The Work of Frederick B. Menkens Architect 1855-1910 by Les Reedman (1956)

Front cover of Les Reedman's personal copy of the Menkens Thesis (1956)

Front cover of Les Reedman’s personal copy of the Menkens Thesis (1956)

 

We are honoured to present a new digital scan of Leslie Reedman’s 1956 Thesis on the work of Frederick Menkens (1855-1910) in Newcastle. The entire thesis can be downloaded from the University of Newcastle’s Content Pro site here: http://encore.newcastle.edu.au/iii/cpro/DigitalItemViewPage.external?lang=eng&sp=1008053 or  here: The Work of Frederick B. Menkens Architect 1855-1910 by Les Reedman (1956) (18MB PDF File)

Charleston Studios Building, as Lowes, photographed circa 1950s. (Les Reedman)

Menkens designed Charleston Studios Building, as Lowes, photographed circa 1950s. (Les Reedman)

Here is Les Reedman’s biographical entry on Menkens from the Australian Dictionary of Biography:

Frederick Burnhardt Menkens (1855-1910), architect, was born at Varel, Oldenburg, Germany, son of Herman Heinrich Menkens, and his wife Anna Margaret. Educated at home until 13, he worked for five years at practical trades and attended building academies in Nienburg and Holzminden. He attended the Royal Polytechnicum at Hanover (Dip. Arch., 1876), toured Europe in 1877 and migrated to Adelaide in 1878. After a few months in the Colonial Architect’s Office he moved to Melbourne. A slump in the building industry caused him to work as a tradesman along the Murray River, at Echuca and at Sandhurst. In 1881 he set up an architectural practice in Maitland, New South Wales, and in 1882 moved to Newcastle. In 1884 he completed the interior of the temporary pro-Cathedral designed by J. H. Hunt. Menkens was a staunch friend until they argued over Newcastle Cathedral in the early 1890s. He achieved early success with his work on the School of Arts, Newcastle, the Deaf and Dumb Institute, Waratah, and the Mechanics’ Institute, Hamilton. By 1888 ‘he had been successful and had obtained more than his share of public support'; he also won a competition for the building of the main Presbyterian Church, St Andrews, and in 1891 for a new Town Hall in Newcastle. After a stormy meeting the aldermen of the council awarded the £100 prize to Menkens but later disagreements brought an end to the scheme.

In June 1895 Menkens was sued in the Supreme Court for slander and £1000 damages by H. Kingsbury, an electrical contractor, whom he had accused of installing a lightning conductor made of cheaper metal than specified and of trying to deceive his client. Kingsbury was awarded 40s. damages and £126 costs but Menkens refused to pay and was imprisoned for debt. At first in the Maitland lock-up, he was feasted by his friends, who also supplied him with comfortable furniture, his drawing equipment and commissions until he was moved to Darlinghurst Gaol. In October his estate was sequestrated; apart from what he owed to Kingsbury he admitted moneys marked cash in his cheque book were winnings at the races and items drawn to self were losses; in October 1894 he had borrowed £40 from William Rouse to cover losses on the Caulfield Cup. His only assets were a block of land at Auburn and his wearing apparel. On 9 August 1896 his estate was released and he was discharged from prison.

More successful than ever Menkens designed many commercial buildings in Newcastle including five city warehouses. He worked for such notable citizens as Bishop Murray. Always strongly professional he was sometimes feared by local builders, but he combined a thorough understanding of architecture with a practical knowledge of the building trades. In 1907 he took F. G. Casteleden into partnership and visited his aged mother in Germany. He returned to live in Sydney in his newly-built house in Avoca Street, Randwick.

Aged 55 Menkens died childless at Randwick from cirrhosis on 10 March 1910 and was buried in the Anglican section of Waverley cemetery. His estate was valued for probate at over £6500. On 16 November 1885 at St Patrick’s Church, Sydney, he had married a widow Margaret Downey, née Brennan, according to Roman Catholic rites. The marriage was dissolved in the Supreme Court on 25 February 1891 on the petition of Menkens; costs went against the co-respondent.
[ Ref: L. A. Reedman, 'Menkens, Frederick Burnhardt (1855–1910)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/menkens-frederick-burnhardt-4186/text6729, published in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 18 July 2014. This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974 ]

Title: The work of Frederick B. Menkens, architect, 1855-1910/ L. Reedman
Author: Reedman, Leslie

Subject: Menkens, Frederick, 1855-1910; Architecture, Australian; Historic Buildings – New South Wales – Newcastle.
Form/Genre: Dissertations, Academic
Notes: Original manuscript: 122 pages.
Thesis (Architecture diploma) — Newcastle College, New South Wales University of Technology, 1956.

