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LAW AND CRIMINAL COURTS.
SUPREME COURT-CIVIL SITTINGS.
Wednesday, September 28.
(Before His Honor Sir Charles Cooper, Chief Justice.)
The Adelaide Waterworks Commissioners v. Frost
The examination of witnesses for the defence was con-
tinued to-day by Mr. Fenn, who called
R. H. Babbage,- Civil Engineer. He stated that he saw the weir before it was pulled down,and saw a large hole, through which the water was flowing. In its general appearance, the weir-was well built ; and his opinion was that, at a little cost, it could be mended, so as to answer the purpose of its erection. He thought the weight of the dam would be suffi cient to prevent any water coming through, and that it might have been mended at a moderate expense, from 500L. to 700L. The sum would not only remedy the defects, but would he sufficient to make certain additions. He should
have adopted the plan suggested by Mr. W. Hanson, and puddled the face and defended it with a dry walling, and then put a slope of earth and defended the upper part of that earth with faggots. In making the weir he would hive put puddle to the foundation by cutting a trench, into which he should put in the puddle. He would have done that, and also carried the wall at the end of the weir a little higher to prevent the water flowing back. He believed the defendants were, skilful persons as contractors for masonry. There was a very great difficulty in contending with mountain torrents. As to English experience, he did not know of a river similar
to the Torrens. In Wales there were rivers of that character. He was of opinion it would require a person of great experience to perform such a work across the Torrens. The quantity of lime required for ordinary rubble walling would be from 1 1/2 to 2 bushels for every cube yard. That would be a fair quantity for the entire ashler and rubble work, but would not apply to concrete.
By the Attorney-General - A stone roughly squared would not be ordinary rubble work. The difficulty in building in a stream could not excuse the defendant passing such work as had been disclosed by the evidence. It was not the duty of contractors to pass work, but the work done by the men of course they would pass. This witness on being further pressed for an answer upon this point, confessed himself at a loss to know precisely what the question was, upon which the Attorney-General abruptly sat down, saying he was quite satisfied with the witness, and put no further ques-
Edward Watson, one of the defendants, was examined, and stated that the Engineer was present when the excava- tions were first commenced, and as they were proceeded with down to the depth according to the specifications. Some parts were good rock, and others not so, being a sort of shaley rock. The middle was gravel and boulders. When they got to that depth they were not able to work on account of the water. Mr. Hamilton then directed him to
order a large California pump, and to set men at work upon it, which he did. Mr. Hamilton was present when the pump was set to work, and directed him to take out the further excavation at 4s. per cubic yard, according to the scale of prices. Mr. Hamilton was there the whole time till it was taken out. It took five or six days to do the work. They eventually got to a sort of bottom on the up stream side, and partly on the down stream side. A coffer- dam was made, and the Engineer went into it and one of the men stuck a crowbar into the place without
finding a bottom. Every one present was of opinion they should go further down. It formed a large hole. Upon that spot the engineer ordered the concrete to be laid. There was
a deal of water and mud and other stuff about. He was sur prised that the engineer did not order the stuff out. The men
were very anxious to go further down for a better foun- dation, but the engineer peremptorily ordered them to leave
off. Some of the men who had been in the gold-fields thought there was gold in the hole. He himself picked up a small nugget. When orclered to stop the men, they expressed themselves very much dissatisfied. The specification said that the toe of the weir should be let into the rock, but instead of that the engineer ordered concrete to be om on the rock foundation. Over the hole alluded to, the toe was seven feet above the rock. There were several streams all about the cofferdam. Some of them were very strong. Mr. Hamilton directed one of them to be caulked with oakum, which was hammered in, but the strength of the water forced it out. There was a hole near the springs, at a lower depth, which was filled up with concrete. The water from the springs was guided away while it was being done. When that was done, they began to lay down the concrete on the springs. Mr. Hamilton was present, and directed til» woii:. Mr. Hamilton gave the orders for several large stones to be thrown in, saying they would have a greater weight to keep the springs down. During the operation, after the first few barrowsful were thrown in, the water flowed into it, but after they got some height, it appeared, to stop. The concrete felt firm while the pumps were going, but it was not dry. There was not time for it to get firm. Mr. Hamilton was present at the mixing of the concrete. He (witness) was preparing gravel in the same manner as he had done for other engineers when Mr. Hamilton interrupted him, and expressed his anger, saying that it would not make the proper concrete. Mr. Hamilton was present when the lime was slacked. The proportions of lime were not according to the specification;
