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Photo: c.1996. Coordinates: -37.8275, 144.985
For historic images see:
1. On this website: [Photo of leading personalities] [Photo of Load Test].
2. At UMAIC (University of Melbourne Image Collection) search under Record ID for UMA/I/6285 and UMA/I/6287. If contacting UMA concerning these images, refer to Location Numbers BWP/23877 and BWP/23878 respectively.
3. On Picture Australia search for Anderson Street Bridge and Morell Bridge.
It is almost certain that John Monash had little to do with this bridge, although many people are convinced that he designed and built it. Our researches suggest the bridge largely owes its existence and form to Carlo Catani, then Chief Engineer of the Public Works Department of Victoria, and W. J. Baltzer, Chief Designer of the Sydney firm of Carter, Gummow & Co. This firm was responsible for construction. The original contract drawing held by the Melbourne City Council confirms this. The Monash & Anderson partnership acted as local representatives of Carter Gummow until the contract was secured. They helped Gummow negotiate with Catani, conducted a site investigation and acquired materiel. In June 1902, when Monash learned he was lowest tenderer for the Barham-Koondrook lift bridge, he sent the Chief Engineer of the NSW Public Works Dept a fully detailed list of their experience in bridges and made no mention of Anderson St. More evidence appears below.
How did the legend arise? The design and construction of this bridge did mark the beginning of a career in reinforced concrete construction that contributed greatly to Monash's pre-war prosperity and high social standing. Some such notion, perhaps expressed by Monash himself, may have transmuted into a general belief that he personally designed and constructed the bridge. Also, when submitting tenders, or offering to work as consultants for municipalities, Monash and Anderson sometimes included the Anderson St Bridge in listing their experience. This was fair enough, as they undoubtedly had privileged access to CG&Co personel; to the computations and drawings; and to the site. They also included Princes Bridge, on which Monash had worked as a junior site engineer. None of their colleagues in the small and close-knit world of engineering in Victoria, would have seen these references as a claim to full responsibility for these bridges.
The Monier system of construction was patented in 1867 by Joseph Monier, a French manufacturer of garden ware who made planter pots of coarse mortar reinforced with a grid of small-diameter iron bars. The technique and patents were gradually extended to cover, amongst other things, arch bridges. These applications were forcefully developed and promoted in the German-speaking world by a number of licensees, amongst whom G. A. Wayss became dominant.
The first Monier arch was a small footbridge built on the estate of the Marquis de Tilière near Chazelet, Indre, France, in 1875. Haegermann, G., Huberti, G., and Möll, H. Part B, p.67.
W. J. Baltzer, a German immigrant working for the NSW Public Works Department, was kept informed of these developments by his brother and in 1890 returned to Germany to gather information [Fraser, 1985]. Back in Australia he tried unsuccessfully to interest his superiors in the new technique; then joined several businessmen to obtain licences through Wayss to cover the Australian Colonies. Their vehicle was the firm of Carter Gummow & Co which, after small trial projects, obtained contracts to build two large arched sewage aqueducts over Johnstone's and White's Creeks in Annandale, now a suburb of Sydney. These were completed in 1896. Baltzer moved across to become effectively the Chief Engineer of the company.
It is probable that Carter Gummow reinforced normal professional interest in the new technique by promoting it through engineering societies and journals and at exhibitions. In 1897 Baltzer described the system to the Engineering Association of NSW; and Carter Gummow's stand at the Engineering and Electrical Exhibition in Sydney was given extensive coverage in the Building Mining and Engineering Journal. In September of that year W. C. Kernot, Professor of Engineering at the University of Melbourne, mounted an exhibition on the subject aided by his counterpart from Sydney. Gummow let it be known he was in Melbourne and available for interview. Monash was at this time preoccupied with his role as an advocate in a number of legal disputes requiring engineering knowledge, and was absent from Melbourne for long periods. Anderson recognised the opportunity for the partnership to establish itself as Carter Gummow's sole representative in Victoria and took the first moves to effect this. Late in September 1897 he had a "highly satisfactory" meeting with Gummow and initiated negotiations over the future relationship of the two firms and the role which the partnership would play in the building of the Anderson Street Bridge. Simultaneously he began to promote Monier concrete as an option for replacing the decaying timber bridge at Fyansford near Geelong, using the product of the local cement works. [Fyansford.]
