Allan Truss Bridge, former Federal Road Bridge | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Allan Truss Bridge, former Federal Road Bridge

Item details

Name of item: Allan Truss Bridge, former Federal Road Bridge
Other name/s: Federal Road Bridge
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Land
Category: Road Bridge
Location: Lat: -33.88084 Long: 151.175891
Primary address: Unnamed Lane, Glebe, NSW 2037
Local govt. area: Sydney


extent of the bridge with visual curtilage from the parks
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Unnamed LaneGlebeSydney  Primary Address
9B Minogue CrescentForest LodgeSydney  Alternate Address
Bicentennial ParkRozelle BaySydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

The Allan Truss Bridge is a rare remaining timber road bridge within a City context providing an example of technology utilising the simple engineering truss form for a small bridge. This timber bridge, which connects Jubilee Park to Federal Park, has existed on the site since the 1890s. It was reconstructed in 1998-2000 and converted into a footbridge.

The bridge is historically associated with Sir Allen Taylor, Mayor of Annandale from 1897 to 1902 and although it has been largely reconstructed, it still provides an important connection between two public parks using the Allan Truss technology.

This Allan Truss Bridge is of local heritage significance in terms of its historical, aesthetic, technical and representative values.
Date significance updated: 20 Nov 14
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: Unknown
Builder/Maker: Unknown
Construction years: 1890-1890
Physical description: A former timber road deck slung between two Allan-type timber trusses over Johnston's Creek linking Federal Park to Jubilee Park Glebe. There are cast iron connections for timber members and steel tension rods.

Johnston's Creek flows from Petersham under Parramatta Road, past Annandale, Camperdown, Forest Lodge and Harold Park to Rozelle Bay, Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour).
Modifications and dates: 1990s- The road deck of the bridge dug up and the bridge closed to vehicular traffic.

2000 - Bridge reconstructed and converted to a a footbridge in the parklands.
Further information: Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Current use: Footbridge - former Federal Road bridge.
Former use: Bridge


Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country.. Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora.

Reclamation of Land in Rozelle Bay and Formation of a Channel at Johnston’s Creek ( Based on Comber 2011)

As the 19th century drew to a close and development of Glebe and Annandale increased so did pressure on the Government to deal with pollution in Johnston’s Creek which accumulated in the tidal mangroves in Johnston’s Bay and Rozelle Bay. In an attempt to manage pollution, in 1885 Glebe Council commenced the construction of sewer lines in Glebe [Solling 2007: 93]. Accumulation of rubbish and polluted stormwater in the creek and bay however continued to be a problem.

In 1890 concerted lobbying by local councils resulted in the proposal by the Public Works Department of a stormwater drainage system. Strategies included the conversion of Johnston’s Creek into a concrete stormwater channel and the reclamation of land between Annandale and Glebe Point. The project included the construction of a number of smaller underground stormwater channels feeding onto Johnston’s Creek Channel. Supporting the scheme there was local pressure for the land ‘in the vicinity be dedicated for public park purposes’ (SMH 29 Dec 1891: 4-5) The Plan for the Reclamation of Rozelle Bay records some aspects of the environment in the Study Area in 1890 including the course of Johnston’s Creek, the high and low water marks, a water hole (north of the junction of Johnston’s Ck and Orphan School Ck), and areas of mangrove swamps [Crown Plan Ms370Sy LPI]. One area of mangroves corresponds with the wetland established in Federal Park in 2001.

Land reclamation was slow but by May 1893 the construction of a ‘stone dyke’ between Glebe Point and Johnston St Annandale was underway. A break was left in the wall to allow the water to escape from the swamp and creek during work A footbridge allowed access between Glebe Point and Annandale (SMH 27 May 1893: 9; SMH 9 Jan 1895:4).

In the late 19th century Glebe and Annandale Councils and their residents believed that the reclaimed land would be converted into a public recreation reserve but by late 1898 part of the foreshore was leased by the Government to a timber yard [SMH 20 Dec 1898: 8; SMH 18 Jan 1899: 5]. After concerted lobbying on 11 November 1899 land was reserved for public recreation at Rozelle Bay. Federal Road serviced foreshore properties and joined Glebe Road (Glebe Point Road) and The Crescent in Annandale [CP Ms1520Sy LPI]. An Allen Truss Birdge was built over Johnston's Creek.

