Brewarrina Bridge over Barwon River, The | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Brewarrina Bridge over Barwon River, The

Item details

Name of item: Brewarrina Bridge over Barwon River, The
Other name/s: RTA Bridge No. 4854; The Brewarrina Bridge over Barwon River
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Land
Category: Foot Bridge
Primary address: Kamilaroi Highway, Brewarrina, NSW 2839
Local govt. area: Brewarrina
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Kamilaroi HighwayBrewarrinaBrewarrina  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Roads and Maritime ServicesState Government 

Statement of significance:

Even though the damage to the Lift Bridge over the Barwon River at Brewarrina necessitates some loss of heritage value the Bridge still has significance because:
* it has been an important item of infrastructure in the history of new South Wales for 110 years and is associated with the history of the River Trade.
* it is a technically sophisticated bridge structure for its time and was designed by famous Public Works engineer, Percy Allen.
* it has strong aesthetic lines,
* it contributed significantly to the social and commercial development of north western New South Wales,
* it is a rare bridge because it, and the lift bridge at North Bourke, are the only surviving examples of the first series of lift bridges in new South Wales.

The bridge has been assessed as being of State significance.
Date significance updated: 15 Aug 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.

Description

Designer/Maker: Percy Allan
Physical description: The Brewarrina Bridge over the Barwon River is a wrought iron lift bridge with timber beam approaches. The upper framework is fully braced to hold the tops of the posts in position in all directions. The main span is supported on two piers made from pairs of tubes fabricated from curved and shaped wrought iron plates riveted together, and with cross ties attractively shaped to form a vertical set of elliptical holes.

The main span is 16.8m in length and there are four approach spans on each side, all approximately 9m in length. The overall length is 91m and the Bridge has a single lane 4.5m wide between kerbs. The roadway is carried on cross girders covered with timber deck.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Original condition assessment: 'The central steel span of the Bridge has been damaged but the Bridge is otherwise in good condition.' (Last updated: 16/03/2001.)

2007-08 condition update: 'Poor .' (Last updated: 17/4/09.)
Date condition updated:17 Apr 09
Modifications and dates: 1896 - modify lifting mechanism: 2000 damage
Current use: Pedestrian bridge
Former use: Road bridge

History

Historical notes: Opened on 7 December 1888, this is the second oldest lift bridge in New South Wales. Unfortunately in July 2000 the lift span was severely damaged and is currently protected by a Bailey bridge. Its fate is yet to be decided.

Percy Allen designed the lift bridge with a fully braced upper framework to hold the tops of the posts in position, in all directions. In 1896 E M de Burgh modified the lifting mechanism such that it could be worked by one man.

The impetus for lift bridges such as this one, was to "capture" the New South Wales wool trade from the river paddle steamers and direct it away from Melbourne and Adelaide to Sydney. Steamers were also using the Murray River, consequently most river crossings required a movable span bridge with a lift bridge being the most common (Movable span Bridges in New South Wales prior to 1915, D J Fraser 1985).

The other surviving pre-1915 lift bridges over the inland rivers are at Wilcannia 1896 over the Darling river, but out of service, and over the Murray River at Tocumwal (1895) for VicRail, Swan Hill (1896), Cobram (1902) and Barham (1905). Public Works engineer, with those at Bourke and Brewarrina, they are a very significant set of bridges.

Its older partner is over the Darling River at North Bourke was opened on 4 August 1883. Both came from essentially the same design by Public Works engineer J H Daniels. However, at Bourke the lift posts were no connected at their tops by longitudinal elements (parallel to the lift span) which allowed the post to deflect slightly inwards during the lifting operation which caused the lift span to jam between the post when nearing full lift.

The bridge is now closed to traffic and is used as a pedestrian bridge only.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The bridge has high historical significance because it is the second oldest lift bridge in New South Wales. It, and the lift bridge at North Bourke, are the only surviving examples of the first series of lift bridges in New South Wales. It has been an important item of infrastructure in the history of New South Wales and is associated with the history of the River Trade because it helped to "capture" the New South Wales wool trade from the river paddle steamers and direct it away from Melbourne and Adelaide to Sydney.

It is associated with Percy Allan and E M de Burgh.

It significantly helped open up north western New South Wales.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Aesthetically, the Bridge dominates the landscape with its high lift span and elegant piers. It presents an imposing yet attractive reminder of the past.

The Bridge exhibits the technical excellence of its design, as all of the structural details are clearly visible, including details of the moving parts.

As such, the Bridge has high aesthetic significance.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Brewarrina Bridge has significance for the local community. The construction of this Bridge has contributed to the economic development of this community.

The Bridge contributed significantly to the social and commercial development of North Western New South Wales.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Bridge is one of a small group of lift bridges surviving from the late colonial period. It was a technically sophisticated bridge structure for its time and was designed by famous Public Works engineer, Percy Allan. The Bridge has high technical significance because of its ability to demonstrate aspects of technology, design and style in bridge construction.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
It is one of only two surviving example of the first series of lift bridges in NSW.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
It is a fine representative example of a lift bridge.
Integrity/Intactness: Damaged
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

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register  14 Oct 02   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Study of Heritage Sig. of pre 1930 RTA Controlled Metal Road Bridges in NSW2001 Cardno MBK  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenDon Fraser1985Movable Span Bridges in New South Wales prior to 1915

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

rez
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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4301660


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