Cooreei Bridge over Williams River | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Cooreei Bridge over Williams River

Item details

Name of item: Cooreei Bridge over Williams River
Other name/s: RTA Bridge No. 1472
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Land
Category: Road Bridge
Location: Lat: 151.76404751 Long: -32.3967817
Primary address: Regional Road 101, Dungog, NSW 2420
Local govt. area: Dungog


See curtilage map: 4300177c.jpg.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Regional Road 101DungogDungog  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Roads and Maritime ServicesState Government 

Statement of significance:

Completed in 1906, the Cooreei bridge is an early example of Dare timber truss bridges, and in 1998 was in good condition.

As a timber truss road bridge, it has strong associations with the expansion of the road network and economic activity throughout NSW, and Harvey Dare, the designer of this type of truss.

Dare trusses were fifth in the five stage design evolution of NSW timber truss road bridges. They were similar to Allan trusses, but contain 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.

Cooreei bridge is located in the Hunter region, which has 15 historic bridges each constructed before 1905, and it gains heritage significance from its proximity to the high concentration of other historic bridges in the area.

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.

The Coorei bridge is a representative example of Dare timber truss road bridges, and is assessed as being State significant, primarily on the basis of its technical and historical significance.
Date significance updated: 28 Jan 99
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: Harvey Dare
Builder/Maker: Oakes W F, Sydney
Physical description: Cooreei Bridge is a Dare type timber truss road bridge. It has a single timber truss span of 27.7m (91ft). There are 6 timber approach spans at one end and 3 at the other giving the bridge an overall length of 114.6m (376ft).

The super structure is supported by timber trestles and provides a dual lane carriage way with a minimum width of 5.5m. A timber post and rail guard rail extends the full length of the bridge.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Original condition assessment: 'Good' (Last updated: 4/02/1999.)

2007-08 condition update: 'Fair.' (Last updated: 17/4/09.)
Date condition updated:17 Apr 09
Modifications and dates: 2003/2004 - Change in configuration from 4 to 5 piles by driving new piles at Piers 1, 2, 4 and 8.
Current use: Road bridge
Former use: Road bridge


Historical notes: The Cooreei bridge is an early example of Dare timber truss bridge and was completed in 1906.

Timber truss road bridges have played a significant role in the expansion and improvement of the NSW road network. Prior to the bridges being built, river crossings were often dangerous in times of rain, which caused bulk freight movement to be prohibitively expensive for most agricultural and mining produce. Only the high priced wool clip of the time was able to carry the costs and inconvenience imposed by the generally inadequate river crossings that often existed prior to the trusses construction.

Timber truss bridges were preferred by the Public Works Department from the mid 19th to the early 20th century because they were relatively cheap to construct, and used mostly local materials. The financially troubled governments of the day applied pressure to the Public Works Department to produce as much road and bridge work for as little cost as possible, using local materials. This condition effectively prohibited the use of iron and steel, as these, prior to the construction of the steel works at Newcastle in the early 20th century, had to be imported from England.

Harvey Dare, the designer of Dare truss and other bridges, was a leading engineer in the Public Works Department, and a prominent figure in early 20th century NSW.

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

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]
Through the bridge's association with the expansion of the NSW road network, its ability to demonstrate historically important concepts such as the gradual acceptance of NSW people of American design ideas, and its association with Harvey Dare, it has historical significance.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The bridge exhibits the technical excellence of its design, as all of the structural detail is clearly visible. In the context of its landscape it is visually attractive. As such, the bridge has moderate aesthetic significance.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Timber truss bridges are prominent to road travellers, and NSW has in the past been referred to as the "timber truss bridge state". Through this, the complete set of bridges gain some social significance, as they could be said to be held in reasonable esteem by many travellers in NSW.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The bridge has technical significance because it is a Dare truss, is representative of some major technical developments that were made in timber truss design by the Public Works Department.
SHR Criteria f)
Rare - 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.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative of Dare truss bridges
Integrity/Intactness: 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:

continued sympathetic management


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Relative Heritage Significance of all Timber Truss Bridges in NSW1998 McMillan Britton & Kell  Yes
Relative Heritage Significance of all Timber Truss Bridges in NSW1998 McMillan Britton & Kell  Yes
Relative Heritage Significance of all Timber Truss Bridges in NSW1998 McMillan Britton & Kell  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenDepartment of Main Roads, NSW1987Timber Truss Bridge Maintenance Handbook
WrittenFraser, D J1985Timber Bridges of New South Wales

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: State Government
Database number: 4300177

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