Monkerai Bridge over Karuah River | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Monkerai Bridge over Karuah River

Item details

Name of item: Monkerai Bridge over Karuah River
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Land
Category: Road Bridge
Location: Lat: -32.2834533933 Long: 151.8771582840
Primary address: Main Road 101, Monkerai, NSW 2415
Local govt. area: Great Lakes
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Karuah

Boundary:

The bridge is located on the Weismantels-Dingadee Road (formerly Main Road 101) which links Dungog (south abutment) with Stroud (northern abutement) and provides a crossing over the Karuah River at Monkerai, Great Lakes Shire, New South Wales.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Main Road 101MonkeraiGreat Lakes  Primary Address
Weismantels-Dingadee RoadMonkeraiGreat Lakes  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Roads and Maritime ServicesState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Monkerai Bridge is one of the most significant bridges in the NSW road network from a heritage perspective. It has been assessed previously as being of heritage significance at a National level (McMillan, Britton & Kell 1998), although it is endorsed and managed by the RTA as being significant at a State level. While the Bridge is of aesthetic and social significance, its high level of heritage significance stems chiefly from it being of great historical and technical significance. The Bridge is the second oldest surviving timber truss bridge in the NSW road network, and is an exceptionally rare example of an Old PWD truss bridge. Old PWD truss bridges were the first in the five-stage development of timber truss bridges in NSW, and represent the genesis of this form of bridge construction. While the Bridge as a whole has been assessed as fulfilling the criteria for listing on the SHR, the various elements that comprise the Bridge are of varying levels of significance: abutments, piers, decking and hand railing are of moderate significance, of works the cross girders are of considerable significance and the truss spans are of exceptional significance. Reference: Monkerai Bridge, Conservation Management Plan, Claire Everett and Raymond Taylor
Date: 2003
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

Physical description: The following information is extracted from the CMP prepared by Claire Everett and Raymond Taylor in 2003 (Sections 3 and 3.1.7).

The bridge is located on the Weismantels-Dingadee Road (formerly Main Road 101) which links Dungog (south abutment) with Stroud (northern abutment) and provides a crossing over the Karuah River at Monkerai, Great Lakes Shire, New South Wales.
The Bridge comprises six spans (three approach spans and three truss spans) with an overall length of 98.4 metres and a maximum road width of 4.9 metres between kerbs.

The majority of the Bridge fabric is timber. Metal, in the form of steel or cast iron, was used in the shoes, vertical tension rods, and the bolts used to hold all of the bridge components together.

Monkerai Bridge has a high degree of integrity in both its fabric and design. It is not known how many of these elements are original, as their replacement is rarely discussed in the bridge maintenance files.

The most notable change in recent years has been the re-building of pier 2 with a concrete base. Other changes include the installation of longitudinal decking and the attachment of timber endposts to the timber ordinance railing at either end of the Bridge. The bottom chords of the trusses are laminated as per the original design, but in some sections consists of three laminates and in others, four.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Non-indigenous Heritage
No historical evidence has been found regarding the presence of any earlier bridges or punts at this location. During the field inspection no physical evidence of any archaeological remains of earlier crossings could be seen, and from discussions with a local residence it appears that the current bridge is the first river crossing built in this location. The River in this location is not deep and can easily be forded and it is assumed that this is how the River was crossed prior to construction of the Bridge.

Indigenous Heritage
A search of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s (NPWS) Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS) revealed that there were no known indigenous heritage sites within a one kilometre radius of the Bridge. However an absence of registered sites on AHIMS for the area is more likely to be an indication that the area has not been subject to a field survey for indigenous sites, rather than being an indication that no indigenous heritage sites are present.
Date condition updated:10 Oct 03
Current use: bridge
Former use: bridge

History

Historical notes: The following information is drawn from the CMP prepared by Claire Everett and Raymond Taylor in 2003 (Section 2.4: 6-7):

Monkerai Bridge was completed in 1882. The RTA holds no records for the Bridge prior to 1930, at which time control of the Bridge was handed over from the NSW Public Works Department to the newly formed Main Roads Board (MRB) of NSW.

