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Unbuilt Monier Arch Projects, page 4.

Nathalia: Monier Arch Project.
Murray Valley Highway (Blake St) over Broken Creek.

Two Monier arch spans over a shallow creek with gently sloping banks. The abutment blocks and central pier are shown founded just below the soil surface.

Drawing: J. Thomas Collection.


This project is one of the few multi-arch designs prepared by M&A. The Engineer for the Shire of Numurkah, James Meldrum, seems to have been sympathetic to Monier, but was sure his council would refuse to outlay the capital necessary to have a Monier bridge rather than a timber one. Monash argued that his bridge would present less obstruction to debris at time of flood, but it has a pier in the centre of the waterway. This is probably because an arch of 100 feet span would have had a greater rise, and the approach embankments necessary to raise the road level would have been inappropriate (as well as expensive) as the bridge was to be at one end of the town's main street. The last M&A letters pushing the cause were written at a time of intense opposition to Monier in Bendigo. Five years later, Monash offered a reinforced concrete T-girder bridge for the same site, but there is no evidence that he was successful.


1901/08/16: Meldrum to M&A, at the direction of his council, asking them for a quote for a Monier bridge. [This is apparently in reply to a letter from M&A.] The bridge is to carry the usual loads for a crowd loading on a Road Bridge together with a Rolling Load (Bullock Wagon or Traction Engine). A sketch shows the traction engine with a wheelbase of 9 ft and wheels 7 ft apart laterally. The front wheels are 3 tons and the rear 3.5 tons. Meldrum notes that the railway station is half a mile from the site.

1901/08/20: "Rough Preliminary Estimate" for two Monier arch spans each of 50 ft with a rise of 7 ft. Prices are calculated for several possible widths: 25', 30', 35' and 40'. "Tender 1250, 1430, 1600, 1760." All prices include 25% contingencies and £200 profit. The calculations are by JM with alterations following a conference with JTNA on 21st.

1901/08/20: Meldrum to M&A. Because of floods, with a lot of drift and snags "I am of opinion a Monier Structure would just be the thing - but the cost as you know with a Shire Council is of more importance to them than efficiency …"

1901/08/24: M&A to Meldrum, enclosing a proposal and specification for "Broken Creek".

1901/09/06: JM to Meldrum. (Private.) JM asks if Meldrum can give M&A an unofficial opinion on their design and if he has any suggestions as to how they could secure a contract with the Council.

1901/09/16: Meldrum to M&A, saying the Council is unlikely to accept the cost of a new bridge. They will probably decide to fix the old one.

1901/10/02: M&A to Meldrum sending details of the Coliban bridge. "This contract was given to us by the government without calling for tenders, a fact which shows how much confidence the Victorian Public Departments have in the Monier system."

1901/10/02: M&A to Meldrum. (Private?) By reducing the elaborate nature of the bridge and reducing the width of the roadway to 20ft we could bring the price within what Council can afford [about £1070].

1901/10/02: Argus. "Monier Bridge Building." M&A write refuting the rumour that a bridge which suffered local failure in Buckie, Scotland, was a Monier bridge.

1901/10/02: Bendigo Evening Mail. An anti-Monier letter from W. Wilson of Bendigo, describing them as "mud bridges".

1901/10/02: JM diary: "Heavy anxiety re Bendigo test" [of the High St bridge].

1906/01/23: Sketches for a Monier girder bridge. Elevation. Two cross-sections, one with 3 girders, one with 5 girders.

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Proposed Ross Road Bridge, Kyneton Shire
over the Coliban River.

Single Monier arch with masonry spandrels and earth infill. The left hand abutment is founded on piles driven to rock. It requires a sizeable approach embankment. The right hand abutment is a massive concrete block situated on a bank that rises to road level.

Drawing: J. Thomas Collection.


