tail-end" of his recent visit to London. He had examined examples at the Eastern Hospital, and reports were good. JM replied that RCMPC could not entertain business until Gibson's return from his visit overseas.

Co-operative Jam Co. Factory, Payneham, S.A.

This is another project known only from brief reports. In July 1911, Jenkinson told Monash: "We have quoted Clarence Davies, Architect (son of Edward Davies) the sum of £367 Net for about 32 squares of first floor supported on 12 interior reinforced concrete columns and brick walls around outside." The columns were to be 9 feet (2.74m) high, and the foundations were good. By November 1911, he was able to report that the job was "nearly finished".

Repairs to floors at AMLF, Kensington

Curiosity. On 14 August 1911, Fairway reported on an inspection he had carried out with Alex Lynch of damage to concrete floors at the AMLF works in Kensington. Heavy traffic had "eroded" the slabs at the dry-joints, except where the floor happened to have a coating of tallow.
The cantilever edge of the platform slab had also been chipped by cases of tallow rolled off railway trucks. PTF reported the workmanship good and the concrete hard.

Rolfe's Stairs

This was an enclosed staircase inserted into a building for Messrs Rolfe & Co at 483-9 Bourke St, Melbourne. A drawing in JTC shows it followed a U-shaped path, on the outside of which it was built into masonry walls. The lowest flight is shown supported on the inside of the U by a reinforced concrete wall. The inside of the uppermost flight is supported on an inclined rolled steel joist which also carries a r.c. wall. Documents remained in the Quotation File. The first requisition for materials was issued on 10 August 1911, and the final account delivered on 12 October.

Wondergraph Company Theatre (unsuccessful) and Outdoor Screen, Adelaide

In August 1911, H G Jenkinson wrote to Monash to tell him that the Greater Wondergraph Company intended to build an up-to-date new Picture Theatre in Adelaide. Architect Jackman was hoping to get the job, but it seemed the Directors wanted William Pitt of Melbourne to do the drawings for a fee of £100, and Jackman to supervise locally. One of the promoters, a Mr Finkelstein, was coming to Melbourne to see Pitt, and Jackman would urge him to consult Monash as an authority on reinforced concrete. So would JM try to persuade Finkelstein to give the job to Jackman? The objective was to intercept him and prevent him from talking to anyone else, without letting him see this as intentional. Monash replied: "I have put Mr Goodwill upon the search for this gentleman, but as there is uncertainty as to whether he is in Melbourne or in Adelaide, so far without result". Towards the end of September, Monash received a letter from Jackman: "You will see that I am writing from Sydney. Arrived here in answer to a wire from Finkelstein."

On 5 October, Jenkinson wrote that Jackman had just returned from his "flying trip to Sydney" and sent his apologies for not seeing JM on the way through. "As soon as Mr Jackman has decided on the lines of the Wondergraph Building, he is going to have a chat with me about the structural design". On 6 November, HGJ advised that he had just seen the architect's plans for the theatre. There would be about £2000 of reinforced concrete work involved, but a great deal of structural steel, because of the large spans. A few days later he wrote that Mr Sidney Jackman was leaving for Melbourne to talk to Johns & Waygood about steelwork.

In February 1912, HGJ reported that Wondergraph considered the proposal too costly, at £8500 for the r.c. work and £20,000 for the whole building. Jackman was now working on a reduced scheme involving brick and timber construction. However, by June 1912, HGJ seemed again to be wrestling with the proposal, asking Monash's advice on certain problems. The most difficult was a wall 49 feet high that would have to be entirely self-supporting against the sideways pressure of the wind until the roof was completed to prop it near the top. Monash replied with a long letter on the stability of free-standing walls subjected to wind pressure. These efforts proved to no avail and in July 1912, HGJ reported that the job had been lost to the much cheaper brick and timber alternative.

In the midst of this project, Jenkinson was asking Monash's advice about the design of a reinforced concrete screen for a "temporary outdoor show" at the corner of Pulteney St and North Terrace, Adelaide. He proposed to support it with counterforts. It appears that this strange object was in fact built. On 20 October 1911, HGJ told Monash he had tendered £89 for the job. In a letter in March 1912, he explained that he had quoted low for the Wondergraph Screen in the hope of getting the £8000 worth of work in the new theatre. Even so, Wondergraph had thought the price very high indeed. "As to the job not [even] paying expenses, the same remarks apply as in the case of Mitcham Bridge, both jobs being underestimated through neglect of the relatively high cost of supervision and sundry charges."

Schneider's Warehouse, additional storey

This project involved the addition of a reinforced concrete storey above a warehouse in Flinders Lane, Melbourne. The building was basically rectangular in plan, about 119 × 55 feet. The existing perimeter walls were of masonry. Along most of one side they extended almost to new roof level. Along most of the remainder it was necessary to construct a reinforced concrete wall with engaged columns. There was a single row of r.c. columns on the longitudinal axis. The builder was Clements Langford. The name of the architect is not mentioned in our research notes.

Computations were prepared early in August 1911 by Fairway and probably J A Laing, and work started soon after. The drawing is signed by PTF on behalf of Monash. The design was approved by Morton, the City Building Surveyor, on 12th. On 21 September concrete work was nearing completion, and by 12 October all stripping of formwork was complete. The original tender was £791, but the final account was for £1033.

Gippsland Co-op Bacon Curing Co. (unsuccessful?)

This project is known to us only through a single drawing in JTC. It carries the stamp of Charles D'Ebro, dated 5 August 1911. It shows a plan and cross-sections of a low building 50 feet wide internally. There is a system of vats 85 feet long surrounded by concrete flooring. Concrete 'posts' support what looks like a timber truss roof. This is presumably a project for which RCMPC tendered unsuccessfully.

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