Sunday History Photo / Vic

Submitted: Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 03:05
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In 1941, the outbreak of the Second World War and a worldwide glut of wheat necessitated the construction of large bulk grain stores in various parts of regional Victoria. The “Murtoa Stick Shed” was commissioned by the Grain Elevators Board, and Green Bros contractors undertook construction of what was officially known as Marmalake/Murtoa Grain Store No.1. An elevator at one end took wheat up to then ridge level where it was distributed by conveyor along the length of the shed,creating a huge single mound of grain.
A shortage of steel meant that the shed was built largely from timber readily available at the time, most notably some 560 (56 rows of 10) bush-cut mountain ash poles erected straight into the ground. Some of the poles were 19-20 metres high. Concrete panels were then poured around the poles. The roof and walls of the Murtoa Stick are made of corrugated iron painted ferric red. Much of the building was done with little mechanical aid, and most of the workforce was away fighting overseas.





The “Murtoa Stick Shed” demonstrates Australian ingenuity during a time of hardship, it was constructed over a period of only four or five months, commencing in September 1941.
Bulk deliveries of grain were distributed through the Stick Shed via a system of mechanical elevators and conveyors, including a central conveyor running high along the centre of the shed. Elevators transported wheat from delivery hoppers up to ridge level where it was distributed by conveyor along the length of the shed, creating a huge single mound of grain. Braced internal timber bulkheads on either side of the shed took the lateral thrust of the wheat, and a conveyor at ground level outside the south bulkhead took wheat back to the elevator for transport elsewhere. The roof angle was sloped to reflect the same angle a pile of wheat forms naturally. The shed is 280m long (the length of five Olympic swimming pools), 60m wide and 19m high at the ridge, and had capacity to store 95,000 tonnes (or 3.4 million bushels) of grain. Deliveries of bulk wheat commenced in January 1942, and by June of that year the grain store was at full capacity.
The Marmalake/Murtoa Grain Store is the earliest and only remaining of three large sheds of an unusually grand scale of the Australian rural vernacular corrugated-iron tradition built in Victoria during the early 1940s.
Use of the No.1 shed and the larger No.2 shed, erected in 1942/43, continued for many years. (Original plans also included a No.3 Shed at Murtoa, but this was never completed.) The No.2 shed was demolished in 1975. The No. 1 shed was also becoming increasingly expensive to maintain, and its use was phased out by 1989.
The 560 unmilled tree trunks supporting the roofing timbers and iron of the Stick Shed might be viewed as a peculiar, symmetrically arranged “interior forest”. With its vast, gabled interior and long rows of poles the interior space has been likened to the nave of a cathedral.





When the Stick Shed ceased to be used for grain storage after 1989, plans were made for its demolition. However an Interim Preservation Order was served by Historic Buildings Council (HBC) in December 1989 and by December 1990 the shed had been added to the Historic Buildings Register. Debate continued over subsequent years, with frequent calls for the demolition of the building from some sources and persistent arguments for its preservation from others.
Ultimately, the Heritage Council of Victoria undertook a large-scale program of work to stabilise and repair the Stick Shed, including the repair of damaged poles and installation of galvanised wire “netting” to cover the entire roof area. Work is being undertaken to provide permanent public access to the Shed, separated from the activity of the surrounding grain receival complex. Application has also been made to have the Stick Shed added to the Commonwealth Heritage Register.

There will be a little surprise for next week...stay tuned.

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Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 07:52

Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 07:52
Thanks again Doug. Waiting in anticipation for next week.
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Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 08:34

Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 08:34
Nioce ome Doug and its just up the road from me
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Reply By: raincloud - Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 09:14

Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 09:14
My knowledge of history tells me the "outbreak of war" occurred in 1939!
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Follow Up By: Ken - Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 09:36

Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 09:36
Read Doug's post again, it does not say war broke out in 1941 at all. It says in 1941 the shed construction was commenced, as a result of the outbreak of war.

Ken
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Follow Up By: raincloud - Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 12:56

Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 12:56
no it doesn't ken!
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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 15:53

Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 15:53
"In 1941, the outbreak of the Second World War and a worldwide glut of wheat necessitated the construction of large bulk grain stores in various parts of regional Victoria."

In 1941, factor A and factor B necessitated the construction etc.

It does not say that factor A occurred in 1941. It says construction was necessitated in 1941. What he has said is perfectly correct. There may have been less potential for confusion if he had said: "In 1941, the Second World War and a worldwide glut of wheat etc

Bob
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Follow Up By: Nutta - Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 19:04

Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 19:04
I agree with Ken on this, its like three separate events, one being time (1941), one the war and the wheat glut.

Thats how I read it anyway.
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Follow Up By: raincloud - Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 22:34

Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 22:34
in 1941 (comma) tells me that was when the outbreak of war commenced. The comma is used to indicate what occurred after its use.e.g. in 1941,factor A occurred.
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Follow Up By: Nutta - Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 06:34

Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 06:34
I was a bit of a dummy in school! You maybe right.
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Follow Up By: Lyn W3 - Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 07:05

Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 07:05
Splitting hairs aren't you Raincloud.

Anyway Doug, have a great trip and looking forward to another Sunday posting next week.

Reading your posts on a Sunday morning has become a ritual in our house

Cheers
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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 15:22

Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 15:22
Who cares.? Lovely post Doug, enjoyed reading that and the pics are great
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Reply By: Member - Murray R (VIC) - Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 10:02

Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 10:02
Doug
I called in there in late 2011 hoping to see inside, but it was closed to the public so could only see the outside. It is an amazing shed and still worth a look evan if you can't get inside.

Murray
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Reply By: Bazooka - Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 11:41

Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 11:41
Odd, but fascinating. Thanks Doug.
AnswerID: 514777

Reply By: Peterpan - Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 11:47

Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 11:47
Doug . Thank you for another great history lesson . I really enjoy your Sunday posts . I worked around that area many times , boarded at the local pubs . It was surprising what was erected without machinery to help the builders . I doubt if anything could be built like that now as all the knowledge has been lost or it would be too hard . I know that I have tried to show people how to use an axe , crowbar , or shovel properly but they could not be told . Another thing you could not cut the trees down in the forest for the shed . I worked with a ex WW2 bloke in the 1950s who said most people think manual labour is a spaniard . He was a supervisor but would get in and work manually as hard as anyone . I would hate him to see what prevails now .
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Follow Up By: gbc - Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 19:20

Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 19:20
It's just a big shed - not that hard to do from a professional point of view. Nice to see some good old school knee joins and trussing. If you have the means I'll knock one up for you :)
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Reply By: Povertypete - Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 21:04

Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 21:04
Hello Doug
Love your sessions. What do you know about the only remaining supply store at Macrossan near Charters towers.
Been in there and it is amazing in the size and construction used. Again all timber and may well be of interest to many of the Explore Oz people

Pete
AnswerID: 514805

Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 02:57

Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 02:57
Thanks Pete, i will check it out when I am at home.

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