Website Banner. John Monash: Engineering enterprise prior to World War 1.

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Water Resources Projects:
Subways, Goulburn Eastern Main Channel.

Overview

Fig.1. GPNB/1141. Excavation for Muddy Ck subway. The bottom of the trench has been carefully shaped to receive the concrete for the wall of the tube. Fig.2. GPNB/1143. The Muddy Ck tube is almost complete. Internal formwork is visible. It is just possible that the three figures in the distance are Monash, his wife Vic, and their daughter Bertha. Fig.3. GPNB/1140. View of a typical entrance structure, showing wing walls and apron. All photographs: University of Melbourne Archives, Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. Collection. Other relevant photographs in the collection are: GPNB/1142 (half-completed tube) and GPNB/1139 (inlet works under construction, showing formwork for funnel end of tube).

Note 1. The channel and subways can be seen clearly on satellite photographs (coordinates listed below). Note 2. Subways are often referred to as "inverted syphons", or simply "syphons". Purists point out that no syphoning action occurs when water simply flows through a subway.

Introduction

The Goulburn Eastern Main Channel, part of Victoria's extensive irrigation system, takes off from the Goulburn Weir (−36.71488, 145.18227) and travels first in a north-easterly direction, then turns north, to pass Shepparton [Map]. In doing so, it intersects a number of rivers, creeks, and floodways which lead runoff towards the Goulburn River. The irrigation channel is lined on both sides by earthen embankments, about 80 feet apart. These present an obstacle to natural drainage, so where the channel intersects a natural watercourse, the irrigation water is taken under the stream in a "subway" - very much like a pedestrian subway under a busy road.

The subways themselves are a cylindrical tube, generally 10 to 12 feet (3.05 to 3.66m) in diameter, and vary in length according to the width of the intersecting waterway. Wing walls are used at the entrance to narrow the width of the canal and direct the water into the subway (Fig.3 above). At the outlet, wing walls again smooth the flow as it spreads out to full width of the canal. At both locations, concrete aprons prevent the increased velocity of flow from scouring the bed of the channel.

Fig.4. Longitudinal cross-section of the subway, with cross-section of creek shown in brown. Based on a Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Co drawing in the J Thomas Collection.

Muddy Creek Subway

The tube, or barrel, of the subway would normally have been built in cast-iron or steel, and the wing walls and apron in mass (unreinforced) concrete; but in August 1906, after discussions with the Victorian Water Supply Department, Monash was invited to design and build a subway entirely in reinforced concrete to carry the channel beneath Muddy Creek.

An alternative name for Muddy Creek at the time was Pranjip Creek, which now seems to have been adopted.

The Chief Engineer of the VWS, Stuart Murray Snr, was cautious about the 'new' material and demanded that the concrete tube be provided with a lining of brickwork or steel to ensure impermeability. This would have made it uncompetitive with traditional forms, and would have promoted the idea, contrary to Monash's interests, that reinforced concrete was inappropriate for the task. Monash countered with an offer on behalf of RCMPC to construct the tube without lining, to subject it to test, and to provide a brick lining at cost, should the permeability of the concrete exceed an amount specified by the VWS.

Monash carried out the engineering design of the tube and of internal retracting formwork. He took part in reconnaissance of the locality; and closely monitored negotiations for supply and cartage of sand and gravel, and appointment of subcontractors for excavation and earthwork. The contract with the VWS was signed on 20 December 1906, and the foreman's reports from the site commence on 31st. Tests were conducted at the end of May 1907, and permeability was found to be only half the limit specified. After the definitive test, Monash travelled back to Melbourne on the train with the senior VWS engineers who "expressed themselves fully satisfied". RCMPC seemed to have a healthy line of business guaranteed for the next two years until its patent ran out.

The VWS takes over

In June 1907, Monash heard from other sources that the VWS was examining the validity of Victorian Patent No. 12880. He relied on this patent in claiming exclusive rights for RCMPC to the Monier brand of reinforced concrete within Victoria, under licence from Gummow Forrest & Co of Sydney. The VWS concluded that 12880 had been anticipated by a British patent of 1883. In any case, it was entitled under Crown privilege to employ patented inventions without payment of commission. In following months, VWS engineers therefore prepared designs, drawings, and specifications for six reinforced concrete subways required as part of the next extension of the Goulburn Eastern Main Channel. Advertisements calling tenders for construction appeared on 11 January 1908. The new approach cut RCMPC out of the design phase and reduced it to the role of general contractor, exposing it to competition from other firms. Monash was incensed, and appealed for a meeting with the Minister for Water Supply, George Swinburne, whom he knew personally, hoping to persuade him to reverse the decision.

