Welsh Slate is being used as part of a £multi-million refurbishment of a historic railway building in Australia.
Melbourne’s Goods Shed 2 was built in 1889 during the golden age of the rail network in Victoria. Its original length spanned 385m across two city blocks – making it the largest railway shed ever built in Melbourne and the longest single-span building of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
Products distributed from the heritage-listed building included furniture, construction materials and foodstuffs but it became redundant in the 1980s and was later bisected by a road extension, which created a north and south side.
Architect Lovell Chen’s award-winning work on Goods Shed 1/North was completed in 2010. Long-awaited work to regenerate the southern side and convert it in to a contemporary office block is now under way. The project includes a like-for-like replacement of the original Welsh slate roof. Its restoration is part of a wider development that includes a new office tower designed by Building Studio and restoration of the clock tower portion of the building which once housed the administration offices for the whole complex.
Around 92,000 500x250mm capital grade Heather Blue roofing tiles from Welsh Slate’s Penrhyn Quarry in North Wales are being used to cover the 4,000m2 roof area. They were supplied by JK & DJ Murnane slate merchants, Welsh Slate distributor for Victoria.
Michael Hallé, Welsh Slate’s sales and technical manager for overseas markets, said: “The building’s size and the impressive architecture of its front offices give an idea of the scale and importance of the Australian rail network during the late 19th Century. We are pleased that Lovell Chen, the architect and heritage consultant, chose Welsh Slate for this important refurbishment project.”
Work on the Goods Shed comes at a time when Welsh Slate exports have reached record levels. The company is currently exporting 40% of its roofing products – the highest figure in at least the past 50 years. Previously, exports as a proportion of roofing sales had peaked at 35%.
Roofing & Technical Sales Manager Michael Hallé at Welsh Slate attributed the export boom to a desire for high-quality slate among overseas customers, assisted by favourable exchange rates.
Work is also under way to replace the original Welsh slate roof of the 130-year-old Glebe Town Hall in Sydney.
“Our approach to the works and detailing of Goods Shed South is to ensure consistency with the earlier project.”
Lovell Chen architects