Ryde Bridge (Former Lift Bridge) | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Ryde Bridge (Former Lift Bridge)

Item details

Name of item: Ryde Bridge (Former Lift Bridge)
Other name/s: Ryde Bridge, Ryde Road Bridge
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Land
Category: Road Bridge
Primary address: Concord Rd to Church Street, Rhodes to Ryde, NSW 2112
Parish: Hunters Hill
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Ryde
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Concord Rd to Church StreetRhodes to RydeRydeHunters HillCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The Ryde Lift Bridge is of historical significance as the largest work of its kind undertaken by any municipal body in NSW up till 1935, for its importance as a depression-era construction utilising unemployment relief labour, and as a transport link which revived the Ryde district, influencing later development including road development and the expansion of the area both north and south of the Parramatta River. The high clearance of the lift is evidence of the importance of the river traffic on the Parramatta River in the 1930s. The Ryde Lift Bridge has historical association with Ryde Council which funded and supervised its construction. The bridge has landmark qualities in Church Street and along the Parramatta River. The bridge is also of technical/research significance for its local design and use of Australian manufactured steel.
Date significance updated: 10 Jan 12
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: Department of Main Roads.
Builder/Maker: Steel Constructions Pty Ltd; Balgue Construction Co, Ryde Council Engineer W.I. Muntz
Construction years: 1932-1935
Physical description: The Ryde Lift Bridge is a road bridge across Parramatta River with three warren truss spans, the central span of which is able to be raised. Adjoining spans to the river banks are supported on circular steel pylons.

The bridge is supported on concrete piers and consists of two steel fixed spans and a central lifting span all using the Pratt truss with counterbraces in the central bays. The lifting span, 110 foot (33.5m) long, was capable of being raised to the height of 80 feet (24.4m) via two steel towers. Each tower carried a massive concrete counter weight suspended over two sheaves at the top. The counterweights have been removed but the control room perched on top of the lifting span survives. The overall length of the bridge is 1.133 feet 4 inches (345.4m).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good
Date condition updated:10 Jan 12
Modifications and dates: The Ryde Lift Bridge was duplicated in the latter part of the twentieth century with another bridge built parallel on the eastern side.
Current use: Road Bridge
Former use: Road Bridge

History

Historical notes: AREA HISTORY
Aboriginal people inhabited the Sydney basin for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans. The northern coastal area of Sydney was home to the Guringai people, western Sydney was home to the Dharug clans, and southern Sydney was inhabited by the Dharawal clans. The Guringai lived primarily along the foreshores of the harbour, and fished and hunted in the waters and hinterlands of the area. All clans harvested food from their surrounding bush. Self-sufficient and harmonious, they had no need to travel far from their lands, since the resources around them were so abundant, and trade with other tribal groups was well established. The British arrival in 1788 had a dramatic impact on all of the Sydney clans. Food resources were quickly diminished by the invaders, who had little understanding of the local environment. As a result, the Aboriginal people throughout the Sydney Basin were soon close to starvation. The Sydney clans fought back against the invaders, but the introduction of diseases from Europe and Asia, most notably smallpox, destroyed over half the population. The clearing of land for settlements and farms displaced local tribes and reduced the availability of natural food resources, leaving Aboriginal people reliant on white food and clothing. The French surgeon and pharmacist Rene Primavere Lesson, who visited Sydney in 1824, wrote: "the tribes today are reduced to fragments scattered all around Port Jackson, on the land where their ancestors lived and which they do not wish to leave." (Information taken from City of Ryde Aboriginal Site Management Report, Aboriginal Heritage Office, 2011).

In the early years of European settlement of Sydney, the Ryde area was found to be highly suitable for farming and orchards, and early colonial land grants to marines were given to encourage agriculture. In January 1792 land in the area which extended from Dundas to the Lane Cove River along the northern bank of the river, was granted to eight marines. The area was named by Governor Phillip the “Field of Mars”, Mars being the ancient Roman God of war, named to reflect the military associations of the land grantees. Two of these land grants were made in the modern area of the suburb of Ryde. Isaac Archer and John Colethread each received 80 acres of land on the site of the present Ryde-Parramatta Golf Links (now in West Ryde).

These grants were followed soon after by grants to ten emancipated convicts in February 1792, the land being further to the east of the marine’s grants, in the area now central to Ryde. Most of the grants were small, from 30 to 100 acres. This area was called Eastern Farms or the Eastern Boundary. By 1794 the name Eastern Farms had given way to Kissing Point, a name believed to have originated from the way in which heavily laden boats passing up the Parramatta River bumped or ‘kissed’ the rocky outcrop which extends into the river at today’s Kissing Point. Further grants were issued in 1794 and 1795, gradually occupying most of the foreshores between Meadowbank and Gladesville. Some of the grants were at North Brush, north of the Field of Mars settlement, in the area of Brush Farm and Eastwood.

Much later these were bought by John Macarthur, Gregory Blaxland and the Reverend Samuel Marsden. The district remained an important orcharding area throughout the 19th century.

The land on which Ryde House (now Willandra) was built was part of the emancipist John Small's 1794 grant and was acquired by James Devlin in 1828 from Thomas Small, James' step-father. James Devlin (1808-1875) was born in NSW, the son of Irish exile Arthur Devlin and his colonial-born wife Priscilla Squire. Devlin was originally a wheelwright, and later became a successful developer and contractor. James Devlin was a warden of St Anne's Church, Ryde and also a trustee for many years, and a Trustee of the Field of Mars Common, Devlin was instrumental in advocating for the proclamation of Ryde as a municipality and was one of the first Ryde aldermen in 1871. Devlin's Creek and Devlin Street are named after James Devlin. (Pollen, 1996).

