Bridge over Turon River at Wallaby Rocks | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Bridge over Turon River at Wallaby Rocks

Item details

Name of item: Bridge over Turon River at Wallaby Rocks
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Land
Category: Road Bridge
Location: Lat: -33.0737047551 Long: 149.6495847360
Primary address: Main Road 216, west of Sofala, Sofala, nsw 2795
Local govt. area: Bathurst Regional
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Orange
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1  66499
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Main Road 216, west of SofalaSofalaBathurst Regional  Primary Address
Hill End RoadSofala (west)Bathurst Regional  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Roads Maritime and Bus Services - Transport for NSWState Government 

Statement of significance:

Completed in 1897, the Turon River Bridge is amongst the oldest examples of an Allan type timber truss road bridge, and in 1998 was in good condition. As a timber truss road bridge, it has many associational links with important historical events, trends, and people, including the expansion of the road network and economic activity throughout NSW, and Percy Allan, the designer of this type of truss. Allan trusses were third in the five-stage design evolution of NSW timber truss bridges, and were a major improvement over the McDonald trusses which preceded them. Allan trusses were 20% cheaper to build than Mc Donald trusses, could carry 50% more load, and were easier to maintain. The bridge has iron piers, which is a rare technical and aesthetic feature, and has the ability to demonstrate much about the manufacturing technology of the late 19th century. In 1998 there were 38 surviving Allan trusses in NSW of the 105 built, and 82 timber truss road bridges survive from the over 400 built. The Turon River bridge is a representative example of Allan 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 Jun 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
Builder/Maker: E Taylor, Balmain
Construction years: 1897-1897
Physical description: Wallaby Rocks Bridge is an Allan type timber truss road bridge. It has 3 timber truss spans, each of 27.7m (91ft). There are 2 approach spans at one end and one at the other giving the bridge an overall length of 106.7m (350ft).
The timber truss spans are supported by painted twin cast iron cylindrical piers. The approach spans are supported by timber trestles. The bridge provides a single lane carriage way with a minimum width of 4.6m. A post and rail timber guard rail extends the full length of the bridge.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good
Date condition updated:22 Oct 98
Current use: Road bridge
Former use: Aboriginal land, Road bridge

History

Historical notes: Wiradjuri Land
The Bathurst Plains are part of the ancestral homelands of the Wiradjuri people. Their lands were nestled between three rivers; Wambool (Macquarie), Kalare (Lachlan) and Murrumbidgeri (Murrimbigee). These rivers provided a good source of fish, duck, kangaroo, emu and various edible plants. The Wiradjuri had a typical Aboriginal social system based on kinship and totemic lore. The Wiradjuri people resisted European expansion into their territory as it was ruining traditional hunting grounds and desecrating sacred places. Settlement following Governor Macquarie's first visit to Bathurst in 1815 saw increasing conflict in the region, particularly under the leadership of Windradyne (c1790-c1835) and martial law was declared in the Bathurst area for a short time in 1824. The eventual surrender of Windradyne signalled a reduction in hostilities, although the decline in traditional indigenous ways of life continued. (Aitken, 2005).

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.

Allan trusses were the first truly scientifically engineered timber truss bridges, and incorporate American design ideas for the first time. This is a reflection of the changing mindset of the NSW people, who were slowly accepting that American ideas could be as good as or better than European ones. The high quality and low cost of the Allan truss design entrenched the dominance of timber truss bridges for NSW roads for the next 30 years.

Percy Allan, the designer of Allan truss and other bridges, was a senior engineer of the Public Works Department, and a prominent figure in late 19th 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
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. River flats-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Rivers and water bodies important to humans-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
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 Bridging rivers-

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 Percy Allan, 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, and the large three main span construction is an imposing presence. 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. The Turon River Bridge is held in some esteem by the people of Bathurst, and contributes in a small way to the heritage tourism which is popular in the area.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Rare - In 1998 there were 38 surviving Allan trusses in NSW of the 105 built, and 82 timber truss road bridges survive from the over 400 built.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Representative of Allan 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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2) OF THE HERITAGE ACT 1977

Standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977.

I, Donald Harwin, the Special Minister of State 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, effective 1 December 2020:

1. revoke the order made on 11 July 2008 and published on pages 91177 to 9182 of Government Gazette Number 110 of 5 September 2008 and varied by notice published in the Government Gazette on 5 March 2015; and

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

Donald Harwin
Special Minister of State
Signed this 9th Day of November 2020.

To view the standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 click on the link below.
Nov 13 2020

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0145820 Jun 00 --
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage registerRoads & Traffic s.170    
Institution of Engineers (NSW) Historic Engineering Marker     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAllan, Percy1924Highway Bridge Construction. The practice in New South Wales
WrittenDepratment 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: Heritage NSW
Database number: 5051357


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