FAQ: "Was Anderson St named after J T N Anderson?" I understand it was named after a Captain W A D Anderson ADB Online who lived in Fairlie House on that street.
The Anderson Street Bridge was built across a new channel cut to eliminate a sharp S-bend in the Yarra River. The aim of the diversion was to alleviate flooding upstream, provide promenades, and beautify the banks as places of assembly. The old course of the river had been crossed by a footbridge, but local residents and land owners organised a petition asking for a vehicular bridge and Carlo Catani, Chief Engineer of the PWD, was keen to see a bridge "connecting the ornamental drives where people go to see and be seen". It was agreed that the Melbourne City Council would share the cost equally with the PWD. In May 1897, W. Davidson, Inspector General of Public Works, described plans for a bridge with "three spans of 100 feet with brick abutments and cylinder piers, the superstructure to consist of timber trusses " At the end of September, Anderson called on Davidson to "prime him re [the] new concrete & iron construction" and "found him strongly in favour of that type of construction".
On 28 October Carter Gummow produced a drawing showing the profile of a 100 foot Monier arch, a typical pier and two mass-concrete abutments. The drawing included the graphical results of computations for the position of thrust lines under various loading conditions, including the effect of a steam roller moving across the bridge. A small half-cross-section hinted at the architectural treatment at deck level. Early in November, Davidson and Catani promised Gummow the job if he could do it for £5000. Gummow's estimate was £5400 and he was willing to forego the £400 for the sake of the future business that would flow from completing such a prominent project. A month later Catani recommended that the bridge be built in Monier - in preference to timber trusses, or iron girders, resting on cast iron cylinder piers. Late in March 1898 the City Engineer, A. C. Mountain concurred. The south end of the bridge rests on rock, but the northern end rests on alluvium. CG&Co had provided for a somewhat larger foundation block at this end, but Catani insisted that the block be supported by piles, increasing the cost by £200. Despite the enthusiasm of the engineers for the Monier alternative, the Minister of Public Works required that competitive tenders be called for timber-truss and iron-girder versions as well, and advertisements appeared on 2 July 1898.
It appears that the plans and specifications were prepared by the PWD, the drawing for the Monier version being based on CG&Co's with the addition of 32 ironbark piles and a grid of horizontal timbers to support the north abutment block. In their efforts to persuade the City Council to contemplate the new form of construction, the engineers had proposed that only 50% of the cost be paid to the contractors until the arches had withstood the load test, and that in the event of failure CG&Co would be required to rebuild the whole of the bridge above springing level free of charge.
In the initial negotiations between M&A and CG&Co, Anderson had been keen to build the bridge under subcontract to the Sydney firm, but it was finally agreed that M&A should act simply as their representatives: assisting with negotiations, supplying local information, and providing office facilities. However, M&A would be ready to step into a more active role if this proved necessary. The Minister's aim in calling tenders was to encourage other general contractors to quote for the bulk of the work, including in their price the cost of having CG&Co or M&A construct the patent Monier arch rings under subcontract. With Gummow's approval, Anderson quoted a high price for this item, to lessen the danger that other contractors would win; but he still feared they might be willing to undercut CG&Co's price for the entire prestige project. His consequent attempts to pressure CG&Co to reduce their price led to a cooling of relations between the two firms. Anderson was particularly annoyed when Gummow stated in discussions with Catani that he could not guarantee the Monier arches unless the foundation on the north side were again modified to improve its resistance to the inclined thrust from the arch. Catani allowed £500 for this, further reducing the competitiveness of the Monier alternative.
Although the lowest tender for the steel alternative was well above that for Monier, the PWD delayed its decision. Gummow warned that he might be obliged to increase his price, as the cost of cement and timber was rising. Catani responded by accusing him of "breach of faith" and let it be known that the lowest tenderer for the iron bridge was willing to reduce his price by £1000. However Gummow played his cards well, declaring that if the PWD and Council would rather have a cut-rate version of the steel design than a soundly-built Monier bridge, so be it. Eventually, it was agreed that CG&Co should build the Monier bridge for £5700, and the drawings were signed by Gummow on 10 October 1898.