In 1900 Annandale and Glebe Council became joint trustees for the Rozelle Bay recreationreserve which was named Federal Park to commemorate the federation of the Australian colonies in 1901 (Solling 2007: 216). In 1909, celebrating 50 years of local government the Glebe side of the recreation area was named Jubilee Park and was formally opened on 31 August 1910. Park improvements in the early 20th century included a cricket oval and pavilion, rowing clubs and boatsheds on Rozelle Bay (Solling 2007: 216-7). Maps and plans show that the area on the western side of Johnston’s Creek retained the name Federal Park.

Bicentennial Park was formed to mark the 200th anniversary of European settlement in 1988. It incorporated both Federal and Jubilee Parks, Pope Paul VI Reserve and Government land between Federal Road and Rozelle Bay that had been leased by the Sydney Harbour Trust Commissioners (later the Maritime Services Board) for industrial use. Stage 1 involved the remediation of the land east of Johnston Creek Channel and opened in 1988; and Stage 2 to the west of the Channel opened in 1995 [‘Glebe Foreshore Park Glebe’,].

In the 1980s Federal Road was closed and in 1990 the AllanTruss road bridge was closed to vehicular traffic due to its state of disrepair [Leichhardt Heritage Study, Rev Ed May 1990: Inventory No B33_G]. Today the route of Federal Road is marked by paving within the parklands and the Allan Truss was reconstructed and converted to a pedestrian bridge.

Historical summary of the bridge:
The former Federal Park Road Allan Truss Bridge, connects Jubilee Park to Federal Park, near the mouth of the canal. An Allan Truss bridge along Federal Road across Johnstons Creek, near its mouth, was built in the 1890s and it was initially used for traffic. It is shown on 1910 and 1939 maps of Glebe. The bridge was reconstructed in 1998-2000 and converted into a footbridge.

The Allan Truss was designed by Percy Allan, partly based on the Howe truss. Truss bridges were built from the late 19th Century through the early 20th Century because they were inexpensive and easy to build. One of the earliest Allan Truss bridges was built in 1894 over Glennies Creek at Camberwell, NSW. The last one known to have been built in NSW was over Mill Creek at Wisemans Ferry in 1929. Dating from the 1890s, this makes the subject bridge as one of the earliest surviving Allan Truss bridges in NSW.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Allan Truss bridge is of historical significance as an evidence of early timber truss bridges and transport technology in NSW. A bridge has existed on the site since the 1890s and is shown on 1910 and 1939 maps of Glebe. It was reconstructed in 1998-2000 and converted into a footbridge.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Historically associated with Sir Allen Taylor, Mayor of Annandale from 1897 to 1902.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Allan Truss bridge has landmark values for its technology and construction technique.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Social assessment requires further study to ascertain its value for the local community. It can be anticipated that, being constructed in 1890s, this would provide a social connection to Sydney’s history.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
It has technological significance for being one of the earliest surviving Allan Truss bridges in NSW. Truss bridges were built from the late 19th Century to the early 20th Century because they were inexpensive and easy to build.
SHR Criteria f)
A rare timber bridge built using the Allan Truss technique. One of the earliest Allan Ttruss bridges was built in 1894 over Glennies Creek at Camberwell, NSW. The last one built in NSW was over Mill Creek at Wisemans Ferry in 1929. Dating from the 1890s, this makes the subject bridge as one of the earliest Allan Truss bridges in NSW.
SHR Criteria g)
A representative example of an Allan Truss bridge within NSW.
Integrity/Intactness: The original bridge was reconstructed in 2000.
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:

The bridge should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. Archival photographic recording, in accordance with Heritage Council guidelines, should be undertaken before major changes.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I81514 Dec 12   
Heritage studyCity of Sydney Industrial and Warehouse Buildings    
Heritage studyLeichhardt Heritage StudyB33G   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
City of Sydney Industrial & Warehouse Buildings Heritage Study2014 City Plan HeritageCity Plan Heritage Yes
Leichhardt Municpal Heritage Study1990B33GMcDonald McPhee P/L  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City View detail
WrittenComber Consultants2011Statement of Heritage Impact Johnstons Stormwater Canal Shared Pathway Project
ElectronicGlebe Walks Jubilee Oval and Park View detail
WrittenMax Soling2007Grandeur and Girt, A History of Glebe
WrittenRTA - John McPhail - Manager, Gordon Chirgwin2005Timber/Concrete Composite Module - Testing and Performance. Presentation for the Australian Small Bridges Conference 2005

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: 2435684

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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