Historic bridges of New South Wales

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This list documents historical bridges located in New South Wales, Australia. Road, rail and pedestrian bridges are listed. Generally bridges built before WWII (1939) have been included in this list.

Historical context[edit]

Bridge construction in New South Wales starts with the needs of the first settlers and continues through to the present day with advanced bridge design. The infant colony had limited expertise and limited materials, as time passed techniques and materials were developed that allowed greater spans to be crossed and therefore expansion of the colony into otherwise inaccessible areas.

The NSW Public Works Department was under pressure from a cash strapped government to produce as much road and bridge work for as little cost as possible.[1] The cheapest bridge was the timber truss which could be built with local timber.

All bridges are unique, in the end the bridge that is built depends on the technology, expertise, materials and need to gain access to an area.

At the time of early settlement (1788 onwards) NSW was very isolated from the technological advances being developed in Europe and North America. Materials such as cast iron were unavailable to early colonial NSW bridge builders. NSW bridge builders had to rely on their own resourcefulness, bred of isolation, distance and the unique environment.

Australia's unusual environment results in unusual, and extreme river flows, almost no flow for some parts of the year and in extreme floods in other seasons. Early settlers sometimes built rudimentary structures in low rainfall seasons only to see the structures washed away in high rainfall times. With little funds available to the authorities the trend was to build light structures that could not stand the test of high and fast flowing water.

In solving these problems, colonial NSW embraced the innovations produced by others and adapted them successfully to the unique situations presented. There are examples of some very fine 19th-century bridge engineering provided for the railway expansion, conceived mainly by British engineers working in the then isolation of the Australian inland, and we have well-developed examples of many of the newer European techniques such as cable-stayed bridges.

Australia developed around coastal communities with rudimentary road systems to inland settlements. The early years saw early bridge technology limited very much to the 18th century European technology of masonry arches and cast iron, the latter still in its infancy and not produced to any great extent in New South Wales.

NSW at the time of early settlement had an abundance of convict labour and had a need for rapid construction. In a country heavily timbered this led to basic timber structure bridges but as the Colony gained stability the government looked towards more permanent structures and, as the skills for quarrying and stone dressing became available, masonry bridges began to be designed and built. As all metal materials had to be imported, iron bridges were rarely appropriate and were in any case still too novel for colonial application. Iron bridges were only used for major crossings on important corridors.[2]

Timber truss bridges, and timber bridges generally were so common that NSW was known to travellers as the "timber bridge state".[1]

The following list illustrates the development of New South Wales bridge construction techniques. The list commences from the earlier constructions through to the later developments.

New South Wales historic bridges[edit]

