Miller Street, Fitzroy North (Cracknell’s Destructor)

The local engineering profession also pushed for reform of waste disposal practices. ln 1892 the City Surveyors of Melbourne, Richmond and South Melbourne, Messers Mountain, Clayton and Nolan, co-authored report with one John Kruse entitled Reports on Cracknell’s Patent City Refuse Destructor. Following Ðr Greswell’s recommendation that fire was the only safe means of waste disposal, a local engineer E W Cracknell had invented and patented a destructor. The authors, who were influential in their domains concluded that ‘Mr Cracknell has made a distinct advance on anything that has yet been done in the construction of destructors for treating refuse as found in Australian cities’.

Mountain and his co-authors refer to two destructors in operation in Melbourne. The Report discusses the effectiveness of the City of Melbourne’s two cell Cracknell destructor built in 189112 at the West Melbourne Swamp; (in the vicinity of the present Dynon Road). It is also discusses the installation in South Melbourne of a twelve cell Fryar Destructor which became operational in 1890. The fact that the City of Fitzroy was considering the installation of a Cracknell model is also commented on favourably.

Melbourne was clearly heading in the direction of incineration. lt is also apparent that
health issues were driving the waste disposal agenda however, the cost of incineration
was a stumbling block which would require a powerful incentive to surmount.”
(Mountain, A.C., Clayton, A., Nolan, P. J., Kruse, J (1892). Reports on Cracknell’s Patent City Refuse Destructor. Melbourne, Edgerton and Moore AND Nicholls, Philip H, A Review of Issues relating to the disposal of urban waste in Sydney Melbourne and Adelaide, Faculty of Arts, University of Adelaide, May 2002)

Cracknell’s Patent Garbage Destructor, Miller Street , North Fitzroy.   Image held by Fitzroy Library. Built in 1893 for the Fitzroy Council. c1893

But by 1894, it was not looking so good for Cracknell:

The Argus, 21 Feb 1894, The Fitzroy Refuse Destructor

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