Port Authority Building, Melbourne VIC

The company's founders, Lauritz Hansen and Otto Yuncken, considered the Port Authority Building in Melbourne, completed in December 1931, to be the company's finest achievement. Alf Ludlow, who joined as Hansen Yuncken's first apprentice in 1921, recalled its construction: "The first time I saw piles put down was at the Harbour Trust (Port Authority) Building in 1929. They were timber piles, not concrete, and were driven by a weight carried up an erected gantry with guides on it. The pile was strapped with a ring around the top to stop it from splitting. They drove it until it didn't move after so many drives. If it refused to move, they considered that it had reached the bottom.

"The gantry for hoisting materials had two wheels right at the top, which had to be greased every day. That was a job for the rigger, to climb up and grease the wheels over which a rope ran down through a snatch block and back to an electric winch. The bell, which was a triangle rung by a piece of cord, would be heard by the winch driver and he would lower the skip. There used to be a man travelling on the skip, but that was later stopped.

"After 1925, Hansen Yuncken would have been the leading builder in Melbourne and we kept pace in all our multi-storey jobs with new machinery. From that point, we increased our capacity with a bigger mixer. We got what they call a bag mixer and there were usually two bag mixers on the city jobs. We were able to put that in the basement in the early stages and we built hoppers for the trucks to bring in the sand, the screening and the cement. They would be shot down a chute to the lower floor and Darkie Austin, who was our main concrete man, and Bill Alley, would be in these pits, and they'd lift the lid of the bin and shoot the sand and the screenings into the hoppers that had levels marked on them. If it was a two-bag batch, you'd put your two bags in and pull the level and it would shoot into the mixed, be mixed and then it would tip into another hopper that had a trap door on it.

"That was opened to fill a rickshaw, which had two wheels and a steel structure that held approximately three barrows. You could wheel the rickshaw along runs to tip it where you were concreting. In the rickshaw, the batch stayed more constant whereas with chutes the concrete tended to separate, as they made the concrete a bit too wet in those days. The standard way of mixing concrete now, using pumps and vibration, that didn't exist in my day".

 
© COPYRIGHT 2018 HANSEN YUNCKEN