|Published in:||Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering History and Heritage, November 2010, n. 4, v. 163|
John Monash (later General Sir John Monash) played an important part in the introduction of reinforced concrete (RC) to Australia, initially in partnership with J. T. N. Anderson. From 1897, under the Monier/Wayss licence, they built arch bridges and ran a precast products factory. From 1903, Monash moved into general RC work alone. His knowledge of German, French and patent law gave him an advantage, but his path was not smooth. He depended heavily on textbooks and journals, and learned much from hard experience. He supervised projects throughout Victoria and eastern South Australia. Staff and labour had to be educated as the enterprise expanded. Much effort went into convincing clients that RC was safe and durable. Opposition came from established industries threatened by the new technology. After initial technical and financial setbacks, Monash began to prosper from 1905 onwards. Many of his structures are still in service. He was not a technical innovator, but made a significant contribution in promoting and defending the new technology. His persistence – and his networking, managerial and diplomatic skills – eased the way for others, who offered competition from 1910 onwards. Monash went on to an illustrious career as commander of Australian forces in the First World War and as founding chairman of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria.
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