Colemans Bridge over Leycester Creek | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Colemans Bridge over Leycester Creek

Item details

Name of item: Colemans Bridge over Leycester Creek
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Land
Category: Road Bridge
Location: Lat: -28.8055560972 Long: 153.2749292036
Primary address: Main Road 544, Lismore, NSW 2480
Local govt. area: Lismore
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Ngulingah
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Main Road 544LismoreLismore  Primary Address
Union StreetLismoreLismore  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Roads and Maritime ServicesState Government 

Statement of significance:

Colemans bridge was completed in 1908, and is an early example of Dare timber truss bridges. In 1998 it 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 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. Colemans bridge has particular technical significance, having iron piers, the only two-lane Dare truss, footways, and long spans. 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 Colemans bridge is a representative example of Dare timber truss road bridges, and is assessed as being Nationally significant, primarily on the basis of its technical and historical significance.
Date significance updated: 13 Sep 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.


Designer/Maker: Harvey Dare
Builder/Maker: W F Oakes, Sydney
Construction years: 1908-1908
Physical description: Coleman's Bridge is a Dare type timber truss road bridge. It has 2 timber truss spans, each of 32.0m (105ft). There are 2 timber approach spans at one end and 1 at the other giving the bridge an overall length of 90.7m (297ft).
The bridge has a twin cylindrical cast iron central pier. Timber trestles provide the remaining sub structure. The bridge deck provides a dual lane carriage way and a footpath both sides of the roadway. The minimum width of the carriage way is 6.1m.

An Armco traffic guard rail provides protection to vehicular traffic and a timber post and rail barrier forms the pedestrian walkway handrail. Curved steel braces fixed to the top chord of the timber truss help strengthen the outer timber pedestrian barriers.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is good.
Date condition updated:13 Sep 05
Current use: Bridge
Former use: Bridge


Historical notes: 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 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. The Colemans bridge is valued by the people of the Lismore region.
SHR Criteria f)
Rare - Colemans bridge contains many important technical and aesthetic
SHR Criteria g)
Highly representative of Dare timber truss bridges and late 19th century bridge technology
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 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 0146320 Jun 00 --
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage registerRoads & Traffic s.170    
Local Environmental Plan  27 Mar 92   
Register of the National Estate 199218 Apr 89 402298

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Colemans Bridge over Leycester Creek View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Colemans Bridge over Leycester Creek View detail
WrittenRoads and Traffic Authority2003Statement of Heritage Impact Proposed Truss strengthening works on Colemans Bridge over the Leycester Creek, Lismore, NSW

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 Office
Database number: 5051363

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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