As a further introduction, please view the video below from a Newcastle Booklovers Presentation by Brian Suters recorded at Longworth House 3 April 2013:

Ghosts of Victorian Newcastle Come Alive

Westminster Hotel through the Ipad App

Look out for the launch of an exciting new exhibition at the Newcastle Museum entitled Reconstructing Victorian Newcastle which will run from the 6 November 2012 – 9 December 2012. The link to the Museum’s page is here:

http://www.newcastlemuseum.com.au/exhibitions/special-exhibitions/reconstructing-victorian-newcastle/reconstructing-victorian-newcastle

The Exhibition features the project work of Dr Tessa Morrison, who is a senior lecturer and Research Fellow in Architectural History,  and her team of App developers Helen Giggins and Nicholas Foulcher from the School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Newcastle. The Team have been using the classic glass negative images of photographer Ralph Snowball featuring the architecture of Victorian Newcastle. Mr Russell Rigby, a member of the University’s Coal River Working Party also assisted in the geo-referencing amd mapping of hundreds of the University’s Ralph Snowball images. For the original images See: http://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/sets/72157608912691810/

The first European settlement of Newcastle was begun in 1801 with a second and more successful settlement launched in 1804. Newcastle was made a city in 1847 even though it only had a population of only 1000 people. By late 1870s Newcastle was the industrial heart of New South Wales. By the 1880s it boasted fine houses and paved streets. By 1890s Newcastle was the first city in Australia to be electrified. In 1889 the Illustrated Sydney News described the incredible growth of Newcastle:

“Hunter Street, the George Street of Newcastle is a fine thoroughfare, full of such shops as but few colonial country towns can boast, and this of course, is the great promenade. On Saturday nights, when it is seen at its best and brightest, it is almost impassable in places owing to the throngs of shoppers and loungers who turn out after tea or dinner.”

This energy of the city, its growth, commerce and industry were comprehensively photographed by photographers such as Ralph Snowball. By the end of the 19th century Newcastle was a bustling city with significant stone buildings, hotels with broad verandas and a thriving commercial centre.

This exhibition to reconstruct Victorian Newcastle, by Tessa, Nicholas, and Helen from the School of Architecture and Built Environment, the University of Newcastle, is intended to bring the late 19th century city alive. The exhibition consists of 30 images which show the architecture of past and present Newcastle. After downloading a free application on your smart phone or tablet device, such as iPads, you will be able to interact with the images in the museum, finding out further information on the sites and directions to their locations. These directions are also on a handout for those without mobile devices. Then you can walk around Newcastle viewing these images in situ at 25 sites.  You will be able to see a butcher in Hunter Street from a hundred and twenty years ago, proudly showing his produce; imposing hotels; grand department stores and landmarks all in their original positions. The images in the exhibition represent the essence of the project and will give the viewer an understanding of the lost Victorian city.

This project is a pilot project which has been funded by the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle.

Newcastle has had a diverse history with its architecture that reflects its booms and busts. There are three distinct periods in the city: the convict city; the Victorian city and the modernisation of the 1950s and 1960s. Toll House is all that remains of the convict city. The Victorian city was Newcastle’s heyday. However, although there are some significant buildings that still remain in the city, and many more that have been altered or demolished in the move to modernise the city in the 1950 and 1960s.  This Project has reconstructed central Victorian Newcastle using Augmented Reality and mobile technology.

If you have a smartphone, iphone or ipad, download a free app from the app store called Layar. Once downloaded scan the image above to try out the program.

