Crumbling buildings seem to be a theme I’ve been following of late, and at Newmarket station I have found a crossover with my interest in trains. Located in Flemington on the Craigieburn line, Newmarket station has the main brick building on platform 1 located on concrete piers and beams, with a cantilevered verandah sheltering the waiting passengers.
It appears the soundness of the structure was called into question in 2012, when four acrow props were placed beneath the veranda, with plastic safety fencing and timber pallets tied to them in a half-arsed attempt at stopping passengers walking into them.
I first photographed these ‘temporary’ supports back in March 2012, and they ended up staying in place for over a year! It took until April 2013 for proper repairs to be carried out, when the complete cantilevered verandah was demolished and replaced by a freestanding but utilitarian looking timber structure.
So if the platform verandah was causing issues, what else is wrong with Newmarket station? Heading to the street side exposes them straight away.
We have an angled acrow prop reinforcing the entire south-eastern corner of the building:
There are cracks between the eastern wall and the foundations below:
Three steel beams have been bolted to the eastern facade to reinforce the brickwork:
With two more acrow props needing to be installed to support the wall above:
A beam on the southern wall no longer sits atop the column it was designed to, with two acrow props and a steel beam taking up the load:
How was the remains of this beam ever supposed to support a load?
Concrete encasing a different beam on the southern wall has cracked, exposing the steelwork inside:
A steel girder entering the western wall only rests upon a single course of brickwork, due to a chunk of concrete going missing beneath.
The concrete of the citybound platform retaining wall is damaged, exposing the reinforcing bar:
And finally, I found three cracked concrete columns, all with the steel reinforcing bars showing.
So how long has the building been falling to bits? Jumping onto Google Street View I found this image dated November 2009, which still shows the original timber access ramp to the station, but doesn’t show the collection of acrow props that hold the rest of the station up.
So what is going to come first? Demolition, or proper repairs?
A photo of Newmarket railway station circa 1911 can be found on the ‘Lost Melbourne’ Facebook group – from the Graham Griffiths collection. It also notes that the current brick buildings date from 1922.