Victoria bridge is an Allan type timber truss road bridge. It has 3 timber truss spans, each of 27.4m (90ft). There are no approach spans. The overall length of the bridge is 83.4m (273ft).
The super structure is supported by timber trestles which carry a single lane carriage way with a minimum width of 3.7m and a footpath. A timber post and rail guard rail extends the full length of the bridge and an Armco barrier protects pedestrians from vehicular traffic.
The town of Picton was named by Major Antill after Sir Thomas Picton in 1841. The location was previously known as 'Stonequarry'. The Duke of Wellington described Picton as a 'rough foul-mouthed devil as ever lived' but very capable. He was 'respected for his courage and feared for his irrascible temperament'. He was chiefly remembered for his exploits under Wellington in the Iberinan Peninsular War displaying great barvery and persistence. He was killed at the battle of Waterloo and was the most senior officer to die there. He was buried in the family vault at St. George's, Hanover Square in London. In 1859 Picton was re-interred in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, lying close to the body of the Duke of Wellington (Wheeldon, 2015, 3).
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".