The meeting was unsuccessful, but Monash determined to convince Swinburne of the justice of RCMPS's case, assembling facts and arguments with the help of F M Gummow. In the meantime, however, he was obliged to submit tenders for construction of the six subways. On 25th June 1907, both were accepted by the VWS.

Although Patent 12880 was due to expire on 11 February 1910, Monash was convinced that it was valid. More importantly, he felt that RCMPC had been badly used. As when preparing for a court case, he summarised his major arguments on a single sheet of paper. The notes, perhaps written in some heat, refer to "spying" and "piracy". He had coaxed the Department into employing the new technique, despite the Chief Engineer's caution. He had disclosed his computational methods (based on an example supplied by Gummow Forrest & Co) to VWS engineers and supplied them with drawings showing full details of construction. Government engineers and inspectors (and probably locally-based workers) had been able to learn the new techniques by observing RCMPC's staff in action. The VWS drawings were obviously based on Monash's, and identical in many ways. Their Specifications and Schedule contained his own words, borrowed from the equivalent documents he had prepared for Muddy Creek.

I have made no attempt to research the motives of the Department in taking over design of the subways, but they might include the following. 1. A desire to drive down the price. 2. A reluctance to pay for knowledge which was now freely available in English-language texts. 3. The trend, particularly in Britain, to separate the task of designing structures from that of building them, following instances in which designer-builders had cut quality in order to win contracts.

Monash found himself in a difficult position. If he fought the VWS too hard he risked destroying the good relationship that had existed so far. Even if he won, the financial gain would not be great over the two years remaining before the patent expired. His best hope was thus to press the issue quietly, and persuade Swinburne that the VWS was morally obliged to pay a commission to RCMPC until the patent expired. However, despite the arguments he marshalled, and a reasonably supportive opinion from a patent attorney, Swinburne remained adamant.

Work on Contracts A and B, which Monash designated the "Goulburn Subways", Nos. I to VI, commenced in February 1908. Around mid-year, Monash tendered for a number of other projects, but was successful in only one, involving four subways on a further extension of the Goulburn Eastern Main Channel. These he labelled the "Shepparton Subways", Nos. VII to X. Work on the new contract was phased in with that on the first. All reinforced concrete work was completed by mid-1909, but final completion of some earthworks and slope protection, hindered by winter weather, dragged on into 1910.

Co-ordinates of the subways

Monash's
designation
WaterwayContractCoordinates
n/aMuddy Creekindividual−36.62104, 145.30706
I"depression"A−36.66097, 145.27587
IICastle CreekA−36.59091, 145.35066
IIIfloodwayA−36.54640, 145.41152
IVSeven CreeksB−36.53670, 145.43074
VSeven CreeksB−36.53337, 145.43729
VISeven CreeksB−36.53119, 145.44012
VIIHoneysuckle CkC−36.48573, 145.49021
VIIIfloodwayC−36.45149, 145.49887
IXfloodwayC−36.43682, 145.51061
XBroken RiverC−36.42171, 145.51102

The Muddy Creek Subway was let as an individual contract.
Monash designated Contracts A and B as the "Goulburn Subways".
He designated Contract C as the "Shepparton Subways".

More detail

Headings: [Muddy Ck Subway] [Subways I to VI] [Subways VII to X] [Campaspe tender] [I to X Completion] [Tandarra tenders] [Reconnaissance, Muddy Ck] [Reconnaissance for I to VI]

The last two sections may interest local historians.

Muddy Creek Subway

Negotiations on the design brief

Monash made his first notes on the Muddy Creek subway project on 21 August 1906, presumably after an inaugural meeting with VWS engineers. He noted the slope and width of the Main Channel, the location of the subway, the required capacity (20,000 cubic feet [566,000 litres] per minute), and the head of water above the floor of the subway (24 ft, 7.32m). There was a reminder to check the buoyancy of the empty tube.