the proportion was 1 to 1. Previously to commencing the concrete Mr. Hamilton told him he would allow him an
extra measurement in the concrete to make up for the extra, lime; so that the quantity charged for in the accounts does
not actually exist. Mr. Hamilton was there for three weeks superintending the work, and scacely ever off
the works. There were several deviations in the
work from the specification as in respect of of letting in the shoulders to the rock one foot, and for which they were to be paid 6s per yard, but Mr. Hamilton refused to allow them to do that, saying that it would shake the rock and make it more porous. It was a disadvantage to him and his partner being prevented doing that work, as the price was good. After they finished the concrete one course of superstructure was put in, when the Governor came up to lay the stone. At that time there was about 6,600 feet of ashler stone prepared and lying near for use. Mr. Hamilton expressed himself pleased that they had got such good stones. With regard to the ashler work, when they had proceeded with the work three courses, it was determined to alter the height of the weir, and, in consequence, the templets were altered, so that the stones previously dressed, when put into their places, could not lie perfectly close and had to be
packed. Remembered a grand breakfast being given by the Commissioners when they came to visit the weir. It was
then about a foot above the culverts and the sluice-gate was put off, to show, he supposed that the weir was watertight With regard to the rubble-work, large stones were used, and the one spoken of was visible by the Engineer, and it was the custom when a large stone was used to have it standing and build up to and around it. The water during the pro- gress of the work was dammed about 17 feet, and towards completion springs below the weir which had previously been dry began to burst out again, and damp presented itself on the ashler, shewing that the water was rising inside the weir. According to the specification the whole length of face was to be ashler work, but there was 31 feet at each end
in the upstream side, which was nothing but rubble. The alteration was made by the order of the Engineer. The face of the sluice-house was also rubble. He (witness) never de - viated from the specification without. Mr. Hamilton's authoritv.
By the Attorney-General-The Engineer deviated, he con- sidered, in the making the concrete. A part of the concrete base was laid on a part that was not solid.
A paper was here handed to the witness, endorsed " Mr. Watson's depositions" signed by him, and which he acknow- ledged. It contained a particular declaration as to the accu- rate performance of all the work by him, and also that the contents of the hole before alluded to had been emptied and the concrete base put upon the solid rock.
In explanation, Mr. Watson said Mr. Hamiiton wrote him a letter making an appointment to meet him one Tuesday, and on the day? appointed, without waiting for his attendance, Mr. Hamilton came to him before he had finished his breakfast, and said that there was going to be an enquiry and examination about the weir, and he wanted him to state what he would say, and then sat down and wrote the paper and read it to him; but when he came to that portion having reference to the cleaning out of the hole he stopped him and told him he could not say that, as to his knowledge, it never had been cleared out. Mr. Hamilton then said that he had taken it out himself to the rock, when he (witness) was away at the quarry, and urged him to sign the paper. He was quite staggered at first to hear the request made by a gentleman in the posi- tion of Mr. Hamilton, and repeated to him that he could not sign it. He then said that if he was examined upon it he could say that he knew nothing about it, and being still pressed, and not wishing to get him into trouble, he (wit- ness) was induced to sign the paper. He knew at the time that what Mr. Hamilton told him was false, and still be- lieved so. At the time the paper was written there was a slight sediment below the weir. An alteration in the height
of the weir would not make any difference in the batter of the face to the up stream. In consequence of the altering in the elevation, the stones would not set so
close. He himself knew the effect would be, that the joints would be opener than they otherwise would. He did not tell the Engineer his opinion, because he was such an intrac- table man that he would have pronounced it an invasion of his dignity, if he, holding a subordinate post, had ventured to speak to him about it. He did not think that the altera- tion would make the stones unfit. He did not mention it to Mr. Hamilton, as there were so many deviations previously made. The excavation of the shoulders was not according to the specification. He considered making the concrete was one, because he was certain, from his experience, that there was not enough gravel or sand to make it unite. He considered the rubble face of both ends was a deviation.