Ross Bridge (or Ross's Road Bridge) was one of a number of bridges required when roads were relocated to allow for the formation of the Coliban Reservoir. Most of our notes on relevant correspondence were published in the dossier on the Coliban Spillway Bridge. They are considered worthy of reproduction here because the project has some interesting features. A local engineer, W. T. Chaplin volunteered to act as M&A's agent in Kyneton, providing information, lobbying councillors, and liaising with the Shire Engineer, Thomas Ewing, on their behalf. The proposal failed mainly because the terrain was flat and the arch would have required high approach embankments. The partners differed on strategy. JTNA suggested the firm accept low or zero profit in order to gain acceptance of the new technology in the region, while JM preferred to treat the project on its individual merits. The proposed span was 60 feet and the rise 9'-4".


1901/03/01: Chaplin to M&A. Reports he has seen Mr Ewing MCE, the Shire Engineer who will be glad if JTNA will make an appointment for Thursday 21st at Kyneton. Chaplin has taken levels over the site of Ross's Bridge and will plot these and forward them. He asks if M&A want holes sunk to test the foundation.

1901/03/05: Chaplin to M&A. He sends cuttings from the Kyneton Guardian concerning the previous Saturday's Council meeting [2 March 1901] … The Water Supply Dept will provide money for new bridges on the sites of the present "Ross's Bridge" and "Manning's Bridge". Ewing thinks a Monier arch would be inappropriate for Manning's Bridge because the long embankments on each side will be unsuitable as abutments where there is much thrust and because an arched bridge would require higher approaches. He thinks the Ross's site is the more suitable. Chaplin will take levels and obtain information so that M&A can supply an outline design. Ewing wants it made clear that he will not feel bound by this activity to accept any M&A proposal.

1901/03/05 : Newspaper Clippings. The Department will reconstruct Ross's Bridge and the approach on Hardie's Road at a higher level. The Engineer of the Kyneton Shire and an engineer of the Victorian Water Supply will meet to survey routes and obtain estimates. These are to be submitted to the Shire and the Department. The works are to be carried out under the supervision of Kyneton Shire officers.

1901/04/23: Chaplin to M&A. A covering note with a clipping from the Kyneton Guardian of 16 April 1901 concerning the proposed bridges (Ender's, Ross's and Manning's). The newspaper notes that decisions on the scheme have been delayed by the illness and death of Mr Maxwell, the late Shire Engineer.

1901/04/23: Chaplin to M&A a cross-section of the Ross's bridge site and a clipping from the Kyneton Guardian of 16th April which summarises the existing situation. Ewing will allow M&A to compete for the contracts. Chaplin will help Ewing to make up estimates for WSD "and shall do all in my power to further matters here."

1901/06/28: Chaplin to M&A. "… I desire to place before you the position of affairs in regard to the question of Monier bridges for Kyneton.
(1) Mr Stuart Murray [Chief Engineer of the Victorian Water Supply Dept.] met the Shire Engineer and Councillors interested and discussed with them the Engineer's estimate of cost of roads. Included in the Engineer's scheme were two bridges known as 'Ross's' and 'Manning's'. The former is to have stone abutments and rolled steel joists, and a sum of £1000 is allowed which included 16 chains of approaches. The second or Manning's bridge estimate was cut all to pieces by Mr Murray so that a timber bridge of the commonest type is alone possible. The estimate for the whole works as modified was agreed to by Mr Murray and he will recommend that the sum of £4400 be allowed. The work will be carried out by the Council, progress payments being made periodically by the Dept. If the works cost less than the estimate the Dept will save accordingly; if more, the Council will make up the deficiency.
As to our chances, I have seen several councillors all of whom assure me that as Mr Murray has accepted a definite scheme the matter is settled. I have strongly urged upon them the necessity of saving future maintenance charges but they are slow to grasp this advantage and are disposed to consider the matter closed. One of the councillors however, who carries great weight in the Council chamber has promised to consult Mr Ewing on the subject.
(2) Mr Ewing's position is to use his own words - 'I can't say that I'm in love with the thing but am not averse to giving it a trial.'
If we can successfully combat the prejudice against Monier bridges which has grown up in the minds of Councillors since the regrettable occurrence at Bendigo I think Mr Ewing will be inclined to be helpful. This however, Mr Ewing thinks we will have much difficulty in doing especially as there is no advantage to place before them except the saving in maintenance, the Dept being the gainer by the reduction in first cost.
(3) As to the position of Mr Armstrong - editor of 'Kyneton Guardian'. The leading article in that paper which you received (not from me) was as I mentioned to your confidential assistant, inspired. Obtaining his information from such a source the editor is disinclined to accept any explanation I can offer since he regards me as an interested party. I showed him the article written in the B & E Journal in reply to 'A Young Draughtsman' but he considers it beside the mark. He is on the whole favourable to the Monier system, as a system, provided proper supervision is exercised and he sees more clearly than do Councillors the advantages in first cost and maintenance to be derived from its use. The position he takes up [regarding the failure of King's Bridge, Bendigo.] is that the abutment was improperly constructed of concrete containing a portion of pipeclay and failure was only to be expected. This of course is grossly unfair and casts an imputation upon everyone connected with the bridge from Professor Kernot downwards.
Having thus placed the position of affairs before you I would respectfully suggest
(1) That a letter be inserted in the Guardian dealing especially with the editor's aspect of the affair
(2) That Mr Murray be approached with regard to Ross's bridge and also the Departmental bridge over byewash
(3) That when an opening occurs the Council be written to on the subject.
I shall be glad to meet you when passing through Kyneton and shall also take the first opportunity of calling upon you in town."

The letter from "Young Draughtsman" appeared in BEMJ, 15 June 1901, p.182. It is reproduced in full in our Dossier on King's Bridge, pp.76-77.

1901/09/17: Chaplin to M&A. Because tenders were not advertised in today's Argus he has been unable to get access to the plans of Ross's Bridge.

1901/10/05: Chaplin to M&A. In the previous day's newspaper [name unclear] Chaplin read about the testing of a Monier bridge at Bendigo and "as the Shire Council meets today I thought it advisable to have a paragraph in the Kyneton Guardian to keep the matter before people and hence my wires to you yesterday". There is no further news regarding the calling of tenders for Ross's Bridge. Chaplin will be "in town" on Monday and will call at the M&A office. He encloses the "para" inserted in the Kyneton Guardian of 5 October.

1901/10/12: M&A to Chaplin. Thanks for the drawings etc re Ross's Bridge. We think we can compete with this with a 60 ft arch, but the large amount of earthworks (7000 cu yd) will overshadow the cost of the actual bridge. Please investigate the earthwork items very carefully as "we shall have to cut it very fine".

no date: Sketch plan, estimate, and tender.

1901/11/01: JM to JTNA [visiting GF&Co in Sydney] re "Ross Creek". He encloses a letter from Chaplin received that morning. "It is all very well for you now to say that I ought to have tendered for both jobs at £1250." There follows a great deal about who said what, and what was allowed for what. JM had to include profit and contingencies. "It would be better not to attach blame to me until you had all the facts properly before you".

1901/11/04: JM to JTNA. The accepted tender was £1066, or nearly £200 below our Monier tender. So you will see that this job was hopeless from the first. It is nearly £100 less than Dwyer's bedrock prices.

1931/10/01: JTNA to JM. JM's letters were delayed. Re Ross Creek: in view of Chaplins's advice I think you should have cut the first tender, evidently unless we are absolutely lowest tender Monier will be overlooked.

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Saltwater River Bridge, Footscray/Melbourne.
Monier Arch Proposal.
To connect Hopkins St and Swamp Rd (Dynon Rd).