Before the project started, M&A arranged for the purchase of an old gantry to provide timber for the centering of the arches, and ordered the timber piles for the north abutment. Early in November, Gummow was in Melbourne to get his manager, George Forrest, started on the work. The formal contract was signed on 18 November, and the first progress payment of £1200 was made to CG&Co on 13 December, the date of a drawing showing measured dimensions of excavations for the piers. The bridge was built in the dry channel before the river was diverted through it. This reduced the cost of the centres, as they could be supported directly from the channel bed rather than spanning from pier to pier. Each arch was built in three parallel strips and the joints between these can be seen on the soffits. Letters in the M&A archives suggest the first arch was completed in mid-February 1899. On 24th of that month the Minister for Public Works, Mr Taverner laid the memorial stone. The M&A records are unclear on the dates for the other two arches, but they seem to have been complete by mid-April. Once an outer strip had been turned the spandrel walls could be built on it. When an entire arch and its walls had gained sufficient strength, earth fill was compacted between them to form the roadway.
The load test took place on 20 July 1899. A load of 100 pounds per square foot (4.8kPa) was spread over one half of the span tested and a 15 ton steam roller was run once back and forth over the arch. The test was attended by leading Melbourne engineers as well as Gummow and the Commissioner of the NSW Public Works Department. [See links to historic images at top of page.] The NSW Commissioner had been supportive of Baltzer and Gummow's attempts to introduce Monier to Australia and gained most of the credit in one press report. The bridge could not be used immediately by traffic because the access roads had not been completed. As a result the Fyansford Bridge at Geelong, built by M&A, became the first Monier arch bridge in Victoria to take traffic, albeit unofficially, in December 1899. (It was officially opened in February 1900.)
In June 1900 the longitudinal joint between the middle and western strip of the northern arch, which had been mysteriously plastered over, showed signs of continued cracking. An investigation of the span revealed cracking also at the upstream end of the north abutment. Possible causes were slight subsidence of the piled foundation, or horizontal movement due to the thrust from the arch. The latter hypothesis seemed reinforced by the observation that the top of the parapet curved downwards, suggesting that the north end of the arch was moving outwards and allowing the middle to sag. CG&Co argued that the sag had been built into the parapet because the foreman had not made use of a surveyor's level in setting it out. There were no observable signs of distress in the arch itself and the bridge is still standing.
Like other reinforced concrete structures built at the time, the bridge had inadequate concrete cover over the reinforcement. Spalling of the sides and soffit of the arch rings over ensuing years left many areas of the reinforcing grid exposed. This was repaired in 1943 with mortar pneumatically sprayed from a 'cement gun'. In the 1990s an inspection recorded that the decorative render was delaminating; there was again severe localised spalling of the concrete of the arch ring; and the bottom layer of reinforcement was corroding in areas subjected to wetting and drying. There was significant carbonation of the concrete in the soffits, making the reinforcement vulnerable to further corrosion. There was evidence of differential movement between adjoining spans and minor abutment movement, and the spandrel walls were found to have moved laterally. Restoration and stabilisation was carried out in 1994, and a system of cathodic protection installed. In 1998 the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic.
Restoration work done in the 1990s is described in the journal Civil Engineers Australia, August 1994 (p.4). The same journal reported in August 2007 (p.58) that the City of Melbourne had engaged consultants Connell Wagner to check the safety of the bridge under its present load of pedestrians and cyclists, plus occasional Council maintenance vehicles of up ton 9 tonnes weight. In February 2007, 15 strain gauges were fixed to the soffit of the northern span and a tip truck loaded to a total weight of 21t was used to apply a load test. Also, a three dimensional finite element computer model of the bridge was prepared representing the arches, spandrels, earth fill, and foundations. There was good agreement between the results from the computer analysis and those measured in the field. The conclusion was that the bridge can safely perform its present role.
