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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.

Gibbs Bros Floor

This was for a "factory" in Niagara Lane, Melbourne, owned by Gibbs Bros. The external dimensions of the building were 23'-10" by 54 feet. Its external walls were of brick and 14 inches thick. The floor had already been designed by the architect, A W Purnell, as a 6-inch slab reinforced with patent Clinton fabric and supported on encased steel joists. On 22 January 1914, Fairway submitted two quotes for £122 to builder T Cockram, one according to the architect's design, and one to a RCMPC design using plain rods instead of mesh. However, Purnell insisted that his design be adhered to. Cockram accepted RCMPC's quote, and work on the slab was "in full swing" on 3 February. The final account was submitted on 3 March.

Denyer's Building

Denyer's Building. Photograph showing facade and side of unfinished building. The concrete shell is basically complete. Formwork is in place for concreting of roof and parapet. The front is narrow, with five storeys above pavement level. The upper three floors have three windows across the facade. Over this height, vertical lines are emphasised, with spandrels set back beneath each window. There is a prominent corbelled cornice. Photograph: University of Melbourne Archives, Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co Collection, NN/895: "Concreting roof & parapet levels 18/6/14".

These premises were built at 264 and 266 Swanson St, for Mr R Denyer. To the left was Purves the Seedsman, and to the right Ah Muoy Brs, Tea Merchants. Fairway and Laing prepared computations from January 1914. On 16 March 1914, they sent prices for various alternatives to architects H W & F B Tompkins, who had prepared a design based on a steel framework. RCMPC's basic price included footings, columns, external walls and parapets, floors, roof, and walls around the stairs. The final price would depend on whether a basement was needed, and whether the staircase would be entirely in reinforced concrete. A few days later, RCMPC sent a quote to builder T Cockram for £1794 and this was accepted. On 27th, Fairway met the Building Referees and gained approval for the change from steel to reinforced concrete. On 31st, he informed Tompkins that the foundation drawings had been sent to Cockram (so he could excavate) and concrete work should start the following week. The drawings and computations were then sent to City Building Surveyor Morton for approval with a note that RCMPC were "anxious to push on with this". Morton got them to revise the design of the footings, limiting the foundation pressure to 7000 pounds per square foot.

At the end of May, RCMPC were ready to start the formwork for the roof. They told Cockram that the value of work they had done so far was £1400, and they had received only £500 in progress payments. They asked for a payment of £500 or £600. At the end of June they asked for a further £500. A "final" account was issued a the end of July for £1800, and another at the end of October for £1805.

Denyer's Building is mentioned in Lewis & Jacobs (1976), pp.10 and 34.
Historic images, some showing earlier stages of construction, are held in the University of Melbourne Archives with Location Numbers from BWP/23968 to /23978, plus NN/898 and NN/899.

Dunkling House

Dunkling House. Line drawing of facade. Above the shop fronts the emphasis is on four vertical lines. Between these are three bay windows per storey, from 2nd to 5th floors. The cornice is located above a row of small lights on the 6th floor. Above the cornice, the upper part of the 6th floor appears as a roof, sloping steeply towards the street.Line drawing based on a blueprint in the J Thomas Collection.

This structure is located at 294 Collins Street. It was built for Mr W Dunkling. The architect was Frank Stapley and the builder J G Hollow. Monash was not directly involved in the engineering. The first drawings date from January 1914. There is an undated drawing from Stapley's office showing full reinforcement details for concrete floors supported on encased rolled steel joists. In March, Fairway wrote to Hollow asking whether he intended to do the concrete work himself, or if he wanted RCMPC to do it. On 25 May, he quoted Hollow £3418 for casing of steelwork, floor plates for the Ground and First to Sixth Floors, roof, front wall, external walls 6 inches thick, internal walls 4 inches thick, stairs and a strong room. Even the reinforcement of the stairs is detailed in an architect's drawing of late June, indicating that RCMPC worked purely as contractors in this case. The final account was rendered on 22 September and an amended final account for £3528 on 18 November 1914.

Cornell's Warehouse, Adelaide

This building was for Cornell & Sons, Pirie Street, Adelaide. [It is not clear from our research notes whether Pirie St was the headquarters of the firm or the location of the warehouse.] The architect was E H McMichael. In January 1914, H G Jenkinson reported to Monash that SARC had quoted £2877 for Ground and First floors and a flat roof, plus columns, stairs, "etc". A further £2240 had been quoted for the external walls, including attached columns and footings. In August 1914, HGJ reported that the roof had been concreted and SARC's work should be complete within a fortnight.

Savings Bank, Rundle St, Adelaide (tender)

This unsuccessful tender provides further insight regarding competition. In January 1914, H G Jenkinson queried Monash about patent Fama Stonewood flooring for use in the proposed Savings Bank. (JM had just become interested in this material and RCMPC were to use it widely in Melbourne.) Architect Mr Syd Jackman was favourably disposed to the idea, and 48 squares was to be covered. HGJ asked Monash to "kindly post me up" regarding price, technical description, and business policy regarding South Australia, where there appeared to be a local agent. However, in mid-March, Jenkinson wrote: "I regret to have to inform you that this job has passed us. It seems that the proposed building worked out more costly than was originally anticipated and Garlick & Jackman were asked to obtain prices for a construction much cheaper in many respects." The alternative scheme, with brick walls and a wooden ground floor had worked out £1000 cheaper than SARC's reinforced concrete version. The comparison was unfair because the bulk of the saving had been achieved by abandoning costly white plastering included in the original scheme, and using wood for the ground floor. HGJ remained convinced that the r.c. alternative "could have been made cheaper than the version accepted". He was "greatly surprised at the turn of affairs" and added: "I intend at the first opportunity to go further into the matter with Mr Jackman as I am far from satisfied".

Langwill's Stair

This was another in the fireproof staircase series. Installed in premises in Ramsden Place, "off Flinders Lane", it rose two storeys from ground to second floor. There with three flights alongside a masonry wall and a dog-leg at the top. It had a reinforced concrete ceiling, creating a tunnel-like effect. Although it was built against the masonry wall, its inner edge was supported by a concrete stringer. The quote was made late in January 1914 and the account was rendered on 20 April. In a sign that RCMPC was adopting the role of conventional Builder, the job included minor items such as a sink, over which there was a minor payment dispute.

Art School, Working Men's College (tender)

RCMPC's Quotation Files document a verbal quote made by Fairway for a laboratory floor for the Working Men's College [later, 'Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology', now RMIT University] in February 1914. They also include an article from The Age newspaper of 26th, about the continually increasing estimates of the cost of building an "industrial art school". The Premier of Victoria was not at all happy, having previously budgeted for the project when he was serving as Treasurer. However, he had promised to "see what he could do", and would investigate how cheaply the job could be done. Between 9 and 13 March, Fairway set to work with engineering computations and estimates and sent a quote for the entire Art School to Colonel Watson, Chief Government Architect at the Public Works Department. The quote included three floors. PTF explained that he had substituted reinforced concrete columns where steel was shown on the PWD's drawings. The price would depend on exactly what was wanted, but he suggested a figure of £3496. If reinforced concrete stairs were to be included, this would add a further £200. There is no evidence that RCMPC was successful.

Taylor Residence, Adelaide (foundations)

These are noteworthy mainly for the cost: £500, including a "paper" margin of £100, and £50 for contingencies. The foundations, for a residence for R Taylor Esq were described by H G Jenkinson as "extensive". The quotation was mentioned to RCMPC in March 1914, and by early May the work was almost complete. The architect was Jackman.

Dunlop Building, South Melbourne (tender)

This tender for the Dunlop Building in Montague St, South Melbourne raised a number of interesting issues. Fairway produced engineering computations and an estimate early in March 1914. In mid-April, he or Monash wrote to confirm views expressed at a meeting with architect F J Davies. RCMPC agreed that it was fair to ask all tenderers to design their own floors, but "we have often had to tender against designs which we would not dare, for the sake of our reputation, to build". In the city of Melbourne the Building Surveyor could be depended upon to insist that proper standards be maintained in design. However, Montague St was outside the sphere of the Melbourne Building Regulations. Therefore RCMPC wanted Davies to specify the following requirements:

Full stress calculations would have to be submitted before work started.
Work would have to be guaranteed and tested to twice working load.