Sorted by date

BuiltNameLocationImageConstruction typeLengthUseIn useCommentsRefCoords
1833Lennox BridgeGlenbrook(1)Lennox Bridge-1.jpgstone arch6mRoadYessee article33°45′15″S 150°37′56″E / 33.75417°S 150.63222°E / -33.75417; 150.63222
1836Lansdowne BridgeLansvaleLansdownebridge1.jpgstone archRoadYeslargest span stone arch bridge in Australia[3]33°53′24″S 150°58′01″E / 33.89000°S 150.96694°E / -33.89000; 150.96694
1839Lennox BridgeParramattaLennoxBridgeParramatta.JPGstone archRoadYessee article33°48′39″S 150°00′16″E / 33.81083°S 150.00444°E / -33.81083; 150.00444
1858Pyrmont BridgeDarling HarbourPyrmontBridgeSydney2 gobeirne.jpgwooden pile with iron centre swing spanRoadYesnow pedestrian and monorailsee article33°52′14″S 151°12′02″E / 33.87056°S 151.20056°E / -33.87056; 151.20056
1863Picton ViaductPictonPicton Viaduct 2010.jpgstone archRailYesspans Stonequarry Creek34°10′40″S 150°36′42″E / 34.17778°S 150.61167°E / -34.17778; 150.61167
1863Menangle Railway BridgeMenangleRailYessee article34°07′05″S 150°44′37″E / 34.11806°S 150.74361°E / -34.11806; 150.74361
1867Victoria BridgePenrithVictoriabridgepenrith1.jpgwrought iron girderRoadYesalso known as Nepean River Bridgesee article33°44′46″S 150°40′54″E / 33.74611°S 150.68167°E / -33.74611; 150.68167
1867Knapsack ViaductLapstoneKnapsack Viaduct.jpgstone archRail
(Later road)
YesNow pedestrian onlysee article33°46′00″S 150°37′00″E / 33.76667°S 150.61667°E / -33.76667; 150.61667
1867Prince Alfred BridgeGundagaiGundagai bridge 1885.jpgunder-slung wrought iron Warren continuous truss & timber approaches921mRoadNopossibly oldest iron truss in NSW[4]35°04′25″S 148°06′26″E / 35.07361°S 148.10722°E / -35.07361; 148.10722
1870Denison BridgeBathurstDenison Bridge, Bathurst NSW, Australia.jpgsteel American Pratt trussRoadYesNow pedestrian onlysee article33°25′02″S 149°35′31″E / 33.41722°S 149.59194°E / -33.41722; 149.59194
1874Windsor BridgeWindsorRoadYes[5]
1881Nowra BridgeNowraNowra Bridge.jpgSteel Whipple Truss342mRoadYessee article34°51′51″S 150°36′07″E / 34.86417°S 150.60194°E / -34.86417; 150.60194
1881Gladesville Bridge (the 1881 bridge)DrummoyneRoadNoDemolished when the new road bridge opened in 1964see article33°50′32″S 151°08′35″E / 33.84222°S 151.14306°E / -33.84222; 151.14306
1881Dubbo Rail BridgeDubboDubbo - Macquarie River Rail Bridge 2.jpgwrought iron lattice girder bridgeRailYes[6]32°14′38″S 149°35′39″E / 32.24389°S 149.59417°E / -32.24389; 149.59417
1886John Whitton Bridge (the 1886 Rail Bridge)MeadowbankJohn Witton Bridge11.jpgTruss BridgeRailYesNow bicycles and pedestrians only. New rail bridge was built to replace the original bridge in 1980. The 2 bridges make up the John Whitton Bridge.[7]33°49′19″S 151°05′20″E / 33.82194°S 151.08889°E / -33.82194; 151.08889
1888Brewarrina BridgeBrewarrinawrought iron lift bridge with timber beam approaches91mRoadYesNow pedestrian only[8]29°56′51″S 146°51′48″E / 29.94750°S 146.86333°E / -29.94750; 146.86333
1891Murrumbidgee River RailWagga WaggaWagga-railway-bridge.jpgwrought iron lattice trussRailNoRemoved in 2007see article35°6′56.53″S 147°22′58.16″E / 35.1157028°S 147.3828222°E / -35.1157028; 147.3828222
1895Wilcannia BridgeWilcanniasteel truss bridgeRoadNoAccessible to public. Used to carry Barrier Highway and spans over Darling River.[9]31°33′36.7″S 143°22′46.7″E / 31.560194°S 143.379639°E / -31.560194; 143.379639