Strong claims have been made for John Monash and J. T. N. Anderson, individually, as designers and builders of the bridge. Evidence assembled by the research team suggests more contenders: Baltzer, Gummow, and Catani. Before each of the project phases is considered in turn, it will be useful to note that for much of the relevant period Monash was preoccupied with his legal work and for long periods absent from Melbourne. It took some time for Anderson to persuade Monash to break one of his Melbourne-Brisbane trips long enough to visit the CG&Co works in Sydney. Once Monash did so he was enthused, but it is unlikely that he could spare time in Melbourne to offer much real support. The following absences occurred during the timespan of the Anderson Street project.
|Period of travel.||Destination(s)||Notes|
|21.09.97-12.10.97||Sydney, Brisbane, Sydney, Riverina.|
|01.11.97-24.12.97||Sydney, Brisbane, Sydney.||JM met Prof. Warren of Sydney University.|
|07.03.98-29.03.98||Riverina, Sydney.||JM visited CG&Co and spent a morning with Baltzer.|
|20.04.98-03.05.98||Riverina.||JM noted this was followed by "2 wks heavy work at office and home re Riverina".|
|23.05.98-14.06.98||Sydney.||JM again visited CG&Co.|
|07.07.98-19.03.99||Perth.||Both of these dates may be in error by a few days.|
Anderson also was often absent, but for periods of only a few days at a time. He also was heavily involved in concurrent projects, but because of their nature and geographical location he was able to share his time amongst them.
At the back of one of his diaries Monash tabulated his periods of absence from home, both with his wife and alone (including military camps). For 1897 the total is 124 days, all alone. For 1898 it is 40 days with his wife and 99 alone.
It is futile to ask who originally conceived the Anderson St Bridge. The desirability of a bridge in a particular location is evident to many people. What is more important is the effort of steering the project through its political and financial hurdles, and the making of decisions concerning the interlinked questions of form, constructional material, and cost. How many spans should the bridge have? How wide should it be? Where should the piers be placed? These issues were presumably the province of politicians and government engineers. The decision to use two intermediate piers, involving spans of 100 feet, was probably made to provide a broad navigation span and leave the banks free for public access, having regard to span lengths obtainable economically with contemporary materials and structural forms. It would have been reasonably straightforward for an experienced engineer and presumably taken by those of the PWD.
The real question for us is: who first suggested that the bridge be built using the Monier system? Given Monash's absence in September 1997 and preoccupation with other matters, the most likely candidates are Anderson and Gummow. Gummow was a graduate of Melbourne University and had a brother living in Ballarat who later helped M&A lobby for a major bridge in that city. Gummow made regular visits to Melbourne from his base in Sydney. It is likely that he had good contacts in the Melbourne engineering world and kept a finger on its pulse. In favour of the claim made for Anderson, the M&A archives show that he was active in proposing Monier for the Fyansford bridge as early as September 1997, so he could have played a similar role at Anderson Street. However, nothing is preserved in the archives to show that he did so, while his activities with regard to Fyansford are very much in evidence. My best guess is, therefore, that it was Gummow himself who initiated moves to build the Anderson Street bridge in Monier. It is likely that he had organised advance publicity for the Monier system through professional journals and societies and he was definitely in Melbourne to promote its use in this case. Once the project was launched, Anderson was pro-active in keeping CG&Co abreast of developments and conducting negotiations on their behalf (naturally keeping M&A's long-term interests in mind). However, he always referred decisions to Gummow, and the latter on occasions came to Melbourne for direct discussions with Catani. Anderson took the initiative in establishing and developing the links between M&A and CG&Co which placed his firm in such an advantageous position in Victoria; but this issue must be distinguished from that of the conception, design and construction of the Anderson Street Bridge.
For structural engineers the process of 'design' covers more than the initial conception of structural form. Engineers do not claim to have 'designed' a structure until they have demonstrated that it can satisfactorily perform its main task of bearing load. In almost all cases proof is by calculation, carried out before construction commences. The profile of a Monier arch was determined entirely by technical considerations. It was carefully chosen to ensure that the "dead" weight, comprised of the arch itself plus the spandrel walls and earth fill, would cause no bending in the arch ring, thus ensuring that stresses would be compressive and uniform over its full thickness.