There is nothing in the RCMPC project file to show whether it was Monash who approached the Department or vice versa. He later wrote to F M Gummow that he was "being invited" by Stuart Murray Snr, Chief Engineer of the VWS, "to tender for Syphons"; but Murray's subsequent caution makes it doubtful that it was he who took the lead. Murray's assistant, J S Dethridge, appears in the correspondence as the go-between, but he may have played a more active role in reality. He took over as Chief Engineer eight months later.

Monash was aware that Gummow Forrest & Co had prepared plans for subways in New South Wales (which had not come to fruition) and his first step was to ask Gummow if he could provide a rough idea of cost, based on "similar cases already dealt with". Some days later, the VWS issued a tracing showing the required layout of the subway, similar to Figure 4 above, and a document headed "Conditions under which an offer for the construction of a Reinforced Concrete Subway under the Muddy Creek is invited from the MPC".

MPC = Monier Pipe Company (1901-1905). This firm manufactured Monier reinforced concrete pipes, initially under licence. In May 1905 it was combined with what had been the Monash & Anderson partnership to form the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. Many people continued to refer to RCMPC as the Monier Pipe Company.

The invitation included the following points: "In the drawing the subway is assumed to be circular with internal diameter of 10 feet, but it is open to the Company to submit proposals for a subway of other dimensions and form provided the sectional area of same be not less than 78 square feet" [7.25 m²]. "The offer must be accompanied by such general and detail drawings as will make clear the dimensions and proposed construction of every part of the work; and also a specification of the dimensions, quality of, and the tests for each class of material proposed to be used therein." "Should the structure fail to stand the test without deformation or settlement, or the development of any fissures or cracks it will be rejected." Other administrative and technical requirements were set out. As usual, it was up to the Company to write the Specification. Progress payments on the value of work done were limited to half the contract price until the subway had been erected, tested and certified by the Chief Engineer. Time for completion and the amount of liquidated damages were to be specified by the Company.

Engineering design

Monash carried out an initial engineering design to fix the wall thickness of the subway tube and the necessary reinforcement. This was based on an example provided by W J Baltzer, Gummow Forrest's chief designer, following his method for water storage tanks. Tension in the reinforcement was limited to 6 tons per square inch [93 MPa], well below the capacity of the steel, to minimise the width of cracks in the concrete. Monash planned to cast the 231-foot-long (70.4m) barrel of the subway in 18-foot (5.5m) lengths, working from both ends, at an average rate of 9 feet per day. The whole job, including excavation, earthworks, aprons and wing walls would be completed within three months. He checked his estimate for a reinforced concrete barrel (£2930) with that for competing materials: cast iron £3935, and wrought iron £3285. He then prepared a list of questions for the VWS, raised by his deliberations: access to the site; names of local suppliers of sand and gravel; possible substitution of reinforced concrete for the mass concrete the VWS used in wing walls and aprons; and whether a major part of the earthworks could be let to others as a separate contract.

The Department set the limit on leakage through the tube walls at 10 cubic feet per minute [283 litres]. Also, Monash was told that a price of £2500 would be "quite enough for the job". There was then a hiatus until the end of September, when Dethridge provided a revised version of the general arrangement.

On 8 October Monash sent his calculations to Baltzer to be checked. He noted "the site of the subway is such that materials for concrete are likely to be exceptionally expensive, and therefore it will be desirable to reduce the minimum thickness of the barrel of the tube to the lowest safe limit even if a specially rich class of concrete has to be used". He described the Department's limit on initial leakage as "very liberal". Baltzer agreed with the wall thickness of 4", but suggested the amount of circumferential reinforcement could be reduced.

Reconnaissance

At the end of the month, Monash paid a two-day visit to the locality, staying at the Moorilim Hotel, only half a mile from the construction site. The Resident Engineer for the VWS was Stuart Murray junior. Monash's notes on the visit include the names of local personalities, mail arrangements, storage for cement, sources of sand and gravel (not very promising), local carters, and the best location of a diversion channel to carry discharge from the creek during construction [Appendix 1 below].

