Bathurst-kelso Railway Bridge | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Bathurst-kelso Railway Bridge

Item details

Name of item: Bathurst-kelso Railway Bridge
Other name/s: Bathurst/Kelso Railway Bridge
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Bridge/ Viaduct
Location: Lat: S. 33.20.466 Long: E. 149.42.649
Primary address: Macquarie River, Bathurst, NSW 2795
Parish: Bathurst
County: Bathurst
Local govt. area: Bathurst Regional


The listing boundary for the lattice bridge is the area on which the bridge is located near the end of Durham St including supports, abutments and track formation and a distance of approximately 50 metres around it in all directions.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Macquarie RiverBathurstBathurst RegionalBathurstBathurstPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

This is one of Whitton's major 1870's wrought iron bridges and is an excellent example of early bridge construction and built by J. Fowler. The lattice girder is one of Whittons original 12 bridges of that design and they represent the third stage of bridge construction in NSW following the stone viaduct and iron tubular bridges.
Date significance updated: 20 Dec 05
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: Whitton and J. Fowler
Construction years: 1871-1876
Physical description: An wrought iron lattice girder bridge of three spans supported by two pairs of tubular iron piers called the Macquarie River underbridge,There are also two concrete abutments beside it built in the early 20th century (1912) that were never used.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good condition visually, but apparently with some structural concerns.
Date condition updated:14 Mar 06
Further information: The bridge is under consideration for major repair or replacement, (2006), possibly in 4 to 5 years time, (2010 - 2011). The preferred option by ARTC is replacement using unused piers built in 1912 to the north of the existing structure, which would allow the lattice to remain in situ and could be conserved and used by the local community. ARTC have noted they will consult with the local community and prepare a SOHI at a later time. Recent communication from Rail Dept designers:
A detailed design for the replacement of the existing lattice bridge is currently in progress, as is the preparation of an REF. The proposal is to build the new bridge adjacent to the existing lattice structure utilising the existing piers and abutments that were built in 1912*. The plan for the heritage listed bridge is to decommission it at the time the new bridge is opened for operation. What happens to the bridge beyond this point will be the subject of further discussions between ARTC and other relevant authorities, including Council. The REF will address any Heritage requirements for the existing bridge, and it appears at this point that the preparation of a Statement of Heritage Impacts is likely to be required.

* Work on a replacement bridge was first undertaken in 1912. However only the piers and abutments were built before the advent of WWI resulted in the project being abandoned. These piers and abutments are in line with the supports for the existing lattice bridge with no physical connection between the two structures.
Current use: Railway Bridge
Former use: Railway Bridge


Historical notes: Designed by Sir John Fowler, working as consultant to railways, Chief Engineer Whitton. 9 of the original 12 such bridges remain in service in 2000.

An extract from R. McLachlan 'Crossing the Macquarie' 2006 Heritage Tour. RAILWAY BRIDGE: Built in 1876 (opened April 4th) to allow for extension of railway to Bathurst and beyond. Wrought iron lattice girder single track bridge with transverse arches to prevent buckling. 9' diameter cast iron cylinder/concrete filled piers. British design origin; superstructure made in Britain. Said to be oldest example of this type of bridge still in use in NSW railway system, one of 12 remaining (2003). To be replaced with a new bridge in near future. Hopefully, the 1876 bridge will be preserved.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 Bridges-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
This item is assessed as historically rare.Twelve wrought irn lattice railway bridges were built in NSW during the boom period for railway construction, between 1871 and 1887, the first being at Aberdeen and the final structure at Cowra.Nine of the survivors are owned by the NSW rail authorities.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Said to be oldest example of this type of bridge still in use in NSW railway system, one of 12 remaining (2003). All nine of the remaining iron lattice railway bridges are imposing structures.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Every iron lattice railway bridge crossed a major river which made it possible for the railway extension to develop the districts reached, socially and commercially.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The iron lattic bridge was a technically sound structure for the bridge technology of the late colonial period. Its strength and duribility have shown it to have been a very cost effective form of bridge.
SHR Criteria g)
Collectively, the iron lattice railway bridges represent a significant class of bridge structure.
Integrity/Intactness: Substantially intact. Apart from relatively technical works of repair and strengthening, all the iron lattice railway bridges retain their original fabrics.
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:

This item is assessed as historically rare. This item is assessed as scientifically rare. This item is assessed as arch. rare. This item is assessed as socially rare. ARTC have stated they will maintain the existing bridge pending replacement and will consult with the local community and prepare a SOHI on opportunities for conservation and further use by the community.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanBathurst-Kelso Railway Bridge5219 Nov 14   
Heritage study A36226 Jul 90   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Bathurst Regional Council Heritage Review2005 Hickson in assoc. with Bathurst Regional CouncilHickson, Croft and McLachlan Yes
Bathurst City Council Heritage Study1990A362Hughes Trueman LudlowHughes Trueman Ludlow No
State Rail Authority Section s170 Register1997 State Rail AuthorityState Rail Authority No
BRC City Conservation Area Heritage Review2006 Hickson in assoc with BRCB.J. Hickson Yes
Bathurst Bridge Study2010F/N 63Hickson, B in assoc with BRCB Hickson No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenR McLachlan2006'Crossing the Macquarie' 2006 Heritage Tour

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

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1080211

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