Map showing road names as in 1896. The Saltwater River runs roughly from North to South. The bridge carries a road running roughly West to East. On the west side of the river it is called Hopkins St - on the east side Swamp Rd. Taking off in a north-easterley direction is Footscray Rd. Map showing road names today. The waterway is now the Maribyrnong River. Hopkins St is unchanged. Swamp Rd has become Dynon St. Footscray Rd is now Kensington Rd. The name Footscray Rd is now applied to a road running south of Hopkins St and Dynon Rd, and roughly parallel.

The Saltwater River is now known as the Maribyrnong River. There have been confusing changes in street names since the date of this project. The left hand sketch (above) shows the names used in the M&A files, based on a map of 1896. The right hand sketch shows the current names. To add to the confusion, Footscray saw it as the 'Hopkins Street Bridge'; Melbourne as the 'Footscray Road Bridge', or the 'Swamp Road Bridge'; and M&A called it the 'Footscray Bridge' or more often the 'Saltwater Bridge'. (There were several other bridges across the Saltwater).

The old map referred to is a Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works map in the State Library of Victoria Map Collection, 821.09A 1895-, Melbourne 1896. What appears to be a road reserve (un-named) is shown on the approximate line of the present-day Footscray Road.


This was a joint project of the Footscray and Melbourne city councils to replace an aged timber bridge. Originally the new bridge was to be high-level and this deterred M&A from proposing that Monier arches be used. When they discovered that plans had changed and the bridge was to be no higher than the Anderson Street bridge, they felt confident enough to offer two Monier arches of 95 feet span with a shipping clearance of 22 feet, though obliged to work in great haste. This was only six months after the collapse of King's Bridge, Bendigo. As usual the municipal engineer had prepared a design for a conventional bridge: in this case a two span steel truss. As two of the Footscray councillors were involved in the local steel bridge industry and one at least intended to tender for the project, M&A found themselves once again in conflict with local vested interests, but had little time to prepare and publicise their case and lobby councillors. The story of this project illustrates Monash's persistence in seeking business. When it became clear that Monier arches would not be accepted, he offered a Monier deck for the steel version, tried to arrange with Cowley of Ballarat to build the steel superstructure, and then tried to obtain a subcontract from the successful tenderer to supply large-diameter Monier pipes to form the barrels of the piers.


no date: Melbourne City Council specification for approaches and abutments for a New Bridge over the Saltwater River at Footscray Road.

no date: Melbourne City Council specification for the superstructure and pier of cast iron cylinders for a New Bridge over the Saltwater River at Footscray Road.

1901/01/11: M&A to M. Walsh (Footscray councillor) who has been trying to see JTNA. JTNA will have difficulty meeting him owing to pressure of work.

1901/05/22: H. Roth to M&A Bendigo. Re Saltwater Bridge, Roth encloses a cutting from today's Age.

Herman Roth, JM's cousin, worked as M&A's clerk. At the time the letter was written JM was overseeing work in Bendigo.

1901/10/31: JM to JTNA (Sydney), sending a cutting from The Argus which may be of use in JTNA's negotiations "with the American Jones".

1901/11/01: JTNA to JM. He has received the newspaper notice re Footscray High Level Bridge and will take it to H. Jones.

1901/11/23: JM diary: "Evening at home, at Saltwater".

1901/11/24: JM diary: "All day Saltwater".

1901/11/24: M&A to Brabet, asking for a quote re piles.

1901/11/26: "Saltwater Bridge. Monier Design." Extensive quantities and costs, including a rough graphical thrust line calculation and design of a footpath consisting of Monier slabs on outrigger steel cantilevers.

1901/11/27: JM to Saddler. [V. J. Saddler, principal of Baxter and Saddler, major civil engineering contractors. Provided finance for several M&A projects.] Melbourne City Council are calling tenders for the abutments and approaches to the Saltwater Bridge. Contributions will come from the Melbourne City Council, Footscray Council, and the PWD. The estimate is £9,000. The job as it stands is very attractive as M&A have plenty of experience in masonry and concrete. However they could provide a Monier bridge - the whole for well under £10,000 with "handsome profit" showing a saving [presumably to the Councils] of £5,000. It would have two spans 95 ft long (two-thirds the length of Anderson St which cost £7000 all told). However the Saltwater Bridge is a little wider and more ornamental, raising the cost by £2000. The PWD is already favourable to the idea of a Monier Bridge (M&A have seen them) "and it only needs a little influence with the City [of Melbourne] Councillors to make our alternative offer so attractive that it cannot be ignored. Mr Mountain, the City Surveyor is not likely to prove obstructive. He is well versed in the Monier method, and advocated its adoption at Anderson St … Only, he will naturally prefer to see his own design realised, even if it cost £5000 to £6000 more! His excuse for not getting into touch with us on his own initiative, will be that he had no idea we could do Monier at a price to touch his design. We, on our part, would have been on the track of this, weeks ago, but were misled by being told this was to be a high-level bridge (90 feet above the River), and it was only this week, when the plans were exposed to view, that we learnt it had been decided to have a low level bridge, same height as Anderson St." JM thinks it essential to get the sub-structure contract, to be in a position to press for the use of Monier. Can Saddler come up with the deposit and assist with negotiations subsequently?

1901/11/29: JTNA to Mountain, enclosing two copies of Engineering Record [21 Sept. and 19 Oct.] and pages from Engineering News of September 26th. The first has two articles on "Concrete Steel Construction" of which JTNA spoke to Mountain yesterday. The second has some very interesting remarks on the Brooklyn Bridge. The Engineering News article is on "protection of iron". This same issue had a leader concerning "Steel vs Armoured Concrete" citing the Goat Island Bridge, Niagara.

1901/11/29: M&A to Jones. Re the new Footscray Bridge, the [metal] design is for two lattice spans of 102 ft each by 12 ft deep designed for 20 ton loads. "The difficulty will be that the Engineer informs us the City of Footscray, which contributes 40% of the cost, is the stronghold of the local bridge manufacturing interest, two of the Councillors being actually interested in it, and one of them making no secret of the fact that he will be a tenderer." It is almost certain the Engineer will be obliged to insert a clause saying that all work is to be done in this State.

1901/11/29: JM diary: "Spend evening alone at office on Saltwater Bdge."

1901/11/30: JM diary: "All aft + evening at home, tracing Saltwater Bdge. Monier design."

1901/12/01: JM diary: "Go to see Mr Saddler at 12, re Saltwater. All rest of day at home on this."

1901/12/02: JM diary: "Evg. in office with Herman completing Saltwater tenders."

no date: "General Provisions" including a note "Revised Tender", with a total £8186-13-4.

no date: "Final Monier Estimate" Cost £7610, profit £2000. "Tender at £9610."

1901/12/03: M&A to Joint Sub-Committee, City of Melbourne and Footscray Councils. Letter covering M&A's alternative tender for £9610 for their Monier design.

1901/12/03: Tender document for abutments and approaches for New Bridge over Salt Water River at Footscray Road to Engineer's design.

1901/12/03: Alternative tender for complete construction, including the approaches, of a two-span Monier bridge "the papers comprise a drawing, general description and outline specification." Total £9610 including approaches. This should save the councils £4000 and be a better, more handsome and more durable structure. Then follows a list of Monier arches built so far in Australia. [See end of para.] A "General Description" points out that the Monier proposal provides increased headway under the bridge, while at the same time reducing the cost of the approaches. (The deck is one foot lower than for the steel alternative.) On the east it shortens the approach embankments by 25 feet. On the west it permits a level road from the bridge westwards along Hopkins St. The headroom below the crown is 25 ft above low water i.e. 2'-6" more than in steel. A clear headway of 22'-6" (which steel provides) is available across a width of 40 ft "giving a practicable shipway of 60 ft under each arch". The design load is 30% higher than at Anderson St and the finish is superior. Monier is to be used in the cylinders of the central pier. The "Outline Specification" shows that the arches were to have a clear span of 97 ft, a width of 28 ft, and a rise of 16 ft. Their thickness at the crown was to be 17", and at the haunches 21". The spandrils were to be of lime concrete, faced with brickwork set in lime mortar then tuckpointed, or rough cast plastered. The footpath was to be of Monier plates 3" thick with 2" of tar paving, supported on cantilevers of 6" × 4" steel channel at 10 ft centres. The pier superstructure was to be of lime concrete with a 12" quarry bluestone ashlar facing. Expansion joints of 1½" were to be left at the abutments and central pier. The substructure of the pier below water was to consist of six cylinders, 6 ft internal diameter, filled with concrete and sunk to bedrock. There were to be piles under the west abutment "as shown on the drawing".