Through the maintenance file it is possible to track repairs and modifications made to the Bridge over its history. In a report to the MRB Divisional Engineer by a bridge engineer regarding an inspection made on the Bridge in early 1933, the engineer responsible wrote: 'It has evidently been extensively repaired at various times and quite a large proportion of the original timber has been replaced'. The bridge will require either extensive repairs or complete renewal within a few years (Paper on file 6/2/33, 410.62 Part 1)'.

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 Engineering the public road system-
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-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Roadways to Inland Settlements-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Building Bridges-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Bridge is the second-oldest surviving timber truss road bridge in New South Wales, and is one of only two surviving Old PWD truss bridges in existence.
The design of the Bridge is historically significant through its links to earlier European timber truss bridges, the designs of which can be traced back to the influence of the 16th Century Italian architect, Andrea Palladio.
The Bridge is historically significant through its association with the expansion of the NSW road network, and the contribution of that road system to the settlement and development of NSW.
The form and fabric of the Bridge are significant in reflecting the requirement of an 1861 parliamentary decree that local materials be used in the construction of public works, to reduce the costs associated with the importation of iron, which was not produced locally at that time.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Bridge is significant through its association with William Bennett, the Commissioner for Public Works, designer of the Old PWD truss, and "father" of timber truss bridges in NSW.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The form of the Bridge is aesthetically pleasing. The structural detail of the Bridge is clearly visible, and the form of the truss has an angularity and repetition of form that is pleasing to the eye. The Bridge is located in a visually attractive landscape of gently rolling hills and valleys, and the Bridge itself forms an attractive addition to the built component of that landscape. The appearance of the Bridge when viewed from up or downstream is quite striking.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Bridge is of significance to the people of the Monkerai area, both as a transport link, and as a local heritage item although there does not appear to be a high level of community awareness of its heritage significance.
The Bridge is of significance to the region for its place in the road network of the Hunter Region, and through its historical contribution to the settlement and development of the Gloucester region.
Timber truss bridges are significant to the social identity of NSW as the "timber truss bridge state", being the only Australian state to widely use timber truss bridges as an integral part of its late 19th and early 20th Century road network.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Bridge is of high technical significance as a rare remaining example of an Old PWD truss bridge, the first truss type designed and used for timber road bridges in NSW. Through study of the Old PWD and later truss types, it is possible to track the design changes made to the various truss types as designs were refined for better durability and ease of maintenance.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Bridge is an exceptionally rare example of a once prolific form of bridge construction. Only two Old PWD truss bridges survive, out of a total of 147 constructed.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Bridge is highly representative of an Old PWD truss, and demonstrates the construction and design techniques used in the earliest form of timber truss bridge design in NSW.
The Bridge is intact and still functioning in its original role as a road bridge. Whilst elements of the Bridge have been altered to meet current traffic requirements, safety specifications or to make the structure less difficult to maintain, the most significant elements of the Bridge, the truss spans, still retain the characteristics of the original design.
Integrity/Intactness: While little original fabric remains on the Bridge, it is still considered to have a high degree of integrity, the reason being that timber truss bridges were designed with the requirement to replace timber elements in mind. The fact that timber elements on this Bridge have generally been replaced “like for like” means that this structure has a high degree of integrity. Its level of integrity is greater than that of the only other Old PWD truss Bridge still in existence, Clarence Town Bridge, as it has had less structural modifications made to it.
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
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementMonkerai Bridge over Karuah River Conservation Management Plan  
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
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.

FRANK SARTOR
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

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0147520 Jun 00 --
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage registerRoads & Traffic s.170    
National Trust of Australia register      
Register of the National EstateNo. 015919    

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenClaire Everett2003Statement of Heritage Impact. Proposed strengthening and upgrade of Monkerai Bridge over the Karuah River
WrittenClaire Everett and Raymond Taylor2003Monkerai Bridge. Conservation Management Plan (Draft)
WrittenIan Berger2004Statement of Heritage Impact. Proposed rehabilitation and strengthening works on Monkerai Bridge over the Karuah River north of Dungog, 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: 5051379


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