A request to plumber F Atherton, for a quote for the plumbing in the Dunlop Factory indicates that RCMPC were intending to act as master builders. On 5 May 1914, RCMPC submitted the following quotes:

to the Architect's design (steel and brick) Spacer. £32,675
as above, with RCMPC-designed foundations   £31,217
with r.c. frame and curtain walls (RCMPC design)   £29,206

The same day, Monash wrote to his business associate of former years, V J Saddler, who was on the Board of Dunlop, to ask him to support RCMPC's case. Saddler replied that he would do what he could, and added "I know that W L Baillieu has a kindly feeling towards you. It would help if you could see him". However, it was to no avail. Saddler reported on 11th that RCMPC's tender for the architect's design had been second last, out of nine. RCMPC's figure for their own design had been less than the lowest quote for the Architect's design, but builder Clements Langford had also submitted an alternative design, with an even lower price of £26,787.

Monash thanked Saddler for his efforts and commented: "As you know there is a great deal of luck in tendering, and we happen to have struck a crowd who do not, I think, know what Reinforced Concrete work is worth quite as well as I do".

Collins House Extensions alias Collins House No.2

Collins House extensions.

The extension is the dark-coloured building with a light well set into its side. The light-coloured building to its left is the first Collins House. University of Melbourne Archives, Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. Collection, BWP/24100

This was a new tower block and podium at the rear of the original Collins House, for Baillieu Patterson & Sons. The architects were Eggleston & Oakley. There is no evidence that Monash was involved with the details of the project.

A section three storeys high connected the new building to the old, leaving a sort of light well above. Behind this, a tower block rose eight storeys, although various facilities made the "roof" effectively a ninth storey. Light wells were cut into the sides of the tower above First Floor level.

Fairway had made preliminary calculations as early as April 1912 for a two-storey extension, but these remained in the Quotation Files. The architects' drawings for the 1914 project show a fully detailed design in steel. They are undated but were presumably issued early in the same year.

On 3 April 1914, RCMPC submitted a tender to Eggleston & Oakley. This assumed a building 8 storeys high, with a frontage of 81 feet and overall depth of 124 feet. Steel columns would be used in the lower storeys wherever the size of a reinforced concrete column would exceed 20 inches square.* The quote included seven r.c. floors and a r.c. roof designed for 140 psf. On the roof would be a lavatory block and staircase house, club rooms and racquet courts. The quote included all external walls, apart from those serving as retaining walls. The front wall was to have all cornices, projections and other architectural features formed in concrete ready for a plaster finish.

* The first digit in this figure is blurred, but 10 would be impractical and 30 unusually large.

Fairway quoted £13,745 for the above, including an allowance of £250 for additional works, fees and other charges. If the design live load were to be reduced to 90 psf, the price would come down to £13,135. The price for the retaining walls along the Little Collins St frontage, and along the East and West rights-of-way, was £843. These were to be faced with 4½" brick, forming a 2" cavity. The separate price for the stairs, to full height of the building, was £219.

Egglestone & Oakley had evidently engaged a consultant engineer to check the design. Fairway told them that RCMPC did not want to quibble over any minor amendments that might be recommended, but they guaranteed the work, so any increases should be seen as additional to the contract. In forwarding the drawings on 2 May, he noted that, to "avoid delay", they did not show all minor details, but they should permit a general check and make it possible to sign the contract. "We would, of course, be pleased to discuss and explain any points raised by your expert in regard to details not shown".

Most of the drawings are by C W N Sexton and authorised by Fairway on behalf of Monash. J A Laing did many of the detailed calculations.

The project itself was not yet finalised, as RCMPC were asked to quote unit rates for walls and floors and the cost of a possible extra storey. The figures they gave were:
external walls 6" thick, 15/- per square yard
external walls 4" thick, 12/- per sq yd
strong room walls with special concrete and reinforcement, 19/- per sq yd.
They quoted the cost of floors as averaging £11/16/- per square, with the exact figure depending on the spans used and the positioning of columns.
The cost of an extra storey would be between £700 and £1975, depending on a range of options.

At this stage, RCMPC's outline design and calculations were then sent to the City Building Surveyor, H E Morton, with an explanation that some matters were still to be resolved.

On 2 June, they sent him calculations to show that the columns as originally designed would be able to withstand the load of an additional storey, assuming the design floor loads were reduced as permitted by a decision of the Official Referees made on 29th May. The same day they were able to inform the architects that Morton had given his approval and to ask for permission to start construction. The first requisition for materials was issued next day. On 5th, the architects accepted RCMPC's quote for the additional storey. The production of calculations and drawings continued over succeeding months. Those for the top floors and roof were issued in February 1915.

Writing to Monash in August 1915, Gibson told him that RCMPC was still owed £1000 on the project, and could not reach settlement due to a dispute about overtime penalties.