Tender

On 8 November, Monash submitted his "full reply" to the VWS invitation. His price, now £2332, was based on an estimated cost of £1713, allowing a margin of £619. On 29th and 30th, a "lengthy conference" took place between Monash, Stuart Murray, and Dethridge. The Chief Engineer demanded that the subway be provided with an internal lining of steel or brickwork to ensure impermeability. Monash estimated the cost of a brick lining 10" (254mm) thick at £288, and of a steel lining 3 mm thick at £400. By this time, he had had experience with reinforced concrete pipelines and reservoir tanks, and was convinced that initial permeability would be within acceptable limits and would decrease with time. He backed this up by citing reports in the technical literature from overseas. He responded to Murray's continued doubts with a long hand-written letter setting out his arguments, and promising that if tests did reveal excessive leakage, RCMPC would install a brick lining at cost. Murray and Dethridge read the letter, but returned it to Monash.

After minor modifications required by the Department (which raised the price to £2448) a formal tender was delivered to the VWS on 6 December. The contract was signed on 20th.

Construction and testing

On 29th, Monash again travelled to the site to induct foreman E Galway into the work. Galway's daily reports commence on 31st, with clearing and excavation, and continue until 7 May 1907. RCMPC's working drawings for reinforced concrete were prepared by S J Lindsay, and concrete work commenced on 28 January. In March, the VWS requested that counterforts be added to the cantilevered retaining walls (wing walls) designed by Monash. These were paid for as an extra. Records of tests for leakage commence in May. On 28th, Monash, Murray and Dethridge were present for the definitive test. Losses averaged 4.5 cubic feet per minute, less than half the permitted figure. Monash's notes conclude: "Later on, in the train, Messrs Murray and Dethridge expressed themselves fully satisfied, and promised to make an immediate settlement of accounts".

Contracts A and B: subways I to III and IV to VI

In January 1908, the VWS, now with Dethridge as Chief Engineer, called tenders for the construction of six more reinforced concrete subways on the Eastern Main Channel, in two lots of three – to designs, drawings, and specifications prepared by its own engineers. [Contracts A and B; Subways Nos. I to VI on map.] This constituted a challenge to Monash's claim that RCMPC had exclusive rights to commercial design of normal reinforced concrete in Victoria under the Monier patent and that, though the Crown was entitled to use the technique without paying a commission, it ought to do so. While Monash mounted a campaign to change the mind of Water Supply Minister Swinburne, he had little choice but to submit tenders for Contracts A and B, at £5592 and £7560. These were successful.

The history of this and other disputes over the patent will be covered in a separate web page.

Monash gave his Works Manager, Alex Lynch, a detailed list of the facts to be ascertained on the ground, and from local knowledge, in a preliminary reconnaissance (Appendix 2 below). As in his own reconnaissance for the Muddy Creek project, these included sources of materials; length and condition of roads giving access to the sites; arrangements for storage; accommodation for workers; postal arrangements; condition of the watercourse in all seasons; water supplies for concrete; vegetation and soil conditions at all sites; and names and addresses of possible carters and sub-contractors. Lynch was also required to do some preliminary planning. He advised that "having regard to winter conditions" the projects should be tackled in the order: II, V, IV, VI, III, I. In the case of subways II and V, work should start immediately on the barrel itself, without waiting for extraneous works other than clearing. Cement should be stored at No. V, and men could be camped at that site for subways III to VI. The foreman should camp at II in the early stages and be supplied with a horse and jinker. He noted: "Sanitary Condition of Camp at V will be dealt with in the same way as Military Camps".

This suggests that Lynch, like Monash, served in the Militia.

The actual work of clearing, excavation, and casting of barrels, aprons and wing walls seems to have proceeded reasonably smoothly. The dispute over patent rights occupied much of Monash's attention, together with a host of other projects including buildings, water tanks, bridges, and heavy industrial structures. However, he was again at Murchison East at the end of March. The patent battle continued until the end of May 1908, when a brief letter from the VWS informed Monash that it had received legal advice confirming its position. This marked the end of his battle to persuade Swinburne.

Contract C: subways VII to X

Late in May 1908, the VWS called tenders for the construction of four further subways on the Goulburn Eastern Main Channel, beyond No. VI, towards Shepparton [map] – also for a triple-barrelled subway under the Campaspe River for the Waranga-Mallee channel, two miles north of Rochester. Monash's friend George Kermode, of the Public Works Department, advised that the Victoria Hotel was the best in Shepparton and offered to accompany him on a visit of reconnaissance. As was often the case, the publican (Mr Courtney) was an important source of local information.