The arches listed are: Anderson St [Morell]; Fyansford; Wheeler's; Davies; High St, Oak St, Wade St and Booth St Bendigo; Woolert; Barber's Ck; Abbott St, Bendigo; roofs of subterranean pump chambers at the New Havilah, Charlotte Plains, and Junction Deep Leads mines; White's Ck and Forrest Lodge Aqueducts, Sydney; Strathfield Railway Station overbridge (4 × 60 ft); and "several railway over bridges, and country road bridges in NSW".]

1901/12/03: M&A to Mountain. Encouraged by our conversation with you and information from the PWD and Footscray Councillors, we have taken the liberty of submitting an alternative tender. "We have endeavoured to express the fact that you would be vested with the amplest powers to see that all the provisions … you may require would be embodied in the contract."

1901/12/03: JM to Saddler. Woodruff & Crosby came in lowest at just under £8000. The tenders will come before Footscray Council tomorrow evening and the Melbourne City Council next Monday. So we must try to influence them to accept our Monier tender of £9610 for the whole, which will still show a saving of about £3500 on the whole. "We [M&A] will do all that is possible with the Footscray Council, if you will be good enough to see what can be done with the City of Melbourne Councillors whom you know." JM lists the MCC Public Works Committee as: Bowen, Sir A Snowden, Pigdon, Baxter, Weedon, Tait, Burston, Morell, Burton, Pleasance, Davey, Hennessey, Cook, Grey, Sir S. Gillott.

1901/12/03: M&A to Walsh. "We will be in attendance at the Town Hall tomorrow and trust you will be able to seize an opportunity of allowing us to explain our proposals to your brother Councillors."

1901/12/03: M&A to W. Morton, Assistant City Surveyor, Melbourne, requesting details of the steel design and its piers.

1901/12/07: The Independent, Footscray. "The Hopkins St Bridge. The Monier System suggested. How to save Four Thousand Pounds. The sole trouble with the local council in connection with the proposed high level bridge at Hopkins St has been whether the Government work can be done for the sum of £16,000." The Government contribution is £4000. The Melbourne and Footscray councils each have £6000 in loan money. On Wednesday evening M&A showed council how the work could be done for £10,000. Mr Monash who was invited to address the council said originally M&A had heard it would be a high level bridge and so did not offer Monier [as being inappropriate] but were astonished to learn later that it was to be an ordinary bridge. They discovered this only when tenders were called. A blueprint was shown to Council. "The designs submitted to the council showed a handsome structure, of quarry-dressed stone and concrete. There are two arches and it looks more imposing than the proposed cantilever bridge, but the delegates on the bridge committee seem to fear that it would not be strong enough to carry the heavy traffic. In any case, seeing that arrangements have already been made, and a tender for the abutments recommended for acceptance, it is extremely unlikely that any alteration will be made. The pity is, as the Mayor said, that Messrs M&A didn't come forward a few months earlier when proper enquiries could have been made without inconvenience."