More historic images of this building are held in the University of Melbourne Archives Location Numbers from BWP/24092 to /24100.

Elizabeth House

Elizabeth House. Photograph taken from nearby building, level with 3rd floor. The general appearance is relatively plain. The Elizabeth Street facade has bay windows from 1st to 4th floors. Above these is a balcony with greatly exaggerated corbels. The top has a decorated cornice surmounted by a balustrade.Photo: Elizabeth House, Elizabeth Street facade. (Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co Collection, University of Melbourne Archives, BWP/23923.)

This building was erected for A D Hart Esq on the north-west corner of the intersection of Elizabeth Street and Little Collins Street. On its eastern boundary was Butcher's Lane. The architects were Nahum Barnet and Grainger & Little. Although Monash was not involved in the details, his guiding hand is evident - and since P T Fairway developed his skills under JM's tutelage, Elizabeth House may be seen as the culmination of Monash's work in buildings prior to WW1.

RCMPC acted as master builder in this case, in contrast to earlier projects where they had been responsible only for design and construction of reinforced concrete work. The result was voluminous correspondence with subcontractors, with suppliers of materials including doors, frames, windows, plumbing, electrical services, etc. etc. and the inevitable problems of coordination. The project files for the later buildings are many times thicker than those for the earlier projects.

The building was approximately square in plan, with sides of 86 and 88 feet. It had a basement 14 feet high, a ground storey 21 feet high, six storeys 12'-6" high, and a top storey somewhat taller. The more elaborate facade was on Elizabeth Street, with a balcony, supported on heavy brackets, bearing the name of the building. It was enlivened by oriel windows to the lower storeys, whereas the Little Collins Street facade was relatively flat.

It was probably an article in The Age newspaper of 12 February 1914, headed "Sale of City Property", that alerted Fairway to interview Barnet. His preliminary calculations date from March. A series of Grainger & Little drawings in JTC, presumably from late April and early May, shows a building with a steel skeleton and brick outer walls. Clues on the drawing and in the correspondence suggest that only four floors were intended to be in reinforced concrete, probably as an economy measure. The main floor girders were to be in steel, but the secondary beams were shown as reinforced concrete ribs. Typical reinforcement details were included.

Tenders were called on this basis on 16 May, with a clause in the Conditions reading: "Each tenderer must send in his tender on the form supplied with the quantities. Tenders must be in all cases for the work as specified, and no condition is to be inserted contrary to or differing from those in the specifications. Any tender which does not comply with the conditions will be liable to rejection".

The same day, Grainger dropped in to RCMPC's offices to ask them to submit an alternative design in reinforced concrete. He described the design of the structural steelwork (by a Mr Grassick) as "very ample". Also, it had been discovered that, because of fire risk, insurance companies were not willing to grant the rebate normally given when all floors of a building were in reinforced concrete. Grainger would therefore propose to Hart that RCMPC be allowed to submit an alternative tender for a building entirely in reinforced concrete. In a memorandum of the visit, Fairway noted that Grainger "of course promises us every possible help in the matter".

RCMPC's subsequent letter of tender reads "Building to be carried out exactly in accordance with drawings and specifications, except for the following amendments
1. All external walls in reinforced concrete
2. All footings reinforced concrete
3. All columns reinforced concrete
5.[sic] All floors and roof reinforced concrete
6. All steps (except a few) reinforced concrete
7. Reinforced Concrete walls to basement, lined with brick."
The total price was £34,253

Agreement was quickly reached, and Monash wrote to Hart assuring him that now the contract was let, "no effort will be spared to achieve the highest standard of work in regard not only to structural completeness, but also the artistic finish of the building, which I hope to make a pride to you. You may depend upon my personal supervision of the whole of the operations, and their energetic prosecution". [Architectural features of the facade were moulded in reinforced concrete and plastered.]

The Master Builders Association reacted angrily to the news. An article in The Herald of 25 June recorded in restrained language that the Builders were "displeased" and that the situation was "most unfair". The job was a big one, worth about £34,000, and about 20 MBA members had prepared estimates, relying on the statement that no alternative tender would be accepted. Each had given up "several nights" to the task. Mr John Little had told the Herald that he would respond when the MBA had made its views known.

Monash's prolonged battle with the MBA flared in 1909 over the contract for extensions to the Melbourne Public Library (now State Library of Victoria) [link.]. In the Elizabeth House project he stole a final march on them before turning his attention to other matters.