In preparation for his tender, Monash filled an exercise book with jottings and calculations of concrete and earthwork volumes. He extrapolated from experience with similar subways in Contracts A and B to obtain quick estimates for the new structures. Estimates for clearing, fencing, materials, and general risks, were considered separately in the light of conditions on the ground. His first rough total for tender was £11,384. However, aware that D J McClelland, his collaborator on the Preston project, would be his competitor in this case, Monash tried to second-guess him. He assumed that McClelland would know the unit prices listed in Monash's Schedule for Contracts A and B. Earthwork and concrete quantities for Contract C were about 5/6 of those for the previous two. With an allowance of 5% for contingencies, McClelland might thus guess RCMPC's price as £11,912. Monash then carried out a more detailed estimate and pared his price down to £10,952. This included a provision of 5% and a clear margin of £1600. It appears that the total was reduced yet again to £9979 for the final tender, which was successful. Work on Subways VII to X merged with the final stages of work on the previous six. Foreman A Bendschneider took over from E Galway about June 1908 and based himself initially at Seven Creeks.

Proposal for Campaspe Subway (unsuccessful)

Early in June, Monash investigated the possibility of submitting an alternative design for the Campaspe subway. The VWS drawings showed three cylindrical tubes, each of 11 feet (3.35m) internal diameter. Monash suggested instead a flat box-like structure with six rectangular conduits, each seven feet square internally. This would have reduced the volume of reinforced concrete by about half. His rough estimate for tender was £12,600, including £600 provision (5%) and £1215 profit. However, the idea must not have found favour, and McClelland won the contract.

McClelland, D. J. "The reinforced concrete subway under the Campaspe River", Transactions and Proceedings of the Victorian Institute of Surveyors, August 1909.

Completion of Contracts A, B, and C

Bendschneider's daily reports from Seven Creeks run from 23 June 1908 to 11 November, after which he based himself at Broken River. In June 1909 Monash could declare Contracts A and B basically complete, though there was still 1200 cubic yards of earth to be removed from the subway at Seven-Creeks when flood waters permitted. Again, the reinforced concrete work seems to have gone reasonably smoothly. It was proving difficult to test Subway VIII, as the sandy banks near the entrance were leaking water as fast as the pumps could supply it. Problems with sub-contractors building embankments and supplying gravel for 'beaching' (slope protection) plagued the closing stages, of the three contracts and were exacerbated by bad weather. Monash devoted much of his attention to advising Bendschneider by mail, while constantly urging him to wind up the job and bring an end to standing charges. One contractor became insolvent and RCMPC became entangled in claims for payment of workers' outstanding wages. The VWS helped by excising a number of minor tasks from the Contracts in order to resolve matters. Bendschneider's reports from Broken River end in July 1909, when he was directed to other projects, but he was brought back to the subway projects on several occasions in attempts to tidy them up. Monash did not send a final statement of account for Contract C to the VWS until March 1910. A disagreement with VWS engineer I M Sutherland concerning computation of volumes of concrete and earthwork was still in progress in June that year.

Tandarra Subways on the Waranga-Mallee Channel (unsuccessful tender)

In October 1909, the VWS called tenders for three subways on the Waranga-Mallee Channel near Tandarra. One of these was at the 61 mile 38 chain mark, and the others at Piccaninny Creek and Myers Creek. Monash prepared estimates and submitted tenders, but the projects were re-advertised and the VWS eventually offered the jobs separately. Monash's jottings are difficult to interpret, but suggest that the VWS thought the winning tenders were dangerously low. Monash's estimate was £3222 for the "Dingee Subway", presumably the one at 61m 38c, and £5,000 for the other two combined. On 4 November he noted that tenders for the Dingee subway had been received from RCMPC, McClelland, Reilly Bros, and Mathers. The latter was the lowest, at £2358-13-9. Monash commented "Job worth about £2600". His second estimate for the two 12 foot subways was £4062 for both, allowing 5%, or £194 for "freight and other contingencies" and £700 profit. His pencil note on 4th shows that Reilly Bros had tendered "about 4300", and Mathers £3245. On 29 November, Monash tendered again for the subway at 61m 38c, but there is no evidence of success.

Appendix 1. Local Details, Muddy Creek

At the time of his first visit to Muddy Creek, in October 1906, Monash made notes of useful local information. These indicate the issues involved in planning the work, and provide another illustration of his close attention to detail. As they contain the names of local personalities, they may be of interest to local historians.

