FFF 73. Friday Facts & Fotos Friday 15th December 2023

West Block Southern Extension (Lot 100) Part 2

One of the most intriguing aspects of the West Block extension is that we know various parts of it were being added as the former workshops at Williamstown were being demolished. A memo from the Assistant Mechanical engineer in April 1913 states that some of the second-hand materials used to roof the West Block extension came from the former workshops at Williamstown. It does not say which parts of the southern extension came from Williamstown, but the gable-roofed bay are the most likely. The first two photos show the area in the fitting shop extension which probably came from Williamstown. Only a careful close examination of the existing structure may reveal some marks which would identify if those beams came from Williamstown. If discovered and confirmed, it would greatly enhance its heritage significance.

At least one bay in the extension was built to take an overhead travelling crane on timber beams supported by the timber frame of the building. The single track ‘walking crane ‘which still exists in 2 road extensions’ (See FFF 32) is a one-off feature of West Block which has huge heritage importance.

Although all the original equipment in the boiler riveting shop is gone, the high roof where it once stood (See FFF 47) adds to the case to have the whole of the extensions behind west block and east block thoroughly heritage investigated done before any decisions are made about the future use of these areas.

Originally the 1888 site was 160 acres. By 1962 this had been reduced to 130 acres and still employed 3000 workers. By 1982 this was down to 120 acres following the demolition of the biggest foundry on the site and the establishing of the Newport Technical College on the west side of Shae St.

The other photo shows R753’s tender and cab where the tin West Block Extension joins the original 1888 brick West Block building.

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