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Published January 21st 2015
Wandiligong chinese swing bridge
You could be forgiven for never having heard of Wandiligong. It's a tiny town just past Bright in Victoria. It is in this quaint location, that a Chinese swing bridge was erected over the Morses creek, to honour the chinese who mined in the area during the gold rush times.
During the early 1860's, this area (known as the diggings) was heavily mined for gold and the town's population grew to almost 2000 at its peak, of which it is believed around 500 were chinese migrants*.
The Chinese swing Bridge, is part of the Diggings Walk which begins at the Alpine Park, but the chinese bridge is also easily accessed from Sangsters Lane, which is just off Centenary Avenue.
The bridge is constructed in a traditional chinese style, which makes it quite striking and unique. There are chinese inscriptions on the side walls at each end and oriental crossing signs above the entrance and exit.
The bridge is surrounded by natural vegetation and the setting is picturesque and peaceful, which is a sharp contrast to how it would have been in the bustling gold rush era. Despite the fact that the bridge was only built in 2003, it honours the heritage of the area and commemorates the contribution of the chinese gold miners.
The actual town of Wandiligong has been well preserved and is classified by the National Trust, with several pre-1900 buildings of significance including the library, general store/post office, church, hall and school, all still standing.
Today this historic little town is a sleepy sub alpine village, with the gold mines replaced by vegetation, apple orchards and nut trees*. It is known for its chestnuts, hazelnuts and walnuts, with an annual 'Wandi nut festival' showcasing nuts grown in and around the area.
Wandiligong is a lovely area to walk around and explore in your own time. There are several Wandiligong walks outlined in the Bright short walks Brochure, which can be found on the Bright Victoria website. The Chinese Bridge in particular is worth a look at on your next trip to Bright or beyond. Further information about Wandiligong can also be found here.