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Coronation Drive (North Quay) Retaining Wall


Place Details
Place ID 600134
Registration Type State Heritage
Place Name Coronation Drive (North Quay) Retaining Wall
Place Classification Built
Place Category Transport - Road
Place Type Embankment/Cutting
Themes 5 Moving goods, people and information / 5.5 Using motor vehicles
5 Moving goods, people and information / 5.2 Using draught animals
Register Entry Date 21/10/1992

Location
Address Coronation Drive
Town / Suburb BRISBANE CITY
Post Code 4000
LGA BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL

Cultural Heritage Significance
Principal Period
of Significance
1880s (fabric)
Criterion A Constructed in 1887, the Coronation Drive [North Quay] retaining wall is as an early example in Queensland of mass concrete technology and is a major engineering achievement of the period.
Criterion D Constructed in 1887, the Coronation Drive [North Quay] retaining wall is as an early example in Queensland of mass concrete technology and is a major engineering achievement of the period.
Criterion F Constructed in 1887, the Coronation Drive [North Quay] retaining wall is as an early example in Queensland of mass concrete technology and is a major engineering achievement of the period.
Criterion H The retaining wall is as an example of the work of George E Willcocks, a contractor who was responsible for a number of large public projects.

History
History In late January 1887 Brisbane experienced severe storms which resulted in flash flooding and damage throughout the city. A couple of weeks after the floods, sections of the river bank and road along North Quay fell into the river. An existing embankment and 'dry stone wall' had been undercut and collapsed. The Municipal Council of Brisbane was advised by their Chief Engineer, Thomas Kirk, of several options for dealing with the problem. The council decided on the most permanent solution - to construct a mass concrete retaining wall at an approximate cost of £13,000. Kirk's choice of concrete rather than masonry work was quite adventurous, as mass concrete technology was new to Australia. Kirk prepared the designs and the contract was awarded to George E Willcocks. Work began in May and the actual construction time was shorter than even Willcocks' optimistic estimate - the road was opened four months later. One of the most challenging tasks in the construction involved massive excavations, the deepest being for a huge coffer dam which kept the river waters out of the site. The men preparing the foundations many feet below the low tide mark worked behind this dam with the full force of the water bearing on the other side. G E Willcocks had been involved in railway construction in South Africa in the early 1880s. After hearing of the Queensland government's plan to borrow £10 000 000 for an expanded railway construction programme, he migrated to Australia in 1885. In 1886 he began a long career in municipal and government works by winning a contract for building a storm water drainage system in South Brisbane and Kangaroo Point. Other public works followed - Stratton Drain, the Ann Street wall, the North Quay (now Coronation Drive) wall, extensive railway works in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales and the wood blocking of Queen and George Streets. The stone cappings which were on the piers have been replaced with bricks. A section of the western end of the wall was moved in 1983.

Description
Description A mass concrete wall topped by a brick parapet wall and wrought iron railing which extends for a length of about 200 metres along the northern river bank between Boomerang Street and Eagle Terrace. It is built into bedrock at depths varying from 3 to 8 metres. The wall, which is almost 1 metre thick at ground level extends by a series of gradations to thicknesses between 1.2 and 2.4 metres at the base. The view of the wall from the road reveals only the brick piers and decorative wrought iron railings of the parapet wall. At either end of the wall are marble plaques inscribed with the words 'James Hipwood Mayor 1887'. Beneath the parapet wall the concrete retaining wall is visible from the bike path and from the river.

Element
Element Name Coronation Drive [North Quay] Retaining Wall
Designer Name Kirk, Thomas
Design Period 1870s - 1890s Late 19th century
Builder Name Willcocks, George E
Construction Period 1887 - 1887
Construction Method Poured in situ concrete
Fabric (Exterior Structure) Concrete
Place Components Wall/s - retaining
Fencing

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Last updated: 15 March 2013

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