The position of the Valve-House being shifted was a devia-
William Hawker, foreman to Messrs. Frost & Watson, was examined, and confirmed- Mr. Watson's evidence as to the work being under the direction of the Engineer. And with regard to the toe of the weir, stated that, when they got down to the rock, the Clerk of the Works said that it ought
to be stepped in, but that the Engineer directed them not to do so, and some large stones - some upwards of a ton weight - to be placed outside the work, saying they would be suffi cient to protect the weir. Those stones were after wards carried someway down the stream when the flood came.
By the Attorney-General-When he saw the water rising from the springs under the concrete, the stream was carried away in another direction.
Edward Johns, mason, stated that he was employed at the weir laying the concrete. It appeared to be nothing but sand and gravel. There was no appearance of lime. He supposed it was from the water in the concrete. The engineer was there many times, and often came by him while at work. There were some very large stones in the rubble. They got in some very large ones against the ashler, which the engi- neer saw. The mortar seemed to be very good. It was made at the side of the river, and at a spot that the engineer crossed in coming to the works. Two large stones on one occasion were condemned by the Clerk of Works; and he, in consequeuce, took them up and threw them over the wall. The engineer frequently walked over the courses of ashler while being
David Sands, architect and surveyor, said he was not an engineer, although he thought he had as much right to that title as others, who called themselves engineers, he said he was employed as Clerk ol Works at the weir, to see that the work was performed, and to carry it out according to the engineer's instructions, He resided at a cottage about a quarter of a mile from the weir. When he commenced his duties the superstructure was not begun. He had no oppor lunity of examining the foundations. He could just see the top of the cofferdam, which was full with concrete. The superstructure was commenced by putting foot stones and a course of ashler the whole length of the weir, Mr Hamil ton was present. He (witness) saw the first layer of rubble also put on. The plan was to lay down a casing of ashler and then put in the rubble, leaving a space in the centre for the concrete core. It would take a week to lay one course. He was present when the first course was laid and during the whole progress of the work, except near its com- pletion, when he was absent through illness. The materials used in the construction of the weir were of the best kind, according to specification, but not such as he should have used. The lime was good, and no better could be supplied in this colony. If stones had been teamed into the weir he should have seen It, but he never saw anything of the kind. Mortar was used with the rubble in laying the courses. In the specification the ashler was to be hammer-dressed, but the contractors had chisel-dressed the face; and at his sug- gestion they chisel-dressed the sides or joints two or three inches, to make a closer joint. It incurred extra expense on the contractors and was quite gratuitous on their part. - The
cement used was Portland and the best that could be used
The quantity used was sufficient. The cement lying thinner and closer would be difficult to be carried away. He believed the terms of the specification had been carried out as regarded the cement. He was of opinion the cement surround- ing the rough part of the ashler-stones was carried away by the water inside. After the weir was finished he saw water come through the down-stream face but none through the ashler on the up-stream side of the weir. He could not say that the water did not enter through the rubble facing at the ends. The rubble was ordered by the Engineer. He thought that the water might have risen through the foundations. If water was rising in the cofferdam within which the con- crete was laid it would rise to the superstructure. After the concrete was laid the water was rising in it. He (witness) pointed it out to the engineer, and recommended a puddled core wall. That was before the core wall was commenced, but the engineer would not hear of it. The effect of running water upon such concrete as was used would be that the lime would run out. The shoulders were done under his (witness's) direction, and properly done. The contractors never objected to do what was requested. Mr. Hamilton was at the works two or three times a week during the whole time; he believed, he was there at least 86 times during a period of six months. When Mr. Hamilton came up he always went over the work. The work was measured by him (witness), but not checked by Mr. Hamilton. He witness) measured the work and made out the account according to the schedule of prices, and handed it to defendant's clerk to
cheque, and then he reported to Mr. Hamilton, and upon that the defendants were paid. He remembered the course of grouting near the completion of the work. That was not in the specification. He (witness) wished to have it done before, nearer the base, but was not allowed by the engineer. He (witness) considered grouting added to the security of the weir. There was some caulking done in the culvert by the direction of Mr. Hamilton, and some on the face of the weir, but that was not till after the work was com- pleted.
