BADLY rusted pipes were removed from the Fletcher Jones ball yesterday as a safety precaution.
A team from crane operator Keppel Prince tackled the delicate work in ideal conditions, removing the corroded pipework which was once used to supply the ball. The two pipes, which were attached to one leg of the supporting tripod, were rusted through at their junction with the ball.
Crane operator Gary Billington said the work was being carried out at the request of new owner, Geelong businessman Dean Montgomery, who bought the former clothing factory two months ago, planning to retain the site’s heritage.
Mr Montgomery told The Standard after taking possession of the property that an engineer’s report recommended removal of the pipes.
“At the moment I’m just concentrating on the safety aspects of the site, such as fixing all the windows that are broken and trying to fix all the roof leaks,” he said.
“Then I’ll weigh up what to do next.”
He said another engineer’s report would assess the overall condition of the structure.
Mr Billington said the work was expected to take a full day and possibly part of today.
“We will remove the pipes first. Then we will patch up the holes in the ball to stop birds getting in,” he said.
Mr Montgomery said he was keen to have the site rezoned from industrial to mixed use, with a view to retaining as much of its heritage as possible.
This is not Mr Montgomery’s first foray into heritage buildings — he owns and has restored the T&G building in Geelong and also owns Camperdown’s Leura Hotel.