One of his prine concerns was the location of nearby railway stations for delivery of personnel, mail, and supplies, especially cement. He noted that the station at Murchison East, on the main line leading to Shepparton and Echuca, was 4½ miles from the Muddy Creek site.

Mrs Louisa Kearney of the Moorilim Hotel would be willing to receive mail for the foreman. Regular mails left Melbourne at 6:15 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and reached Moorilim at 12.15 p.m. the same day. Despite this, Mrs Kearney said she received mail most days "as a rule". Telegrams, if sent on mail days before 11 a.m., would be brought to Moorilim with the mail. On other days they could be sent care of Mrs Barry at Murchison East. Mrs Kearney had a large iron shed that she was willing to rent for storage of cement, and could lend the use of a dray whenever required. Arthur Heath, Tobacconist, would ("if Mr Stuart Murray's name be given") allow specifications for sub-contracts to be displayed at his shop. Advertisements for local tenders could be placed in the Murchison Advertiser.

Obtaining materials for construction would be difficult. A little sand could be got in the creek near the site. More could be obtained from a paddock owned by Mr McKendry of Arcadia, four miles to the east of the site, but it would need to be washed free of dirt. McKendry asked a royalty of 3d per cubic yard, and would cart the sand to the site for 6/- per cubic yard "perhaps". Alluvial tailings were to be had at Rushworth, within one mile of the railway. Monash was advised to write to Gordon Moore C.E., Shire Engineer, for samples and prices. Gravel could be taken from heaps in the road just west of Gregory's Hotel, Murchison, but this too was dirty and would need to be washed. It had been brought from Mount Buffalo by Mick Twomey, Hotel Keeper, of Murchison, who said it had already been approved - presumably by the VWS. Twomey also supplied sand and spawls from the same source, with gravel at 9/6 per yard delivered to site. He delivered sand to Davis, the general contractor for the irrigation channel, at 5/- a load, cartage only. Other contractors for cartage included Joe Metcalfe, A. Wilson, and James Murray, apparently all from Murchison. C J Gibbons, auctioneer, of Murchison, had a paddock that contained gravel and stone, though it was "dirty & inferior".

A Mr Keady owned the paddock on the west bank of Muddy Creek, and a Mr Flynn owned a (the?) paddock on the Violet Town Road. A useful bridge, unfenced but strong, crossed the creek 15 chains upstream of the site, and belonged to Mr Henry Cochran of Murchison East. It would be necessary to fell and dispose of ten large trees and grub about six stumps. A narrow gorge 165 feet upstream from the site could be blocked with a bag dam, to divert the creek. The diversion (or "byewash") channel would need to be cut well to the west of the site for clear outfall. Dewatering of the trench would be best done by a Pulsometer pump with a portable steam engine, several of these being available for hire in the district. Trial pits dug by the VWS, 16 feet deep, showed stiff sand, completely dry. The approach road was "dead level" and also quite dry at the time.

Subsequently, Stuart Murray Junior wrote to Monash recommending gravel from Noorilim estate, the property of Samuel A T Finlay. As noted above, Monash travelled to the area on Saturday 29 December, to meet Finlay at Wahring railway station, and Mrs Kearney – presumably at Murchison East. He also probably helped foreman E Galway get settled in the job. Galway's reports from site commence on 31st.

Appendix 2. Reconnaissance, Subways I to VI

Monash's instructions for Alex Lynch

The following is a verbatim transcript of Monash's "notes and agenda", dated 31 January 1908, for Alex Lynch's reconnaissance of the area for Contracts A and B.

Re Goulburn Subways. General notes & agenda for local enquiries.

