Yowaka Bridge near Eden | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Yowaka Bridge near Eden

Item details

Name of item: Yowaka Bridge near Eden
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Land
Category: Road Bridge
Location: Lat: -36.9593492929 Long: 149.8718408510
Primary address: State Highway 1, Eden, NSW 2551
Local govt. area: Bega Valley
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Eden
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
State Highway 1EdenBega Valley  Primary Address
Princes HighwayEdenBega Valley  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Roads and Maritime ServicesState Government 

Statement of significance:

High state significance. It demonstrates how bridge designs evolved to address the structural capabilities or reinforced concrete compared to the traditional materials of masonry, timber and steel. It is a fine example of a continuous girder reinforced concrete bridge, a type constructed in a limited period between 1934 and World War 2. It is part of the upgrade of the Princes Highway which commenced in 1924. It includes aesthetic qualities such as shuttering / formwork patterning, curved lines and a light graceful form, which addresses the construction process and structural characteristics unique to reinforced concrete. It is one of four continuous two girder reinforced concrete bridges in NSW and the only example with concrete bearings.
Date significance updated: 15 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.


Construction years: 1936-1936
Physical description: Four span, concrete simply supported continuous over pier bridge on a 26 degree skew. It is supported on three internal piers and abutments on both ends. The north end is anchored on to the abutment and the remaining supports have rocker bearings to allow movement to the bridge deck. The deck was widened in 1994. Each of the three piers consists of two octagonal columns about 2.3 metres from the top of the pile cap. A concrete diaphragm connects the two columns at mid-height and is approximately 1.8 metres high. The thickness of the diaphragms is approximately 0.32m. Two of the piers are supported on caissons while the third is supported on driven piles. The overall length of the bridge is 65.22 metres with spans of 14.42m, 18.28m and 14.32 m respectively. The deck is integral with two downstand beams running the full length of the bridge. The beams are curved, with haunches at each support point. Traverse cross beams, integral with the deck span are located between the longitudinal beams at regular intervals. The reinforcement in the original concrete consists of round bars. The concrete finish to the original structure is shutter or board finished and is aesthetically laid in the soffit area and horizontal on the abutments and piers.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The bridge was in good condition but was damaged by fire as a result of a fuel tanker accident in June 1999.
Date condition updated:15 Jun 05
Modifications and dates: Widened in 1994 by overlaying the original deck with reinforced concrete and cantilevering it to the increased width. The longitudinal beams were post-tensioned at the end spans to augment the load carrying capacity.
Current use: Road bridge


Historical notes: The current bridge replaced an earlier timber bridge named Saltwater Bridge. (The Yowaka River was previously known as Saltwater River). Early road construction south of Nowra was not as continuous or well planned as in the Illawarra. The majority of roads were rough bridle tracks and were privately funded. An official line was surveyed in 1859 from Merimbula to Bega. In 1864, the government extended the road from Moruya to Bega. River crossings were problematic and it was not until the 1870s that improvements on river crossings were undertaken in the form of punts or bridges. It is likely that the first Saltwater River bridge was constructed in the 1870s or 1880s. Construction of the current bridge was undertaken as part of improvements to the Princes Highway in the 1930s. It was widened in 1994 to cater for modern traffic demands.

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]
Yowaka Bridge demonstrates the adoption or reinforced concrete as a relatively new material and the develoment of reinforced concrete bridge designs, which emerged during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Continuous girder bridges were one of the five reinforced concrete bridge types developed following the formation of the Main Roads Board in 1924. The bridge forms part of the Princes Highway and was part of the overall improvement works on the highway after the formation of the Main Roads Board.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The surface form and texture created by the formwork and shutter design on the soffit, abutments and piers demonstrates that the architectural attributes of the bridge were part of the overall design and were not purely utilitarian. The level of detailing present on the soffit indicates that the architectural detailing was as important as the structural design. The subtle arches, level springings and haunches along the main beam / girder complement the structural characteristics and potential of reinforced concrete, which allowed a lighter and more graceful bridge design.
SHR Criteria f)
In 1999, one of four continuous two girder reinforced concrete bridges in NSW and the only example with concrete bearings. (Others are Kellys Gully Creek near Warialda Rail; Warialda Creek; Croobyar Creek)
SHR Criteria g)
Yowaka Bridge is a fine example of a continuous reinforced concrete girder bridge. It contains all the attributes of a continuous reinforced concrete girder bridge as well as the fine architectural detailing. It is one of only ten such bridges in NSW.
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 0148620 Jun 00 --
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage registerRoads & Traffic s.170    

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenDepartment of Main Roads NSW1934General Plan and Elevation of Bridge over Kellys Gully
WrittenDepartment of Main Roads, NSW1938General Plan and Elevation of Bridge over Warialda Creek
WrittenDepartment of Main Roads, NSW1934General Plan and Elevation of Bridge over Saltwater Creek
WrittenRTA Bridge Inspection Reports - General file No. 1108, 1123, 1514, 1225

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: 5051390
File number: H00/00304

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