By the Attorney-General-Before the weir was completed there was some dissatisfaction on account of his (witness's) taking out some quantities. There was a complaint of the
builders, and an examination, and he had to leave. While lie was Clerk to the Works he might have bean accused of being drunk, but it was not true. It had no better founda- tion than the former one, which was a complete falsehood. Never borrowed any money from the defendants while on the work. Since then he, had borrowed a pound from Mr. Watson, for which he had given him a certificate for some stone, valued at a larger sum than he borrowed. It was im- possible to say now whether there were 1,820 cubic feet of headiug stones and mortar in the work. He knew he certi- fied for what he measured. The specification was carried out as to the number of headers. He would swear that the ac- counts he sent in were correct as to the amount of work measured. That the quantity was correct as represented by his accounts, and that the work was there at the time. The superstructure was kept dry while being made. Good mortar would set in two or three days. If brought in contact with water not much of it would then wash away. It water had risen inside there would only be damp. He had never known water rising by capillary attraction to wash out the mortar. There was a current of water right through the weir; that was the cause of cement and mortar washing away. In fact,
the whole interior was a soft useless mass, made so by the water entering the structure. He would swear that his belief was that good sound Portland cement would wash away in six months, if not properly set. It depended entirely upon the force of the stream inside. The portion now ob- servable on the outside was hard, and would not wash away. Cement would never set at all in a damp place. He did not observe any enormous stones in the concrete, and there might have been deviations in the specifications without his knowledge. The two ends were grouted with cement; but portions of the rubble face were not grouted.
Arthnr Hamilton, son of G. E. Hamilton, was examined as to the lime.
John Oatey, mason, employed at the weir, was examined as to serving the lime.
Thomas Allsop, employed in taking out the foundation, remembered the work being stopped. Helped to mix the first batch of concrete, and helped to run it into the base Two large stones, by Mr. Hamilton's direction, were put in. He wheeled most of the stones for the ashler and rubble. Never saw any wheeled in dry. He was the man who drove the iron bar through the stuff inside the dam, without find- ing a bottom. The Engineer was there, and stood close to him. It was composed of sand, gravel, and mud. The men wanted to dig deeper, but they had found some little gold ; but the Engineer would not allow them to go on. He, witness, told the contractor that if the concrete were laid in the spot it would overturn the building. A piece of yarn was put info one of the springs, but blown out again by the force of the spring. Afterwards, by Mr. Himilton's direction, he put concrete on the top of the springs. He, witness, had been employed on public works for 2 1/2 years. The mortar used was as good as any he had ever seen. On one occasion one of the pumps broke, and before it could be repaired, the
water rose and smothered the concrete. He did not think one
inch of the concrete was solid at any time. When the heavy stones were placed on the top for the superstructure, they
sunk into it. He never considered the concrete solid, nor any other person who knew anything about it, entirely in consequence of the water getting into it. Believed he never spoke a single word to the engineer about the work in his life.
Mr. Farr stated that common concrete made of lime and gravel would not keep back flowing water; it would drive out the lime. He had experience to that effect within the last two months. At the Savings' Bank there was a land spring, which they saw had been filled up with concrete, through which the water penetrated. Good Portland cement would not wash out as described.
James McCabe, laborer. was examined, to slate that the quality of the lime was good.
John Kellett, mason, stated that he furnished the cement, which was Portland, and of the best quality. In the con- struction of ashler work, packing was sometimes necessary, according to the skill of the mason employed.
By thee Attorney-General-As to cement, if it were property mixed and set, it would keep out water.
By Mr. Andrews-It wonld require a month or six weeks to set. It would set in 24 hours, but might at that time be re-
moved with a trowel.
James Harrington stated that he supplied 2,796 bushels of lime for the work; it was all good.
The Attorney-General called Thomas Young, who stated that it took from two to three bushels of lime to a cube yard
of rubble work.
By Mr. Fenn -The quantity would be less if larger stones were used, so much would not be required.
By the Attorney-General-A bushel of lime contained a cube of 13 inches.
James Matthews, recalled, stated that he saw the concrete before the superstructure was begun, and noticed it was setting hard.
This closed the whole of the evidence. His Honor ad jouned the Court to the following day at 10 o'clock, for the Verdict of the Jury.