Sunday, August 07, 2016

Found at the back of the wardrobe

I was having a bit of a clean up of my wardrobe when I came across these rolled up posters. I was scratching my head for a bit. Where did they come from? The first is a terrific representation of Melbourne. There are many more towering buildings than back then.


Ah, here we go. Department of Planning and Environment, 1986. Our neighbour in Balaclava worked there and she gave us these after she cleaned out of office. Maybe she was retiring.




Too hard to read, I think. The basics are that this was a grain storage shed in the Victorian town of Murtoa. The roof rises from 2.4  metres at the sides to 19 metres at the top of the hipped roof. 560 poles support the roof and the storage shed was an emergency construction during WWII when Australia had difficulty selling its wheat overseas. It had to be kept somewhere and not wasted. Colloquially is is known as the 'Stick Shed', or the 'Wimmera Cathedral', The Wimmera being the area surrounding Muroa.

Sick of statistics yet? It was one of 22 such sheds built in Australia, 4 in Victoria and 18 in Western Australia and this one could hold 93,000 tonnes of wheat. I believe it is the only one left. It is a testament to the skill and craft of the bushmen who built it with barely any new material.


23 comments:

  1. ‘Cathedral’ is the perfect name for the stick shed. Pillars rising to the roof, what could be more like one? Kudos to the builders too.

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    1. Friko, and the photo does give it a cathedral like quality.

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  2. Remember when posters were a decorating choice?

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    1. I do Carrol, but was it a good choice? I seem to recall our wall posters were driven by the need for cheap.

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  3. Andrew so currently it is a pice of history

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    1. Gosia, and history is important.

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  4. Wow.
    I am frequently amazed at what was built without the benefit of 'modern technology'. It often looks better and lasts longer too.

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    1. EC, just making sure it stood up obviously took some serious planning. Very impressive.

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  5. Wardrobes can contain a treasure trove of history. Mine is a timeline of out of date gay fashion.

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    1. Victor, sadly when fashion repeats itself.....how shall I say it kindly....we are not the shape we used to be.

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  6. Well you never know what you will find in the back of the wardrobe.
    Merle...............

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    1. Merle, do you have an idea about what is at the back of your wardrobe?

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  7. We can easily understand that storage sheds had to become emergency constructions during WWII when Australia was losing its young men and its overseas markets at a rapid rate. But 22 such sheds built in Australia and only one has survived??

    Life is nasty, brutish and short :(

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    1. Hels, as best I could tell, it is true that only one survived. I suppose it was hard to find a purpose for them once there was not longer excess grain to be stored.

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  8. I remember reading some time ago, of similar storage for wool bales. It's kind of a shame to be a land of plenty with no one to buy.I like that last image and to find the space was built by bushmen with handcrafted materials is pretty amazing.

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    1. River, yes with people during WWII starving to death, when we had so much here.

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  9. The last time I was in Melbourne was Aug 4, 71 when migrating to Sydney with my family, previously was 44-46 three occasions enroute to the Jap conflict via Sydney, The Melbourne cup 45 and going back to the UK Jan 46. I have noticed that the Melbourne streets are easier to navigate than those of Sydney.

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  10. Back to Australia, excerpt from my memoirs.
    208 – Waving Goodbye to a Thousand Flies
    Our next port of call, Port Adelaide, was not at all awe-inspiring; we stayed only a few hours. The ship then called into Melbourne and unloaded a large number of Greek and Maltese immigrants. We travelled to the city on a dilapidated dockside tram that had been delightfully adorned with many rude four-letter words and other startling pornographic pictorial statements. We then trudged the streets. It was different from what I remembered. After finding the fairground at Luna Park closed for the winter, we went back to the ship for Steven’s fourth birthday party. Sydney, 4 August 1971. We were here at last! Although it was cold and windy, I did my level best to inform the family that this was the worst scenario and things would get better. Memories from twenty-five years ago came flooding back, but I put them aside and focused on the future. We left the ship and cleared customs. Our hold baggage was sent on later to the hostel where we would be staying. After the luxury of the ship, the hostel was a letdown. As time went on, I let the family know that this was a temporary situation. Getting out of the hostel became a priority.

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    1. Brilliant history, Vest. I assume this is all in your blog and one day when I make the time....

      So, it was 1971 when you arrived. My partner, at about the age of 21, paid his £10 and flew from Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1970. Princess Pier would have been closed by then, so I assume you would have arrived at Station Pier and there wasn't a tram then. The cable trams had been replaced by buses and the Port Melbourne Station was close by, in fact the train may well have run out onto the pier then, so it must have been the train you caught to the city. I believe the hostels were very utilitarian, freezing in winter and baking in summer. I just asked R, and he stayed in a hostel in Marrickville when he arrived but as a single person he was only allowed to stay for two weeks.

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  11. What a pity that gem of a photo was at the back of your wardrobe. Hope it will have pride of place on the wall now.

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    1. Marie, nope. It is back in the wardrobe. While our decorating style is eclectic, neither would really suit our walls. The city one might at a pinch, but certainly not the other. Perhaps I should sell them on Ebay to someone who love to frame them and have them on their walls?

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  12. Not bad. For bushmen.

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    1. Strayer, I am sure your equivalent were also excellent at such improvising, in fact I know they were. I remember Little Joe Cartwright doing some clever things with wire. I so wanted him to do clever things with me!

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