1901/12/07: The Advertiser, Footscray. "Hopkins Street Bridge." Similar to the article in the Independent, except "The Council, after asking them questions, informed Messrs Monash and Anderson that the matter would be considered, councillors remarking that they would only be too pleased to save the money if they could be sure that the Monier bridge would be equal to the other one. Councillor Shillabear ventured the remark, however, that the Monier bridge, from what he had heard, might prove 'cheap and nasty'."

1901/12/07: The Independent. The Joint Committee recommends the tender from Woodroffe and Crosbie. The estimate was £8000 and the reporter thinks the tender figure will be about £300 less than this.

1901/12/07: M&A to all Footscray Councillors. There is no problem with the Act (No. 1687). The Act says "of such character, design and dimensions as they (the two Councils) may approve", having a clear headway of 22 ft. Our bridge will have 22 ft clearance for a width of 50 ft under each arch. i.e. 60 ft of practicable shipway under each arch - as wide as at the Swing Bridge at Napier St. The vested rights of riparian owners upstream from Hopkins St will not be prejudiced. The present bridge provides only 45 ft.

1901/12/07: M&A to Town Clerk, Melbourne asking permission to wait on the Works Committee at its meeting on Monday.

1901/12/10: Calculations ("done with Mr. A") for Monier slabs to provide a deck for the steel version.

1901/12/10: M&A to Saddler. "Woodruff & Crosby confirmed for Saltwater."

1901/12/10: M&A to Town Clerk, MCC. Please return our deposit.

1901/12/13: Argus. "The New Swamp Road Bridge. On Wednesday the Footscray Council had under consideration a tender of Messrs Woodruff & Crosbie for £7810/13/6 for the erection of the new bridge on the Swamp-road over the Saltwater River. This tender was accompanied by a communication from the sub-committee (from the Melbourne City Council and Footscray Council), intimating that that body concurred in the acceptance. Councillor Tucker suggested some consideration, maintaining his belief that if the 'Monier' type of bridge was adopted, instead of a structure as advised by the present plans, a saving of £4000 to the Footscray Council could be made. Councillors Hills, Walsh and Stephens concurred in this view. Cr Walsh moved an amendment against the proposed adoption of the sub-committee's report for a delay of 28 days, in order that expert opinion might be obtained. The amendment was carried. Cr Tucker held that a saving of £4000 would be sufficient to enable the council to put a new bridge over the Saltwater River in place of Lynch's Bridge, close to the Flemington racecourse."

1901/12/13: M&A to Town Clerk, Footscray. In view of the action of your Council at last Wednesday's meeting please keep our drawing for information of your Councillors.

1901/12/14: M&A to Walsh. They are gratified at the action of Footscray Council. The action of the Melbourne City Council was founded on a misapprehension that any saving would simply reduce the government contribution. "We made enquires direct from Mr Davidson". The PWD contribution will remain at £4000 regardless. Can we see you to have a chat?

1902/01/08: JTNA to JM. Morton's attitude made it inadvisable for us to push the Salt Water Bridge any further. Batson of Fitzroy is favourable to Monier … but he fears the PWD will shilly shally over it for some time.

1902/01/16: M&A to GF&Co, enclosing a drawing of the Saltwater central pier. They are trying to persuade Mountain to do it in Monier, but he doubts whether the two pillars could be properly tied together. The bridge is several miles from the bay, in a tidal river, in a sheltered position, and the watershed is cultivated, so there is little chance of snags. "What we therefore require is to satisfy the conservative instincts of the Councillors, some of whom are of course engineers and would not be content to see piers going up without substantial bracing above water. We would be much obliged if you can supply us with a design suitable to meet the case, or advise us how you would proceed in the matter."

1902/01/28: GF&Co to M&A re "Monier-Cylinder Bridge Piers". They mention the Wyong and Cockle Creek Bridges and refer M&A to the report of the PWD of NSW for the year ending 30 June 1899, a copy of which was forwarded to M&A.

1902/02/06: M&A to Cowley. The possibility of Cowley joining with M&A to construct and erect the Saltwater Bridge has been discussed with Mountain.

1902/02/06: M&A to GF&Co acknowledging theirs of 28th and 4th and drawings, and thanking them for their trouble. M&A have lodged proposals with Mountain, but do not have much hope.

1902/02/09: JM diary: "All day home on Saltwater quantities and Fyansford appeal".

1902/02/14: M&A to Bennie Tears & Co., asking for a quote on steel for the Saltwater Bridge.

1902/02/14: M&A to Jones asking for a quote for the supply of steel for the Saltwater Bridge.

1902/02/17: JM diary: "Evening at office preparing tender for Saltwater superstructure".

1902/02/18: Baxter & Saddler to M&A. They have put up the deposit money.

no date: Estimate: 
 [price] for a steel bridge:£6172-16-06
 Correction for difference in price of steel:  757-05-00
 "less Monier"  940-00-00
 Note: Monier Alternative6172-16-06
 less  720-00-00
no date: Tenders 
 Formal tender [presumably for steel version]:£6929
 Alternative tender with Monier deck
and Monier pier cylinders instead of cast iron:

no date: Note added to the estimate for steel: "Winning tender was £6882".

1902/02/18: JM diary: "Lose Saltwater job by £50 or so".

1902/02/18: M&A to Baxter & Saddler. Unsuccessful in today's tendering for the Saltwater Bridge, by £300 or £400. If it had not been for Cowley making difficulties about standing to his very favourable offer for making girders, we would have got this job.

1902/02/18: M&A to Dorman Long. Re your interview with our Mr Monash today, we offer to erect the central pier at the Saltwater Bridge with Monier cylinders (as done in NSW) for £650. In lieu of trough plating and concrete on the roadway M&A offer Monier plate 10½" thick for £750.

1902/02/19: JTNA to Cowley, mildly remonstrating. M&A and Cowley could have got the Saltwater Bridge contract. He hopes Cowley will join them again, so that the work put into this attempt will not have been fruitless.

1902/02/21: Herald. The Public Works Committee of City Council has accepted Dorman Long's tender for the Swamp Road Bridge.

1902/03/03: M&A to Morton. Please can we have back the drawing of the Monier cylinders and bracing for the NSW Government, lent you last week?

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Footbridge, Ballarat: Arch Proposal.
over the Yarrowee Channel.

Slender single Monier arch without spandrel walls. The footpath is supported above the arch, on short columns, or perhaps stub cross-walls. The deck and handrail follow a parabolic path, of less curvature than the main arch, and rest directly on arch at the crown.

The title and figuring are in Monash's handwriting.
Sketch: Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Co. Collection, University of Melbourne Archives.


This project is a rare example of an open-spandrel concept from M&A. The project receives only a passing mention in the M&A archives. There is no separate file. No working drawings or detailed calculations have been located. Reference to the "Glasgow footbridge" occurs only in a bunch of notes concerning five possible bridge projects across the Yarrowee Creek and in the Town of Ballarat (Ballarat East), to which M&A were probably alerted by its engineer, W. Robertson. The sketch of the arch version of the footbridge appears on the back of a sheet relating to one of the other projects. Only one of the sheets in this bundle carries a date (3 April 1903), but that is also the date of the newspaper clipping announcing the loan allocations for civil works, so the footbridge project has been tentatively assigned to that date.


1903/04/03: Newspaper clipping listing Council-approved expenditure on civil projects. "Town Council Loan." This includes: "Glasgow footbridge £108". Attached is sheaf headed "Notes for Ballarat East Quotations". These propose either "a Monier flat-plate bridge constructed with two piers in the creek bed, each of two Monier columns"; or a "single arch 52'-6" clear span with jack arches over spandrils". The main arch was to have a rise of 5 feet. Computations for the quantities suggest an average thickness of 6". The design loading was 100 pounds per square foot. Rough estimates showed both alternatives would cost about £100, but it was noted that "the arch type will give a handsome and light appearance".