Suspension Bridge over Nepean River | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Suspension Bridge over Nepean River

Item details

Name of item: Suspension Bridge over Nepean River
Other name/s: Maldon Bridge; Harvey's Crossing
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Land
Category: Road Bridge
Location: Lat: 0 Long: 0
Primary address: End of Maldon Bridge Rd End of Wilton Park Dr, Maldon, NSW 2571
Local govt. area: Wollondilly
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
End of Maldon Bridge Rd End of Wilton Park DrMaldonWollondilly  Primary Address
Wilton - Picton Road at Nepean RiverMaldonWollondilly  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

The Maldon Suspension Bridge and the hand-hewn rock roadways on either bank have historical significance because they provide graphic evidence of the difficulties experienced in developing the road linkages in the region due to the nature of the terrain and the barrier posed by the Nepean River.
The Bridge has aesthetic and technical significance as one of only a small number of true suspension bridges in NSW and its curved timber approaches are unique. The bridge's significance is enhanced by the spectacular gorge setting.
Date significance updated: 05 Nov 07
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: deBurgh, E M
Builder/Maker: McCall, James
Construction years: 1903-
Physical description: The main bridge is a stiffened suspension structure of an uncommon type, the main cables after leaving the 37 metre high towers, being carried upwards to an anchorage in the sandstone cliff above the Bridge. (Usually cables are carried downwards.) The anchor cavities in the cliffs are some 9.3 metres deep and are accessible by visitors. The length of the Bridge is 188.5 metres and the height of the deck above the river is 24 metres.
The main span has 69.5 metre centres, carried by sudpension rods from the cables, of which there are 14 on either side of the Bridge. The cables have socketed end connections secured to steel girders in anchorages cut out of solid rock and accessible for inspection. The stiffening trusses are steel hinged at the towers and also at the centre, to allow for the rise and fall of the cables due to temperature changes. The roadway is of timber planking 4.5 metres wide between kerbs, carried on stringers and cross girders.
In addition to the main span there are 7 timber approach spans, built on a curve to meet the roadway on either side of the river. The approaches include a considerable retaining wall on the Maldon side.
The remains of the original road cuttings can be seen below and to the west of the bridge and the old causeway is some 100 metres downstream from the bridge.
Modifications and dates: The Bridge was largely of timber construction in its original form. A bushfire severely damaged the bridge in 1939. The downstream tower was completely destroyed, the other towers, the all-timber deck and the short timber approach spans were also extensively damaged. To guard against damage by future fires, steel towers were used in the reconstructed bridge, supported on concrete abutments.
Current use: Park/Reserve
Former use: Transport/Communication - Road

History

Historical notes: The site of the Maldon Suspension Bridge was originally known as "Harvey's Crossing" where the road connecting Wilton with the Great Southern Railway traversed the Nepean River at a stone causeway. Due to the steep nature of the river gorge at this location the approaches were steep and difficult, and the crossing was constantly damaged by floods, causing delays to traffic and heavy expenditure in maintenance.
Contructed in 1903 by Department of Works staff using day labour, the Bridge was designed by the Engineer for Bridges, Mr E M deBurgh, and the erection carried out by Mr James McCall, Bridge Inspector. It took eleven months and 8,000 pounds to build. Materials required were supplied under various contracts. The cables were imported, the steel and ironwork in stiffening trusses etc were manufactured by the Clyde Engineering Company and the timber supplied by various firms.
In 14 January, 1939, a fire driven along the ravine by strong winds, extensively damaged the bridge and major reconstruction was necessary.
By the late 1960s the Picton-Wollongong road had become a coal haul road serving the Port Kembla coal loader, with coal truck traffic utilising the Bridge daily. In the 1970s an alternative crossing site to accomodate the increased traffic and to link it to the planned South Western Freeway was selected and a new bridge constructed 2 kilometres downstream. The Maldon Suspension Bridge was closed to vehicular traffic shortly afterwards.
After its closure, the Wollondilly Shire Council and other concerned individuals lobbied for the preservation of the bridge. In 1981, the Department of Main Roads and the heritage Council provided funds for the establishment of a Trust to administer the bridge for educational and recreational purposes, and the Maldon Suspension Bridge Trust was inaugurated on 30 November 1981.
The history and scenic qualities of the bridge and its environs attract local people and visitors alike and swimmers and canoeists make regular use of the river in this most picturesque setting.

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 (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 Transport routes in the Wollondilly-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Maldon Suspension Bridge and the handhewn rock roadways on either bank have state significance because they provide graphic evidence of the difficulties experienced in developing the road linkages in the region due to the nature of the terrain and the barrier posed by the Nepean River.
The Bridgehas aesthetic and technical significance as one of only a small number of true suspension bridges in NSW and its curved timber approaches are unique. The bridge's significance is enhanced by the spectacular gorge setting.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
N/A
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Maldon Suspension Bridge has State significance as one of a very small number of true suspension bridges in NSW. The curved timber approaches and the use of overhead anchored cables is believed to be unique in NSW and the bridge represents several pioneering and unique engineering feats.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Maldon Suspension Bridge has local significance for the role it played in the development of transport links and the opening of the Wollondilly area to wider settlement as a result of those links.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Maldon Suspension Bridge has State significance through its ability to provide information about engineering techniques not seen elsewhere.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
This item is assessed as rare statewide.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Maldon Suspension Bridge is an outstanding example of 19th century civil engineering and suspension bridge technology.
Integrity/Intactness: Substantially 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.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan  23 Feb 11   
Local Environmental Plan  23 Aug 91 1197236
Heritage study  01 Jan 92   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Macarthur Region Heritage Study1985    No
Wollondilly Heritage Study1992WO0196JRC Planning ServicesJRC Yes
Wollondilly Shire Council Heritage Study Review20062690196Andrea OehmAndrea Oehm Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Maldon Suspension Bridge Trust Brochure

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: 2690196


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