Albury rail bridge over Murray River | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Albury rail bridge over Murray River

Item details

Name of item: Albury rail bridge over Murray River
Other name/s: Albury Lattice Railway Bridge, Murray River Underbridge
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Bridge/ Viaduct
Location: Lat: -36.0998612806 Long: 146.9093923700
Primary address: Main Southern railway, 648.465km, Albury, NSW 2640
Parish: Albury
County: Goulburn
Local govt. area: Albury City
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Albury And District


The listing boundary is the bridge structure and its approaches including supports and embankments.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Main Southern railway, 648.465kmAlburyAlbury CityAlburyGoulburnPrimary Address
Murray River (over)AlburyAlbury City  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Rail Infrastructure CorporationState Government 

Statement of significance:

The wrought iron lattice Albury Murray River underbridge is a major early structure associated with the ‘father’ of the NSW railways, John Whitton, and geographically linked to Albury Railway Precinct, one of the most significant railway sites in the NSW. It is an excellent example of a wrought iron lattice bridge, a design that was used extensively for bridge construction during the first major phase of railway construction in NSW in the late 19th century. It is a historically and aesthetically significant structure and a prominent landmark on the NSW/Victoria border.

It is one of only two double track bridges of this design, the other being the wrought iron lattice Parramatta River bridge at Meadowbank (no longer in use for rail traffic) and is still in use, carrying both standard gauge (NSW) and broad gauge (Victorian) railway lines. It is the 7th oldest lattice bridge in the NSW rail system, being constructed in the second phase of wrought iron lattice bridge construction (one of the 2nd set of six such bridges).
Date significance updated: 19 Jul 13
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: John Whitton, Engineer-in-Chief for Railways
Builder/Maker: J S Bennett, iron work supplied by Westwood Baillie, England
Construction years: 1883-1884
Physical description: The Albury Murray River Bridge is a double track, 3 span wrought iron lattice underbridge. It is a two span continuous lattice bridge with overhead transverse frames for stabilising the top flanges. The spans are 159 feet to centres of piers and the lattice work has 6 triangulations. The piers are pairs of cast iron cylinders supplied by Stockton Forge Co. from England. It is the only double track lattice bridge in service, the other was at Meadowbank, and is one of the 2nd set of six wrought iron lattice bridges with 4-triangular lattice. It was also the first of the two-track lattice bridges constructed on the NSW railway system.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In use 2008; in satisfactory condition.
Date condition updated:19 Jul 13
Current use: Carries standard gauge and broad gauge rail tracks over Murray River
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: During the 20-year period between 1873 and 1893 there was a massive programme of public works in New South Wales, particularly in expanding the road and rail networks. During this period and despite strong economic conditions, the respective chief engineers, for roads (William C Bennett) and for railways (John Whitton), adopted economic construction methods and materials, for example by using local materials where possible. Consequently an enormous amount of hardwood timber was used for bridge works; mostly timber beam and timber truss bridges.

However, long span bridges were required for major river crossings, making timber bridge construction unsuitable at many locations. Metal bridge construction was adopted for larger bridges at major river crossings with metal supplied from England. John Whitton adopted the use of wrought iron lattice truss bridges, with twelve such bridges built for the NSW Railways in the late 19th century and 24 wrought iron bridges built for roads.

Many of these bridges (for road and rail) remain extant in NSW, including railway lattice bridges at: Bathurst (Macquarie River, 1876), Wellington (Macquarie River, 1881), Woolbrook (MacDonald River, 1882), Dubbo (Macquarie River, 1884), Cowra (Lachlan River, 1887), Tamworth (Peel River, 1882), Albury (Murray River, 1884), and Narrandera (Murrumbidgee River, 1885).

The Albury Murray River Bridge consists of two 48.463 metre wrought iron lattice girder trusses, a steel opening transom top, and cast iron piers. The cylinders, made by Stockton Forge Co. in the UK weighed 290 tonnes and were delivered between 3 April 1883 and 11 June 1883. The superstructure, made by Westwood Baillie & Co. weighed 594 tonnes and was delivered between 3 April 1883 and 11 June 1883.

The total cost of the bridge was estimated at £32,519.19.0, including:

Cylinders, superstructure: £12,313.0.3
Railway carriage of above: £5,318.19.9
Sinking & fixing of cylinders: £10,005.3.9
Erecting superstructure: £3,775.3.3
Cost of trial borings: £2,11.5.0
Permanent Way materials on bridge: £103.3.7
Engineer’s expenses for supervisor: £793.3.5

Few major modifications have been made to the Albury Bridge with the most significant change probably being the opening of a Standard Gauge track linking Albury to Melbourne on 12 April 1962, with normal passenger services commencing on 16 April 1962.

Two former railway lattice bridges (1885 Georges River bridge at Como and 1886 Parramatta River bridge at Meadowbank) were decommissioned for railway use but remain in use as pedestrian walkways /cycle ways. The 1871 wrought iron rail bridge over the Hunter River at Aberdeen was replaced by another bridge and demolished and the 1881 rail bridge over the Murrumbidgee River at Wagga Wagga was demolished in 2006 and replaced by a concrete structure.

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 Building and maintaining the public railway system-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - building and administering rail networks-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Twelve wrought iron lattice railway bridges were built in NSW during the boom period for railway construction 1871-1887, starting at Aberdeen and ending at Cowra. Eight of the bridges survive for rail use, and two have been converted for pedestrian use.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Associated with Engineer-in-Chief of the NSW Railways, the 'father' of the NSW railways.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The wrought iron lattice railway bridge at Albury is an imposing structure.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Every wrought iron lattice railway bridge crossed a major river which made it possible for the railways to make a social and commercial contribution to the districts reached by the railway.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The wrought iron lattice bridge is a technically sound structure and as such is an example of bridge technology in the late colonial period in NSW (late 19th century). Its strength and durability have shown it to have been a very cost-effective form of bridge construction.
SHR Criteria g)
The Albury Murray River wrought iron lattice bridge is an excellent representative example of a series of similar bridges constructed by the NSW railways in the late 19th century, most of which remain extant.
Integrity/Intactness: Apart from relatively minor technical works, repairs and strengthening, the Albury bridge is highly 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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0102002 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Rail Infrastructure Corporation s.170 Register2003 Rail Infrastructure Corporation  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenDon Fraser1995Bridges Down Under
WrittenJohn Forsyth Historical notes for each of the railway lines for each bridge
WrittenRoss Best and Don Fraser1982Railway Lattice Girder Bridges in New South Wales

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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045524

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