The first working engineering drawings date from early July 1914, and were sent to Building Surveyor H E Morton on 6th with the usual request for speedy processing. The first requisition for materials was issued on 13th, and the first request for a progress payment (of £1525) on 16th! The structural frame includes a number of steel columns and a heavy distribution girder in the basement and ground floors, necessitated by a change in column spacing. Our research notes do not indicate the exact reasons for this. A letter sent from Fairway to steel fabricators Johns & Waygood on 17 July, with the relevant drawings, asks for a quotation. "We are exceedingly pressed for time in the construction of this building, and therefore expedition is absolutely necessary throughout. We would be glad therefore if you would regard the matter as urgent." (Later correspondence shows J&W were not as expeditious as Fairway hoped.)

For constitutional reasons, as well as majority sentiment, Australia was automatically involved by Britain's declaration of war on Germany on 4 August 1914. There was an immediate effect on the supply of materials from the UK and Europe, and a gradual draining of the labour force as men volunteered for military service.

August saw a large output of drawings from RCMPC. The draughtsman's initials on many of them (JSH) are new to RCMPC, suggesting that additional help was needed to cope with the workload. On 5 August, Fairway accepted a quote from Jencken & Co for supply of window glass. On 10th, Hart complained through the architects about slow progress. Gibson replied that, under the existing distressing circumstances, RCMPC been at very great pains and at considerable financial loss to safeguard the job. There had been a "stoppage of all overseas supplies".

The production of drawings continued, those for the 6th and 7th floors being issued in December 1914. The latest drawing preserved in JTC is dated March 1915, and shows details of the timber covering for the top floor (planking on battens). In August 1915, Gibson wrote to Monash (overseas) that some £5000 in progress payments was being held up because Mr Hart had instructed his architects through his solicitors to give no further certificates for payments until the accounts had been examined and the question of overtime penalties settled. Both Grainger and Little were seriously ill. In October, Gibson reported that the two sides were still "sparring for grips". "I am pretty confident that Mr Hart will have some portion at least of his pound of flesh and my endeavour is to reduce said pound to as few ounces as possible." He added, "This gentleman owes us something like £4900".

Some work was still going on in December 1915, when Requisition 43a was issued. The final account, for £34,253 plus £935 in extras, was issued on 22 February 1916. Disagreement over payment continued until at least August 1916.

More historic images of this building are held in the University of Melbourne Archives with Location Numbers from BWP/23915 to /23923, plus NN/1005.

Walkerville Brewery Floors, (Adelaide)

At the end of April 1914, H G Jenkinson informed Monash that SARC had quoted architect H E Sibley £1213 for this job, including basement floor, elevated floor, columns, etc. The price allowed a clear margin of £130.

In June, labour troubles were developing. HGJ reported to Gibson that he had met with the Directors of the Brewery. Also present were Sibley and "the other contractor, King". The Brewery stood to lose significantly if the work was delayed, but there was a danger of all Brewery employees striking if SARC employed builders' labourers at less than the Federal Award rates. "I pointed out that I did not think they would do so as they were now faced with a strong State Law against them." HGJ asked the directors to wait a day or two to see how the case that SARC had brought against the organisers went. One of the directors, a Mr Ware, had suggested that the Brewery might relieve SARC of the contract and pay an amount to cover lost profit. Jenkinson joked that it would be nice to get a portion of the profit without doing any work, but considered it unwise to let the other contractor finish off the job.

SARC's case against the builders' labourers was reported in the Register of 27 June and 2, 3, 4, and 7 July. It was brought by HGJ against striking workers who had held up progress at Verco's Building, Cornell's Warehouse, and a water tank at Noarlunga. The situation was confused by the fact that some firms were governed by Federal Arbitration Awards and others by State Awards that set cheaper rates. RCMPC (in Victoria) happened to be governed by a federal award, and the union secretary argued that SARC was identical with RCMPC and so should be paying federal rates. HGJ pointed out that although Monash and Gibson were on the boards of both companies, the two firms were distinct legal entities, and that when he had transferred four years earlier he had resigned from RCMPC in order to sign on with SARC.

The dispute had broken out when three workmen resigned from SARC. They claimed in court that they had done so in order to obtain higher rates by finding work with an employer governed by the federal award. SARC argued that the resignations amounted to strike action, designed to force the firm to pay higher rates. The judge decided the men were unreliable witnesses, and fined the union secretary £20 for inciting a strike, and two men the same amount for having taken part in it. He also ruled that all firms in the Adelaide metropolitan area were bound by the State Award unless specifically named by the Federal Arbitration Court.

