FFF 72. Friday facts & Fotos Friday 8th December 2023

West Block Southern Extension (Lot 100) Part 1

As various sections of the new workshops were completed, the staff and much of the machinery from the Williamstown workshops were moved in. Significant areas of the new workshops were already in use when the official opening happened in December 1888.

We have covered in detail the original front section of West block in previous editions of Friday Fotos. So the information following is about the southern extension of West block. The area covered is not quite as large as East block extension, but is still huge and measures 144 metres x 97 metres. From the turn of the century to 1920, various ad hoc timber framed extensions were added. The first photo and map shows the “New” West Block extension (highlighted in blue) in the early part of the 20th Century.

The main individual extensions were originally known as the Smithy extension, boiler shop extension, erecting shop extension, and machine shop extension, according to the functions of the bays in the main section of west block to the north. However, even by 1913, the extensions had many other names listed as functions changed. When the Dorings compiled their report in 1988 other names included a fitting shop, copper smiths shop, a tool shop, and a motor garage had been added to the list. It also became the storage area for disused machinery from other areas of the workshops. Thankfully much of this machinery still exists in its original position, some of it over 100 years old.

This southern extension of West block is known as Lot 100 and is at present off-limits. The centre section most recently known as the ‘truck yard’ was seriously damaged in 2016 by an arson attack. A major section of the roof was either destroyed by the fire or had to be removed for safety reasons. The few bays remaining are believed to be badly infected by white ants and have numerous aqua props holding it up. Photo 2 shows the damage the fire caused, while Photo 3 shows areas that were less effected by the fire, but still in need of repair.

In 2019 VicTrack proposed a part demolition and rebuild of certain sections of Lot 100, but the plan was not approved by Heritage Victoria. We believe that Heritage Victoria would not approve it until VicTrack provided a heritage plan for all of H1000, not just Lot 100

We agree with VicTrack’s proposal and believe that Lot 100 is an ideal place to display the considerable amount of heritage machinery that is still in place at Newport. There is also enough space to include a large undercover railway museum.

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