What is significant?
Dovers Building, was constructed in 1909-10 to the design of the engineer/architect Hugh Ralston Crawford. The building was erected as a warehouse and factory for the firm Sniders and Abrahams, Manufacturing Tobacconists. It was originally a five storey structure, utilising the Turner mushroom reinforced concrete system, and an extra two storeys were added in 1938 also designed by Crawford. The facade features a five storey giant order arcade with segmental arches and ornamental capitals.
How is it significant?
Dovers Building is of scientific (technical) and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Dovers Building is of scientific (technical) significance as the first Australian building to employ the Turner Mushroom System of flat-slabs. This system was first described in the U.S.A. in Engineering News in 1905 by C.A.P. Turner and his first flat-slab building was the Johnson-Bovey building of 1906. Between 1906 and 1909, at least eighteen other buildings were built in the U.S.A. using the Turner Mushroom System of flat-slabs. This system was so called due to the peculiar formation of rods around the column head and the rapidity with which they could be erected. The Turner system, as used by Crawford at the Dovers Building, employed thin concrete floor slabs, which were reinforced in four directions and supported by octagonal columns. The Dovers building remains as one of the still surviving examples in the world using the innovative Turner mushroom system of reinforced concrete.
Dovers building is of historical significance as an indicator of the size and importance of the tobacco industry in Melbourne at the turn of the century and a reminder of the industrial character of this part of Melbourne until the latter part of the 20th century. The firm of Snider and Abrahams was founded in Melbourne in 1870 and by the turn of the century was a highly successful cigarette manufacturing enterprise. The northern part of Melbourne, around Little Lonsdale and La Trobe Streets, where this building is located, was home to a number of industrial establishments, before changing transport requirements, rising land prices and the outward spread of the metropolis pushed them to more practical locations from the 1960s on. This building, although now transformed into apartments (in itself illustrative of the process of urban change), is a reminder of the diverse industrial processes that once occurred within the CBD. [Online Data Upgrade Project 2004]