About 1840 the name Ryde began to be used in the locality, with Devlin's 1841 subdivision being the earliest documented use of this name. Megan Martin has shown that the names Ryde and Turner Street were both chosen by James Devlin to honour the new Anglican Minister, Rev. George Turner, whose wife was a native of the English Ryde. Devlin and his neighbour, James Shepherd, had some 40 lots surveyed in a subdivision they named the Village of Ryde, with Devlin's 'East Ryde' facing St. Anne's Church and Shepherd's 'West Ryde' facing the road to Parramatta.

Devlin designed and began building the house now known as "Willandra" in 1841 on the old Small's farm and the Devlin family moved into the house in 1845. At that time it was called Ryde House.

ITEM HISTORY
Early transport to the Ryde district was via the river and on rough roads. A punt operated between Ryde and Rhodes. A bridge over the Parramatta River at Ryde had been under discussion since 1856. The railway bridge at Meadowbank was completed in 1886 , with the first Gladesville Bridge was completed in 1882. A firm proposal for the construction of a bridge at Ryde to replace the punt was first submitted to the NSW Minister for Public Works in 1913, however the outbreak of World War I delayed any further action on the matter until 1922 when a deputation representing suburbs from Strathfield to Hornsby urged Government action. The Public Works Dept selected a bridge location between Uhr's Point Rhodes and a site near Ryde Wharf. Borings and soundings were taken. The Minister later announced he was prepared to introduce an enabling Bill into Parliament to enable Ryde and Concord Councils to build the bridge, however Concord Council subsequently withdrew their support for the chosen bridge location. After an exhaustive enquiry to confirm the chosen location as suitable, Ryde Council decided to undertake the construction without Concord Council's support.

The Ryde Lift Bridge was designed by the Department of Main Roads and constructed by Ryde Council under the supervision of its engineer, Mr. W.I. Muntz, using contractors and local unemployed people who were offered relief work on the bridge. Funding for the construction derived from an 80,000 pound loan to Ryde Council and a grant of 53,850 pounds from the Unemployment Relief Council made to the Council. An enabling Act for the construction of the bridge was passed in 1931.

Three contracts were let for the construction of the bridge: Steel Constructions Pty Ltd for the steelwork, entirely of Australian manufacture; Balgue Construction Co. for the erection of the bridge, and a third firm to construct the road and footpath approaches. The overall cost of construction came to 125,796 pounds, considerably less than the original estimate.

The bridge was officially opened on 7th December 1935 by the NSW Premier the Hon. B.S.B. Stevens and a toll operated until 1949 to pay back the Council's loan. It was then handed over to the Department of Main Roads, free of debt. The bridge revived Ryde Village as it directed traffic into the heart of Ryde village along Church Street.

The bridge is now managed by NSW Roads and Maritime Services (2012).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Ryde Lift Bridge is of historical significance as the largest work of its kind undertaken by any municipal body in NSW up till 1935, for its importance as a depression-era construction utilising unemployment relief labour, and as a transport link which revived the Ryde district, influencing later development including road development and the expansion of the area both north and south of the Parramatta River. The high clearance of the lift is evidence of the importance of the river traffic on the Parramatta River in the 1930s.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Ryde Lift Bridge has historical association with Ryde Council which funded and supervised its construction.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The bridge is also of technical significance for its local design and use of Australian manufactured steel. The bridge has landmark qualities in Church Street and along the Parramatta River.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The bridge with its opening lift span is rare in the Sydney area.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The bridge is representative of central lift span types in New South Wales.
Integrity/Intactness: The bridge is reasonably intact.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

DOCUMENTATION: A Heritage Impact Statement is required to accompany any Development Application for non-minor work. A Conservation Management Plan may be required for major work. Please consult Council staff about your proposal and the level of documentation that will be required as early as possible in the process. Note that Council has adopted planning provisions to assist in the making of minor changes that will not have any impact on the significance of properties without the need to prepare a formal application or Heritage Impact Statement. In this case Council must be consulted in writing to confirm the nature of the works. APPROACHES TO MANAGING THE HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ITEM: (Note: the detailed requirements for each property will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The following advice provides general principles that should be respected by all development.) The overall form of the bridge should be retained and conserved. Professional advice regardingr maintenance should be sought. Interpretation of the bridge's history is recommended.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanRyde LEP 201033   
Local Environmental PlanRyde Draft LEP 2011I33   
Local Environmental PlanRyde LEP 2014I3302 Sep 14   
Local Environmental Plan - LapsedLEP No. 10520517 Jan 03 14346
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Ryde Heritage Study1988205Jonathan Falk Planning Consutants P/L Assoc with Rodney Jensen and Assoc P/L  No
Ryde SHI Review Stage 12012 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAngela Phippen2008Ryde suburb history, Dictionary of Sydney online
WrittenGregory Blaxell2004The River: Sydney Cove to Parramatta,
WrittenM.C. I, Levy M.C.I. Levy1947Wallumetta:A History of Ryde and its District 1792-1945
WrittenNSW National Trust1988Ryde Lift Bridge Natonal Trust listing form

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2340057


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