  1. The six Subways are to be numbered I to VI in Roman numerals (and so referred to in all documents) commencing at the Subway near Wahring which will be No. 1 and ending at Subway at 21m 4c which will be No. VI.
  2. Local observations at site of each Subway:
    1. Easiest mode of access from nearest public road.
    2. Route to and from nearest Railway Station.
    3. Route to and from nearest sand & gravel supply.
    4. Nearest post office.
    5. Nearest lodgement for men.
    6. Condition of creek or depression to be crossed by Subway
      • its state in summer
      • its state in winter
      • liability of floods
      • practicability of entire diversion
      • probable scheme for dealing with flow during construction.
    7. Amount and nature of clearing required to comply with Specification Clause "Clearing" page 7.
    8. Water supply for concrete gauging
      • for keeping concrete wet
      • for testing works.
    9. Present state of adjacent earthworks, i.e. present terminal points of completed channels & embankments.
    10. Arrive at an appreciation of the best order of timing extraneous earthwork with concrete work, in each case.
    11. Condition of the Government [survey] pegs, both line and level.
    12. Examine results of trial pits, to see if any drift sand likely to be met with in excavation.
    13. Investigate extent of temporary fencing and gates, if any, required at each site, and what is the usual local practice herein. See Specification page 7.
  3. General observations:-
    1. State and usefulness of plant at Kearney's. [See Appendix 1.]
    2. Names and addresses of Carters, sand and gravel getters, and Muckwork contractors.
    3. Definite quotations for earthwork – payment in all cases to be based on excavation, not on embankments.
    4. Probable best order of taking the Subways having regard to winter conditions; i.e. take most dangerous cases first.
    5. General question of sand supply.
    6. General question of gravel supply.
    7. Question of housing and campage at sites distant from townships.
    8. Consider desirability of housing foreman at some central point and providing him with permanent use of horse and buggy.
    9. Investigate local practice regarding compliance with Specification page 11 "Sanitary Condition of Camps".
  4. Herewith:
    • Map of district.
    • Detailed list of distribution of materials required at each site.
  5. Return one copy of these notes with your report.

Lynch's Reply: Local details, Subways I to VI

Lynch's detailed reply to Monash's agenda (Appendix 2) occupied nine pages. Subway I was 3¾ miles from Murchison East railway station. Sand could be obtained from Findlay's at 5/- royalty per cubic yard. J Maidment of Moorilim had offered to cart it for 11 pence per yard. There were no boarding houses in the district, but an empty house was available for rent. Water for concreting could be obtained from a nearby farm dam, but would need to be cleaned. Gravel could be obtained from a property eight miles away, owned by E Cassidy senior, who had just bought it from Twomey. Cartage would cost 8/- or 9/-.

Subway II was 3½ miles from Arcadia railway station. The road between was good for the first half a mile, and "fair" for the remainder. There were several sources of sand. J McKendry had quoted 4/6. Boarding accommodation was available for the workers, but they would need to provide their own bedding. The cost of a diversion channel would be prohibitive, because the creek had cut deep at that point. It was now dry, but would be bad in winter. This subway should therefore be given top priority. Stream flow could be catered for by building a wooden race to span the subway trench. There were about 30 trees and stumps to be cleared and grubbed, at an estimated cost of £6 to £8. An exploratory pit showed good loamy clay, which would allow shaping of the trench without timbering (see Fig.1.). No extra fencing or gates would be required for this site. M Cullen of Arcadia had offered cartage for 4/- per ton. For excavation, the best offer received was 1/- per cubic yard, from J McAuliffe of Moorilim. No gravel or stone was available "at reasonable cost". Water was readily available for concrete.

Subway III was 5½ miles from Arcadia station. There was an offer of sand from G Kay of Arcadia East at 4/- per cubic yard. W McKay had made an offer for excavation and J McAuliffe for cartage. No water was available for concrete. The soil was good; no clearing was required; and there was no need for urgency. Subway IV was 6 miles from the Arcadia station, but the last half mile was along the reserve for the irrigation canal and bad in wet weather. Water was available 40 feet from the site. McKay and McAuliffe were again named as subcontractors. Lynch commented: "This subway has the heaviest earthwork of the lot". He placed it third in order of priority.

Conditions at Subway V were similar. A local diversion was practicable. Kay and McAuliffe would again subcontract for sand and cartage. Lynch foresaw this site as the "central station" for campage for sites III to VI. "The men employed on the four jobs could board here. Mrs Mason will run up house." The site for Subway VI was generally similar, though there would be little flow, even in winter. Low banks would protect the excavation trench. Water for concrete would need to be pumped 250 yards. Once more, Kay was mentioned for supply of sand, McAuliffe for cartage, and McKay for excavation. Stone could be obtained, but "would need breaking very small". Heavy clearing was necessary at sites IV, V, and VI, and J C Connell's tender of £35 for all three had already been accepted by RCMPC's General Manager, John Gibson.