Exhibition Poster

 

‘The Midden’ is Launched

Students show an eye for design - Andrew Cavill's 'Midden' is launched

Students show an eye for design - Andrew Cavill's 'Midden' is launched

One of our final year Master of Architecture students Mr Andrew Cavill has, for the past year, been working on a design for an iconic interpretation, discovery and learning centre at the Coal River Heritage Precinct in Newcastle East. ‘The Midden’, as it has been called, officially went on Exhibition this week.

On behalf of the University’s Coal River Working Party we congratulate Andrew for the outstanding work and commitment he has undertaken for this project. We are delighted with his design and words cannot express the joy of seeing such a beautiful concept reach fruition.

We hope that it can inspire a refreshed approach to re-modelling our city’s birthplace.

I want you all to imagine a beautiful and iconic ‘Newcastle Opera House’ style building at the Coal River Precinct, birthplace of this city. At dusk, above our heads, the light cannon sculptures (as proposed in the Boyce Pizzey Cultural Tourism plan) illuminating our foundation stories, come into being one after another, these light beams culminating together in a central point or ‘star’ above the precinct and its Centre. On earth, the Conservatorium orchestra and choirs perform our sesquicentenary piece. This would be such a beautiful cultural happening for the City. We hope and pray that one day such visions can become a reality.

Gionni Di Gravio – University Archivist and Chair – University’s Coal River Working Party

Please Click here for the NBN News Story – ‘Visions for Newcastle’  featuring Andrew briefly speaking about his design. Broadcast Date: November 13, 2009.
http://www.nbntv.com.au/index.php/2009/11/13/visions-for-newcastle/

Exhibition Panel No. 1 for 'The Midden' by Andrew Cavill

Exhibition Panel No. 2 for 'The Midden' by Andrew Cavill

Launch of Coal River Interpretive Centre Design “The Midden”

[In Transit] University of Newcastle Final Year Architecture Exhibition 2009

In Transit - University of Newcastle Final Year Architecture Exhibition 2009

In Transit - University of Newcastle Final Year Architecture Exhibition 2009

In Transit - University of Newcastle Final Year Architecture Exhibition 2009

All are welcome to attend an exhibition of designs by 2009 final year architecture students. The Invitation flyer for [In Transit] University of Newcastle Final Year Architecture Exhibition 2009 is above and the event is to be launched Friday November 13th 2009 at 6pm (for 6.30pm) at the Architecture Design Studio University of Newcastle.

Of especial interest is the final design by Andrew Cavill for ‘The Midden‘ which is the title of his beautiful and inspiring design for the Coal River Interpretation Centre. Andrew has synthesised thousands of years of Newcastle and the Hunter Region’s cultural and environmental heritage under the one roof in an iconic building design.

'The Midden' - Concept Design for Coal River Interpretative Centre by Andrew Cavill

'The Midden' - Concept Design for Coal River Interpretative Centre by Andrew Cavill

For the past year University of Newcastle architecture student Andrew Cavill has been working on plans for the historical, cultural and environmental interpretation, discovery and learning centre as part of his final year project. The final design has brought to life an iconic building structure that could will do Newcastle a great honour if the vision could be ever be realised. It includes exhibition and theatre spaces, art and craft and restoration and conservation workshop areas.

'The Midden' - Concept Design for Coal River Interpretative Centre by Andrew Cavill

'The Midden' - Concept Design for Coal River Interpretative Centre by Andrew Cavill

The goal is to improve our understanding of how Newcastle has developed into the city of today,  Mr Cavill said.

So please come along to support this fantastic new vision for the Newcastle’s Coal River Heritage Precinct.

Andrew Cavill - designer of 'The Midden' Architectural Concept design for Coal River Heritage Precinct Newcastle Australia.

Andrew Cavill - designer of 'The Midden' Architectural Concept design for Coal River Heritage Precinct Newcastle Australia.

WHEN: Friday November 13th 2009 at 6pm
WHERE: Architecture Design Studio University of Newcastle
COST: Free

[In Transit] University of Newcastle Final Year Architecture Exhibition 2009 (PDF file 512KB) – Download the invitation flyer here

Design for Coal River – Mulubinba Interpretative Centre

Andrew Cavill is a 5th Year Architecture student at the University of Newcastle that has chosen to design an interpretative centre for the Coal River Heritage Precinct as his final year project.

Vision of heritage showcase

Vision of heritage showcase