The calculations for the final design consisted of a single page of mainly tabular figuring and one drawing plotting the thrust line on the arch profile. For a detailed explanation (which assumes some knowledge of mechanics) click here.
It is certain that this process was applied to the Anderson Street Bridge in the CG&Co office, as the results appear in the upper left hand corner of their drawing of 28 October 1897 (Dossier, Appendix B). The right hand side is occupied by studies of the effect of general traffic on the bridge (represented by a uniformly distributed vertical pressure) and the more complex effects of concentrated load from the wheels of a steam roller. The existence of this drawing suggests that Baltzer or an assistant under his direction performed what most engineers would consider the design of the bridge itself. During a Royal Commission into the awarding of the Annandale contracts it was said that a Mr Kern had carried out routine computations for CG&Co, but since Baltzer brought the Monier technique from Germany he should probably be given the credit for this drawing.
On the other hand, the existence of the drawing does not completely rule out a contribution by Anderson. The semi-graphical technique for determining arch profiles was not as new as the Monier system, having been developed for stone arches.
An earlier example was its application to stone arches by I. K. Brunel in the 1830s [Owen 1976]. Brunel also used a more sophisticated form of curve-fitting, applying calculus to a polynominal equation.
It is likely that Anderson, a graduate of the Royal University of Ireland, was familiar with it. From September 1897 he was actively engaged in the Fyansford Bridge project and on 5 October 1897 sent CG&Co a schematic design for which he may have done calculations (although the only record is of CG&Co sending profiles in response). During the Fyansford and later Monier arch projects, Anderson performed at least some calculations in parallel with CG&Co and disagreed on certain dimensions, though he deferred to CG&Co as holders of the patent rights. It is therefore quite possible that he made calculations and drawings in respect of Anderson Street which were subsequently lost. Yet, the absence of any mention of this in the correspondence, compared with frequent reference to his role in the Fyansford and Wheeler's Bridge projects, suggests that he did not in this particular case. A phrase in his letter to CG&Co of 22 June 1898: " assuming you have perfect confidence in your design ", seems to confirm this.
The other obvious contender for the title of 'designer' is John Monash. In the National Library archive is a copy of a small journal entitled "SALT: the Authorized Education Journal of the AMF and RAAF". This contains an article written by 'J.F.' who states categorically that it was by the design and construction of the Anderson Street Bridge that Monash firmly established his career as an engineer. [Vol. 1, No.11, 8 Dec 1941, pp.19-21.] However, the period when detailed design could have taken place runs from 30 September 1897, when Anderson held his first meeting with Gummow, to 30 November of that year when Catani received CG&Co's drawing. During this period Monash was in Melbourne only from 12 to 18 October and from 27 October to 1 November, during which time he was heavily involved with his legal cases. It is unlikely that he could have played a significant part in the conception and design of the project and there is no evidence of this in the archives. It was as late as August 1901 that he educated himself on the effect of isolated loads on arches (e.g. steam roller wheels), studying formulas and tables supplied to him by Baltzer.
A letter of 27 January 1898, when both partners were probably in Melbourne, suggests that M&A wished to consult CG&Co's design for Anderson Street in order to prepare their own design for Fyansford. CG&Co replied: "Re Fyansford - we forward litho's of the Yarra Bridge shewing the cross-sections, strains & etc. We fail to know exactly what details you require but they will be similar to the Yarra Bridge".
M&A and CG&Co used the word 'strains' where modern engineers would use 'stresses'.
Computations for Monier arch rings remained at a basic level in the M&A office until Monash rejected arches in favour of reinforced concrete girders in 1903. Profiles were determined solely for dead load plus uniform live load and the simple computations involved were mostly carried out by trainee engineers. For most of the arches, checks on the effect of unsymmetrical loading during testing were not as elaborate as those made by CG&Co in their drawing of 28 November 1897.