1895Hampden BridgeWagga WaggaWaggaWaggaBridgeOverMurrumbidgee.jpgwooden Allan Truss100.5mRoadYesClosed to public. To be demolished in 2013.see article35°6′2.53″S 147°22′6.68″E / 35.1007028°S 147.3685222°E / -35.1007028; 147.3685222
1897Victoria BridgePictonwooden Allan Truss80mRoadYestallest trestle in nswsee article34°10′49″S 150°36′38″E / 34.18028°S 150.61056°E / -34.18028; 150.61056
1897Wallaby Rocks Bridge (Turon R.)Wallaby RocksAllan timber truss106.7mRoadYes[10]33°04′26″S 149°38′59″E / 33.07389°S 149.64972°E / -33.07389; 149.64972
1898Hampden BridgeKangaroo ValleyHampden Bridge KValley 2008.JPGsuspension with sandstone turretsRoadYessee article34°43′40″S 150°31′16″E / 34.72778°S 150.52111°E / -34.72778; 150.52111
1901Hinton BridgeHintonHinton Bridge.jpgAllan truss178.6mRoadYes[11]32°42′51″S 151°38′52″E / 32.71417°S 151.64778°E / -32.71417; 151.64778
1901De Burghs Bridge (the 1901 bridge)West PymbleOpening of old De Burghs Bridge (1901).jpgRoadNoReplaced by new road bridge in 1967. Old bridge destroyed by Bushfire in January 1994see article33°46′32.8″S 151°8′12″E / 33.775778°S 151.13667°E / -33.775778; 151.13667
1902Gundagai Rail BridgeGundagaiThe old rail bridge.jpgtimber Howe deck trusses819mRailNoover Murrumbidgee River[12]33°04′23″S 148°06′17″E / 33.07306°S 148.10472°E / -33.07306; 148.10472
1903St Albans BridgeSt AlbansSt Albans bridge 2009.jpgDeBurgh timber trussRoadYes[13]33°17′39″S 150°58′22″E / 33.29417°S 150.97278°E / -33.29417; 150.97278
1911Scabbing Flat BridgeDubbotimber 'dare type' trussRoadYes[14]
1914Mungindi BridgeMungindiMungindiBarwonRiver.JPGtimber 'dare type' trussRoadYesTo be replaced by a new bridge which is under construction[15]28°58′33″S 148°59′05″E / 28.97583°S 148.98472°E / -28.97583; 148.98472
1916Rawsonville BridgeDubbotimber 'dare type' trussRoadYes[16]
1918Fullers BridgeChatswood WestFullers Bridge & Bus.jpgRoadYessee article33°47′34″S 151°09′25″E / 33.79278°S 151.15694°E / -33.79278; 151.15694
1924Mulwala BridgeMulwalaMulwalaBridge.JPGSteel Pratt TrussRoadYessee article36°00′15″S 146°00′15″E / 36.00417°S 146.00417°E / -36.00417; 146.00417
1924Roseville Bridge (the 1924 bridge)Roseville ChaseRoadNoReplaced by new road bridge in 1966. Used as a pedestrian bridge until it was demolished in 1974.see article33°46′27″S 151°12′18.5″E / 33.77417°S 151.205139°E / -33.77417; 151.205139
1927Subway Lane bridgeHomebushRailYes[17]33°51′58″S 151°05′02.5″E / 33.86611°S 151.084028°E / -33.86611; 151.084028
1929Tom Uglys Bridge (the 1929 bridge)BlakehurstTom ugly bridge.jpgTruss bridge499mRoadYessee article34°00′12″S 151°06′48″E / 34.00336111°S 151.1133778°E / -34.00336111; 151.1133778
1932Sydney Harbour BridgeSydneySydney Harbour Bridge Afternoon.jpgsteel through arch bridgeRoadYessee article33°51′29″S 151°12′39″E / 33.85806°S 151.21083°E / -33.85806; 151.21083
1932GraftonGraftonGraftonBasculeBridgeSpanLiftingCirca1932.jpgBasculeRoad (upper deck) and Rail (lower deck)Yessee article29°41′52.6″S 152°56′31.5″E / 29.697944°S 152.942083°E / -29.697944; 152.942083
1935Ryde Bridge (the 1935 bridge)RydeRydebridge1.JPGlift bridgeRoadYessee article33°49′25″S 151°05′42″E / 33.82361°S 151.09500°E / -33.82361; 151.09500
1939Long Gully Bridge (Northbridge)NorthbridgeNorthbridge-1-web.jpgconcrete archRoadYesRebuilt and replaced the 1892 bridge[18]33°48′59″S 151°12′44″E / 33.81639°S 151.21222°E / -33.81639; 151.21222