On 18 August 1914, HGJ reported that the Walkerville job was nearing completion. It had been "cut very fine" because of competition, but it should turn out OK financially. The appearance of work was excellent.

Steel Frame vs Reinforced Concrete for city buildings

In April 1914, Monash delivered his Presidential Address to the Victorian Institute of Engineers, extolling the glories of reinforced concrete. H G Jenkinson prepared a draft for him, with covering letter dated 11 February. "The following notes may be of service in connection with the preparation of your presidential address before the Victorian Institute of Engineers. I have arranged them in the form of a framework on which the speech could be built."

In delivering the speech, Monash repeated his caustic views on patent types of reinforcement, asserting that plain rods could do the job just as well and often better. He also described steel frame construction as economically unviable, and its use in Australia as an "economic outrage". Steel frames were cheaper in the USA, but US experience could not be extrapolated to this country.

A report of JM's speech appeared in the Argus newspaper on 16 April and inspired a letter (published 17th) from architects H W & F B Tompkins saying that Monash was biased, being the "manager" of the RCMPC. In their experience, steel frames were cheaper than reinforced concrete.

Gibson was not impressed, and in a memorandum to Monash claimed that Tompkins "gives himself away". He assumed JM would reply or "inspire" a reply. He added, "we don't care a d--n for Tompkins - who up to now has broken faith with us time after time and has merely used us to suit his own ends". On 21st, Fairway prepared a list of prices for several buildings comparing the cost of steel versus reinforced concrete frames. Monash then drafted a reply to the Tompkins's in which he drew on sources in the British journal Concrete.

I have not looked closely into the context of this dispute, but it appears that steel had been gaining ground in recent years. Judging by the projects in which RCMPC did succeed in gaining business, it had become standard practice for architects to use consultants to design buildings with a concrete-encased steel frame and reinforced concrete floors. Many architects and clients were convinced that a steel frame allowed quicker progress, as the entire skeleton could be erected and the floors and walls added later. It also seems that City Building Surveyor H E Morton was actively promoting the use of steel. On 29 September 1913, he had delivered a paper to the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects on "Steel Frame Construction". The paper reads like an extract from a contemporary engineering text on steel design. Morton mentions reinforced concrete floors (p.226), but says "It is not intended in this paper to discuss the design of reinforced concrete work". [RVIA Journal, v11, pp.223-35. Discussion, v.12, pp.9-11.]

Coates Building

This project, for James A Coates, Esq, was another handled almost entirely by P T Fairway. The architect was Nahum Barnet. His drawings show a three-storey factory of conventional construction roughly 60 feet square in plan, and a thin tower block about 90 by 22 feet in plan, with Ground, Mezzanine and First to Sixth Floors. The 22-foot facade of the tower block was on Collins Street and one side of the factory faced Baptist Lane.

In June 1914, RCMPC sent a quote to Barnet of £5438 for a reinforced concrete structure for the seven-storey portion of the project "in accordance with your drawings and specifications". They also sent quotes of £4674 directly to builders R McDonald and W S Davies[?], presumably for a structure designed according to RCMPC's principles. Davies got the contract and Monash signed a special discount of £100 for him.

There is some doubt over the builder's name. Photographs at UMA show J B Milton & Co.

The drawing showing concrete dimensions and reinforcement according to RCMPC is dated 29 August 1914. The information is transmitted with great economy, presumably to preserve intellectual property, and is obviously intended for very experienced workers. There are two typical details of beam/column intersections and a single typical plan for the first to sixth floors. Concrete reinforcement sizes are shown in the form of tables.

Our research notes contain no further details. Construction must have continued into 1915.

Historic images of this building under construction are held in the University of Melbourne Archives with Location Numbers BWP/24139, BWP/24140 and NN/1032. All are badly composed, with a great deal of featureless foreground, and the top of the building cut off. The narrow facade is obscured by heavy scaffolding. It is possible to make out a large arched entrance, above which the centre of the facade projects forward, incorporating bay windows.

New Challenges

This is our final web page in the series on building projects in which Monash was involved between 1892 and 1914. He was appointed Deputy Chief Censor for Australia on 17 August 1914, then appointed to command the Fourth Infantry Brigade of the Australian Imperial Force on 15 September. He sailed with them from Melbourne on 22 December.

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