McMahon Services were engaged by the Adelaide Central Markets to undertake this project involving the iconic giant Father Christmas that for many years was the drawcard to Rundle Mall in the festive season.
After renovations to David Jones’ Rundle Mall façade meant that the giant three tonne decoration could not be mounted on to the façade, it was necessary to find a new home for him. Adelaide Central Market’s iconic 115 year old heritage listed Market Tower presented the perfect location to display one of Adelaide’s beloved Christmas decorations.
To begin the journey of Father Christmas to his new home, he had to first be moved from long term storage in Gillman to Wingfield, and then transported to our Head Office storage yard in Dry Creek. This would be his home until he was cleaned and had some structural modifications and reinforcement completed. The structural modifications were necessary in order for the Father Christmas to be successfully erected onto the new brickwork at the Central Markets.
The structural beams were cut down to suit dimensions of the new Central Market location. An engineer was engaged to provide details for the new cleats and plates which are attached to the façade of the Central Market heritage listed tower, and which hold up the structural beams. The engineered cleats and plates were manufactured in the McMahons Services workshop.
An in-house surveyor was used to mark up the location of the holes that were to be cored into the tower’s façade to anchor the 15m decoration. While onsite, McMahon Services boilermakers carried out alterations to the veranda in order to strengthen it for Father Christmas’ platform to rest on. Exceptional care was taken in order to minimise possible damage to the heritage listed structure.
For installation day, a comprehensive traffic management plan and logistics schedules were developed. The traffic plan indicated layout of traffic redirection equipment, positioning of vehicles and pedestrian signage. Two traffic controllers were onsite for the day during installation and removal to assist the McMahon Services project team, as well as assistance with the public. The logistic schedule provided timing of truck arrivals which was an integral part of the day’s events, in turn preventing vehicle congestion in the street.
Upon the removal of Father Christmas, colour coded bolts and oversized washers were installed into the wall to cover the cored holes. These were coloured to match the existing wall and provided waterproof protection to installed fittings permitting easy installation in the years to come. Santa was then transported back to the McMahon Services storage yard, where he will stay until the next festive season.
Adelaide Central Markets welcomed news crews to capture the installation and removal of Father Christmas, excited to share his new home with the public.
You can view the footage on our YouTube channel: