FREMANTLE HARBOUR WORKS.
PROGRESS OF THE SCHEME.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE SOUTH
Although still in an embryo tlate, the great harbour scheme at Fremantle, initi- ated by Mr. C. Y. O'Connor, is rapidly as- suming a complete form. Where but a few months ago an irregular sedgy bank was lapped hy the waters of the Swan for about a mile on the south side of the river, between the railway bridge and the breakwater at the entrance, a substantial wharf which will give berthing accommoda- tion to something like a score of over-seas vessels is fast being constructed. As the erection of the wharf proceeds a channel 12ft. deep is also being dredged parallel with it, so that vessels of light draught may berth alongside each section of the work as it is handed over for traffic. At present three large vessels are moored alongside the river wharf, viz., the Govern- ment steamer Victoria, which is under- going alterations and repairs, and the barques Alfred Hawley and Urania, both of which are loading with timber. Mr. D. Johnson, under whose supervision the wharf is being constructed, is making excellent progress with his work. Authority to construct the wharf was re- ceived on the 28th of August last year, and it was then anticipated that by next August 1,000ft. of it would be erected. So rapid was the progress made with the work, however, that by the middle of December 500ft. were finished, and in another esti- mate which was drawn up, March 31 was set down for the completion of the 1,000ft. Owing to a plentiful supply of timber being available,the work has been pushed on much more rapidly than was anticipated, and
already over 1,000ft. of wharf have been com- pleted, whilst the piling extends to close on 1,300ft, about 200ft. of which have yet to be decked. The full length of the South Quay, when completed, will be 6,200ft. Of this 2,200ft. will be set apart for tho accommodation of vessels having goods to discharge, such as heavy machinery, coal and other articles, which must be landed into trucks direct from the vessel's side. The remaining 3,000ft. of wharf is being constructed at a level 3ft. higher than the other wharf, so that goods may be dis- charged right on to the decking and trollied direct to the sheds, which will run along parallel to and partly on the wharf at a distance of 20ft. from the ship's side. No rails will be laid down on this portion of the wharf. It is proposed to erect six large goods sheds, each 300ft. x 140ft., with an intervening space of 105ft. between each building. These warehouses are being erected in accordance with the wishes of the deputation from tha Fre- mantle Chamber of Commerce and Steam- ship Owners' Association, which waited on the Director of Public Works recently, and their proximity to the vessels dis- charging will enable merchandise to be taken direct to the stores without having to undergo the double handling necessi- tated by the use of trucks. Up to the pre- sent 559,000 square feet of timber has been used in the construction of the wharf, and 20,500 lineal feet of piling. There are five piles in each bay, and in order to allow for the ultimate deepening of the channel to 30ft., each pile has to be driven to a depth
of 47ft. in the sand.
As regards the dredging operations, the work of deepening the channel is pro- gressing at a more rapid rate than ever. At the present time the whole of the drilling gang is concentrated on removing the rocky patch, so well-known to the public, opposite the old North jetty. When this formation has been thoroughly blasted, which it is anticipated will be accomplished in the course of the next six weeks, the dredges will be at once set to work on this spot, and when this obstruction is removed,
a clear channel, with a minimum depth of 12ft. at low water will he available right up to the new wharf. Following behind this, a channel of 20 feet depth is being rapidly dredged, so that the interval be- tween the opening of the 12ft. channel and the completion of it to a depth of 20ft. will be as short as possible. The sand pump dredge Premier is now working on the excavation of the channel to a depth of 12ft. alongside the new wharf. So far this cavity has been hollowed out to a distance of about 2,000ft. beyond the north jetty, and it is expected that in a very short time the cut will be carried through the dry sand patch known as Willis' Point, after which it will ultimately be continued right up to the railway bridge. Some idea of the enormous quantity of material which is being raised from the river bed may be gathered from the fact that the dredges at the present time are taking out nearly 40,000 cubic yards of material per week. The three dredges are all working with three shifts of men each, so that no time whatever is lost, and they are kept going continu- ously night and day. To give increased facility for working, the dredge Parmelia has been fitted up with the electric light, and plants of a similar nature are in course of erection on the Premier and Fremantle, so that when this work is completed dredging operations can be carried on at night as equally as well as in the daytime.
The wharf which is being carried out under contract by Mr. McDowell on the north mole, has been much delayed in its construction owing to the difficulty in ob- taining trucks to convey the timber for- ward from the mills. The total length of this wharf will be 1,000ft., and up to the present about 300ft. of it have been completed. There is deep water alongside this pier to accommodate the largest vessel trading to Fremantle with safety. The wharf on the south mole
has been begun. This jetty will be merely a temporary one 300ft. long, and it will be completed very shortly. The extension of the main jetty at Fremantle has been com- pleted by the contractor, Mr. Price, and the berths on either side of the extended por- tion are now occupied by the ocean-going steamers Cornwall and the Waroonga, these being the first two vessels to discharge cargo on to this portion of the pier.
Although the two moles have long been completed, work at the Rocky Bay quarries is still being carried on, as the Railway Department is being supplied with stone required for the duplication of the line between Perth and Fremantle from this
On the whole the harbour scheme is being pushed forward in a manner which reflects the greatest credit on Mr. .T. A. McDonald, the Acting Engineer-in-Chief, Mr. J. H. Royce, executive engineer of the works, and those in charge of the various departments in connection with the under- taking.