Allan type truss[edit]

The Allan truss bridge is named after Percy Allan, a famous Australian engineer who designed this bridge type. His design consisted of vertical and diagonal arrangements comprising a combination of timber and iron elements. The timber elements were designed to be in compression and the iron elements in tension. Allen's design followed extensive testing of Australian hardwoods by Prof. Warren and his early engineering students at Sydney University. The timber used was mostly ironbark because of its high strength. Other features of Allan's truss design included design to minimize later maintenance and/or replacement of elements. For this reason the trusses were built in pairs to facilitate work on a particular element without requiring the whole bridge to be supported, as was the case with previous timber designs. Allan's design was very cost-effective.

The Hampden Bridge in New South Wales Australia was the first bridge to be built on Percy Allan’s design[19]

Dare type truss[edit]

Harvey Dare was a leading engineer in the Public Works Department, and a prominent figure in early 20th century NSW. He was a designer of bridges and he developed the Dare Truss which was similar to the Allan Truss but contained improvements which make them stronger and easier to maintain. This engineering enhancement represents a significant evolution of the design of timber truss bridges, and gives Dare trusses some technical significance. Dare Trusses were the fifth of the five stages of evolution of timber truss road bridges in NSW.[1]

In 1998 there were 27 surviving Dare trusses in NSW of the 40 built, and 82 timber truss road bridges survive from the over 400 built.[1]

See also[edit]

"Bridges and Roads in New South Wales". Unique Cars and Parts. 


  1. ^ a b c d "Heritage & Conservation Register". NSW Government-Roads and Traffic Authority. Retrieved 24 Feb 2011. 
  2. ^ "Technology in Australia 1788-1988". University of Melbourne. Retrieved 23 Feb 2011. 
  3. ^ "Heritage Register-Lansdowne Bridge". NSW Government-Roads & Traffic Authority. Retrieved 12 Mar 2011. 
  4. ^ "Heritage Register-Prince Alfred Bridge". NSW Government-Roads & Traffic Authority. Retrieved 7 Mar 2011. 
  5. ^ "Windsor Bridge replacement- Road Projects". Roads and Maritime Services. Retrieved 29 Apr 2013. 
  6. ^ "Dubbo Railway Precinct". NSW Environment & Heritage. Retrieved 29 Apr 2013. 
  7. ^ "Meadowbank (Parramatta River) Underbridge". NSW Environment & Heritage. Retrieved 29 Apr 2013. 
  8. ^ "Heritage Register-Brewarrina Bridge over Barwon River". NSW Government-Roads & Traffic Authority. Retrieved 7 Mar 2011. 
  9. ^ "Barrier Highway (NSW)". Ozroads. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Heritage Register-Wallaby Rocks Bridge over Turon River". NSW Government-Roads & Traffic Authority. Retrieved 7 Mar 2011. 
  11. ^ "Hinton Bridge - Road Projects". Roads and Maritime Services. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "Heritage Register-Gundagai Rail Bridge". NSW Government-Heritage Office. Retrieved 7 Mar 2011. 
  13. ^ "Heritage Register-St Albans Bridge". NSW Government-Roads & Traffic Authority. Retrieved 7 Mar 2011. 
  14. ^ "Heritage Register-Scabbing Flat". NSW Government-Roads & Traffic Authority. Retrieved 21 Feb 2011. 
  15. ^ "Heritage Register-Mungindi". NSW Government-Roads & Traffic Authority. Retrieved 21 Feb 2011. 
  16. ^ "Heritage Register-Rawsonville". NSW Government-Roads & Traffic Authority. Retrieved 21 Feb 2011. 
  17. ^ "Reason for train delays proves a bridge too far". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  18. ^ "Long Gully Bridge Appendix F Landscape and visual impact assessment". NSW Government-Roads & Traffic Authority. Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  19. ^ "Types Of Truss Bridges". Bozzle Website. Retrieved 24 Feb 2011.