The claim of Catani is based on a source which cannot be dismissed: Gummow himself. On 19 August 1899 the Building Engineering and Mining Journal published a photograph of the bridge with the caption: "Designed by the contractors Messrs Monash & Anderson". This was probably the origin of much of the present confusion. Gummow wrote directly to the journal asking that they correct the 'error'. He asked M&A to ensure that this was done and to find out who was 'to blame'. His letter crossed with a hastily written apology from Monash. The journal accepted blame for the misinformation and complied with Gummow's request, reprinting the photograph with the caption "Designed by the Department of Public Works Victoria Messrs Carter & Gummow contractors" and added a note that " the Victorian Public Works Department designed the work, which has been carried out under the supervision of Mr C. Catani by Messrs Carter Gummow & Co. The Victorian representatives of the Monier system Messrs Monash & Anderson assisted". Gummow then wrote to M&A expressing his satisfaction and noting "we were particularly anxious that the Work Dept, & Mr Catani especially should get due credit".
The records of the PWD show that Catani was an active promoter of the scheme to straighten the Yarra, beautify its banks, and allow the citizens to promenade around a circuit formed by both sides of the river and the Princes and Anderson Street bridges. It was probably he who oversaw the original conception of a bridge with three spans of about 100 feet each, capable of carrying traffic, and ornamental rather than utilitarian in character. He maneouvred to ensure that it was built in Monier concrete as an economically practicable substitute for a prestigious stone masonry bridge and appears to have played a role in convincing the City Council to contribute to its cost. That PWD engineers were familiar with the computational processes is evident from Gummow's statement that the design had "been carefully studied by the Dept and outside Engineers, and by them considered stable". The final form of the northern abutment seems to have come from the PWD, because M&A informed CG&Co "Your drawing has been added to by showing a piled foundation under north abutment " It is therefore likely that Catani played an important role in finalising the design, as he did in pushing it through the political and financial planning stages and it was presumably this contribution that Gummow wished to recognise.
However, I still believe that Baltzer (with perhaps a junior associate) should take the major share of the credit for the engineering design. A number of letters written after the bridge was finished suggest that M&A returned the drawings to CG&Co and that the calculations were not retained either by M&A or the PWD. When cracks were discovered in the bridge in June 1900 and July 1901, both Catani and M&A turned to Baltzer for reassurance. He visited the bridge, and they accepted his assurance that there was no fundamental problem.
The claim made on behalf of Monash is again the simplest to resolve. Construction started in the first week of November 1898 and the test took place on 20 July 1899. Monash was in Perth for all of this time except for a brief visit to Melbourne from about 19th March to 12th April 1899 and a period of a few weeks after his final return from Perth on 4th July 1899. (Monash's visit at Easter 1899 was to attend a military camp, and by this time turning of the arches was well under way.)
Although M&A assembled materiel for the start of work, and probably assisted with boring to determine the depth of rock at the north abutment, there is much evidence to contradict the hypothesis that they constructed the bridge itself. On 20 July 1898, Anderson wrote to Monash "I, loyal to my promise to you, did all in my power to avoid taking responsibility for works portion of this contract " and on 26 October 1898: "Gummow is coming next week to start his manager here". This was a reference to George Forrest who later became Gummow's partner. For a time it was hoped that M&A's foreman, Christian Christensen, would be subcontracted to build the centres for the arches, but Anderson's letter to Monash of 14 December 1898 suggests he did not: "I have been down there three times, and do not think I ever saw a job more extravagantly managed or rather mismanaged The centres and temporary bridge for their own use are simply forests of timber without much regard for design etc etc". On 20 July 1899, after the bridge was completed, M&A wrote to CG&Co concerning the arches at Fyansford " we are now on the eve of commencing the construction of Monier work in Victoria on our own behalf " To these and similar facts may be added the evidence of correspondence concerning the BEMJ article, mentioned above.
Anderson himself was on site early in the operations, mentioning to CG&Co on 28 September 1898 that he was going to assist Catani in setting out the bridge so that the PWD could start excavating the foundations. However, it is most unlikely that he directly supervised day-to-day construction at the Yarra bridge because of his many other commitments. It is possible that he maintained a 'watching brief', advising Forrest as necessary but, once again, there is no evidence in the letter books to support this idea. The impression given by the official correspondence is that both firms saw the situation in reverse. It was arranged for Forrest to supervise turning of the arches at Fyansford, and to be present at Wheeler's Bridge, and Anderson called Forrest in for a 'second opinion' regarding dubious soil conditions in the foundations of one of the Fyansford abutments. JTNA's strong criticism of the management of the Anderson Street project suggests that he had little to do with it.
The research team has found few clues as to the origin of the architectural treatment of the bridge. There was already some indication of treatment at deck level in CG&Co's drawing of 28 October 1897. Another drawing entitled "Monier Bridge - Melbourne" shows more architectural details including some of the stonework at half full size. The handwriting of the title is the same as that on the drawing of the Amended Northern Abutment. The main drawing and the PWD Specification show it was originally the intention to face the spandrel walls with an unrelieved surface of ashlar masonry, but someone has later sketched on the second drawing profiles of mouldings, and roughly indicated on the spandrels the form of the final ornamentation. The change from ashlar to render (possibly scored to simulate ashlar) occurred between the calling of tenders and CG&Co's submission - presumably to hold down the price of the Monier version. A clue regarding the decoration of the render is provided by CG&Co's letter to M&A of 29.6.00. "The original design was of a very plain nature without any projection in the face of the Spandrill-walls, but when the Abutments had been built and the arches completed, Mr Catani approached us with reference to a more artistic 'finish' for the elevation and we accordingly submitted a design with pilasters which he subsequently accepted."
The BEMJ report of 3 March 1900 on the test of the Fyansford Bridge compares its "bold Doric style of architecture" to the "florid Renaissance Romanesque style adopted at Anderson-street". Since BEMJ articles on M&A's work were routinely drafted by the partners, this suggests that they felt no 'ownership' of the architectural treatment of Anderson Street. The general tone implies that this was true for all aspects of the design.
In a 'Private' letter to Gummow of 23 August 1899 Monash wrote that he had especially made it his business to speak to the Editor and Sub-editor of the BEMJ and explain "exactly what position our firm occupied in the matter, and that, if mentioned at all in connection with the occasion [of the test] our names should only appear as 'representatives of the patents' and not as having any connection with the bridge". He was perhaps going too far, in the interests of diplomacy. My best estimate of the likely situation, based on written records seen to date, is as follows.
As with all projects, a number of people made important contributions. The original decision to build the bridge came from politicians and government engineers, urged on by ratepayers and landowners. PWD engineers determined the spans. The proposal to use the Monier system could have come from any well-informed engineer, but it was championed by Anderson, Catani, and Gummow. It is likely that Gummow was the central figure in this, but Anderson played an important role in intelligence and liaison and in pressuring the political and bureaucratic wings of government. Catani worked, from his position in the PWD, to ensure an optimum result in terms of stability, function and aesthetics, at least cost. He received the support of his Inspector General, Davidson. The engineering design, which determined the basic form of the piers and the profile of the arches, was prepared by or under the direction of Baltzer, perhaps with a Mr Kern carrying out the detailed computations. It is unlikely that M&A made parallel computations on this occasion. M&A ordered some materiel and took part in site investigation before CG&Co's manager, Forrest, came to take day-to-day responsibility for the actual construction. For their part in the negotiations and preparations M&A were paid £125. It is quite possible that Anderson kept an eye on construction and tendered advice, but CG&Co were probably entirely responsible for this phase. The architectural treatment of the bridge seems to have been handled by CG&Co, but the archives give no clues as to the individual responsible.
Note 1: Since our original investigation, it has been noted that JTNA told the coronial inquiry into the collapse of King's Bridge, Bendigo, that he had performed an experiment on an arch of the Anderson Street Bridge, applying a point load and measuring the resulting deflection.
Note 2: The account given above was extracted from our spiral-bound Dossier on the Anderson St Bridge and has been lightly edited for presentation here. The Dossier includes details of archival sources, dimensions, and a 'timeline' in which all correspondence known to our research team is recorded chronologically in precis or verbatim form.
Note 3: An error in quoting William Julius Baltzer's first name has been carried over into several dossiers. It appeared on page 12 of the Anderson St Bridge dossier.