Barham bridge is timber truss, steel lift span, bridge, generally two lanes wide across the Murray River between Barham in NSW and Koondrook in Victoria. The main axis of the bridge is N-S.
There are three main spans including one lift span, supported on cast iron piers. There is one timber approach span at each end, supported on timber trestle piers. The lift span (17.8m) is of lattice steel construction, both the for tower and the main girder. The design is similar to that developed by Percy Allan and first used at Swan Hill nine years previously, but shows some variation from that layout, and those used later at Tooleybuc and Abbotsford bridges. The Barham Bridge has the counterweights on the main axis side of the supporting columns, while the others have them on the cross axis. The cross girders on the top of the structure are unusually curved and decorated. The changes may be due to the fact that the design was undertaken under Ernest de Burgh who had also changed timber trusses from Percy Allan?s design.
The tow other main spans (31.7m) are timber trusses of the ?de Burgh? Type. Tis truss was developed by Ernest de Burgh as an improvement on the Allen Truss. The truss used a steel bottom chord. The truss supports steel cross girders and steel longitudinal stringers. The deck is timber. The approach spans (9.1m) are timber girders on timber trestle piers. The deck is timber. A section of the deck has been segregated for pedestrians with a kerb and handrail on all spans except the lift span. The main piers are cast ion and are protected by cofferdams. The bridge has a clearance over normal water level of 5.1m.
The bridge is in good condition having been extensively repaired in recent years, due to a major rehabilitation of the timber trusses.
The Murray around Barham was settled by graziers, mainly from Victoria, in the 1840s. by 1850 all the really desirable water-frontages on both sides of the Murray had been taken up as far upstream as Barham while the open plain to the north in New South Wales was only notionally divided into undeveloped backblocks. Barham station itself (named after the maiden name of the wife of the first grazier, E B Green, had a 32 kilometre frontage on the Murray, carrying a modest head of cattle in the mid Victorian period under a series of owners. With similar developments on the Loddon River, which converges with the Murray north of Barham, a crossing of the Murray was needed and a ferry was provided for stock and people.
In 1902 it was agreed that a bridge with a lift span should be built, thanks to local political pressure on both the NSW and Commonwealth governments. The first piles were driven in 1903 and the bridge opened in 1905.
Barham lies in the Wakool Irrigation District, opened in 1935l. This was the first such district in the state, with extensive, partial irrigation designed to provide water for the maximum number of graziers to ensure a regular supply of fattened lambs. In 1949 an intensive irrigation area within the district made rice farming feasible, increasing local heavy traffic. there have been particularly severe problems from salientian, however, in the last quarter-century.