Shell Oil Complex
39-81 Burleigh Street SPOTSWOOD, Hobsons Bay City
Spotswood Industrial Heritage Precinct
Statement of Significance
What is Significant?
The Shell Oil complex, comprising Packaging Stores 20 and 26, riveted tanks Nos 4-7, 9 and 12, the alignment of the spur railway and the gatekeeper's house, all generally constructed between c.1916-40, at 39-81 Burleigh Street and Drake Street, Newport.How is it Significant?
The Shell Oil complex at Newport is of local historic and technical significance to the City of Hobsons Bay.Why is it Significant?
Historically, the Shell Oil complex is significant for its strong associations with the early development of the oil industry in Australia as the oldest surviving complex associated with Shell in Victoria. They are an important element in the nationally important group of historic petrochemical complexes that were established in Spotswood and Altona during the Interwar period. (AHC criteria A4 and H1)
Technically, the Shell Oil complex is significant for its ability to illustrate on the one site the two major ways of dealing with refined petroleum; tank storage for oil and shed storage for tinned petroleum product. The riveted tanks are significant as early examples of this type of construction which is now rare for oil storage. (AHC criteria B2, D4 and F1)
Shell Oil Complex - Physical Description 1
The Shell Oil complex, on the site bounded by Burleigh, Hall, High and Drake Streets in Spotswood contains the following buildings and other infrastructure associated with the first phase of development of the complex between 1916 and 1937.
The 13 (assumed steel) pre-WW2 circular riveted tanks include 10 surviving large riveted tanks and three smaller ones that were built in the period 1916 to 1937, with 7 constructed by 1925. They are now situated within a group which includes later welded examples.
The pre-WW2 tanks are made up from curved steel sheets fixed at the edges by steel rivets and are sited in containment levees. The tanks built in 1920 (4-7) are similar in size but Tank 12 which was erected in 1930 is much larger has a different floating roof construction which has been replaced in a matching form. Of these tanks, Nos. 4 & 6 have original riveted roofs, while the riveted sheet roof on Tank 7 has been patched, and tanks 5-7 have original steel pipe handrails around the top of each. Tank 9 (built 1925) has a riveted steel roof which is thought to have been modified. Most of the tanks have been altered in detail, with new stair access in each case.
Associated with the tanks are some structures contemporary with the early development of the site, including a valve house, and boiler house. Red brick retaining walls form part of the containment bunds, and some pipe work may also be contemporary.
Store 20 and 26 sheds
Store 20 is a large double gabled store (Refer image on cover), which has been reclad, on the north and west sides, but retains its riveted steel frame and trusses using an angle iron top cord and compression members, and flat iron tension members and bottom cord. The main uprights are rolled steel joists and were manufactured by Dorman & Long of Middlesborough in England. The floor is generally steel tiles made by the Steel Company of Australia - stamped 'Steel Con, Australia'.
It was constructed in two principal stages. The original section dates from before 1920 and was used for the storage of lube oil and packed kerosene, while a small area was dedicated to filling kerosene tanks. Attached to the south east side of Store 20 is a small simple gabled steel framed structure, which also dates from prior to 1920 and is known as Store 26(Allom Lovell 1999:21)
Store 20 was extended in the mid-1930s when a formerly freestanding building to the north constructed in the late 1920s was linked to it by a structure on the eastern side. The two sheds appear subsequently to have been connected through the construction of a linking bay between them (Allom Lovell 1999:25)
Other corrugated iron clad buildings extend to the north east, with some surviving features including timber gable louvres and original ogee pattern guttering. However, they have generally been altered. A small brick house on High Street is evidently also related to the tank farm, possibly having been the on-site caretaker's or gate house.
The railway spur line reserve, located between the stores and the tanks, which served the tank farm and the stores en-route to the wharf, can still be interpreted.Wharf facilities
The remains of the Newport oil wharves are still evident, and extend for some distance north from the Newport Power Station. These are situated outside the Burleigh Street site.
Shell Oil Complex - Physical Conditions
Fair to Good
Shell Oil Complex - Integrity
Tanks - Moderate. Stores - Moderate to Low
Shell Oil Complex - Physical Description 2
This complex is situated on flat land near the bay, bounded by main roads and railway routes with the residential areas of Newport just to the south. The former COR (now BP Australia) Tank Farm is directly opposite. It is an important contributory part of the Spotswood Industrial heritage precinct.
Shell Oil Complex - Historical Australian Themes
Utilising Mineral Resources, Extracting Oil & Gas
Shell Oil Complex - Physical Description 3
British Imperial Oil Co., Shell Oil Company of Australia, Melbourne Harbour Trust
Heritage Study and Grading
Hobsons Bay - Hobsons Bay Heritage Study
Author: Hobsons Bay City Council
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