A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published January 29th 2014
Cross That Bridge When You Come to it - But Look at it Too
As English painter John Constable said, "I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may, - light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful". (From Leslie, C.R. Memoirs of the life of John Constable (1843).) The subjective nature of beauty means that it is impossible to come up with a definitive top five. But here's my list of five bridges in Melbourne I consider to be beautiful.
1. Princes Bridge
Princes Bridge, Melbourne
I love the classic architecture of this bridge. And its proximity to the city means it's not difficult to get a great photo with a cityscape backdrop.
Historically, it's a significant bridge, as it is built on the site of one of the oldest river crossings in Australia, spanning the Yarra River from Swanston Street to St Kilda Road. The current bridge was built in 1888 and is heritage listed. The construction features three iron arches supported by bluestone pillars.
2. Bolte Bridge
Bolte Bridge from Docklands
I have to admit that the Bolte Bridge gets into my list because of how amazing it looks at night from Docklands (as hopefully this photo shows). A relative newcomer to Melbourne, the Bolte Bridge was completed in 1999. It is a cantilever bridge that spans the Yarra River and Victoria Harbour, Docklands, and is part of the CityLink road network.
Interestingly, the two tall pillars you can see in the photo serve no structural purpose and are for aesthetic purposes only.
3. Morell Bridge
I could have included either Morell or Church Street Bridges here, as both are a little similar, and both are very appealing in a classic way. I've selected Morell Bridge as it's slightly older (1899 to Church Street Bridge's 1923) and, as the first bridge in Victoria to be built with reinforced concrete, is historically significant.
Morell Bridge features large dragon motifs on its three arch spans.
This is where it starts to get more difficult. I'm a sucker for bluestone bridges, and therefore Hawthorn Railway Bridge makes it to my list. Opened in 1861, it spans the Yarra just west of Hawthorn Station. It is a steel truss bridge, and the oldest surviving railway bridge crossing the Yarra River.
I like this bridge for its sheer scale and industrial rawness. Completed in 1929, it was originally known as the 'Quarter Mile Bridge', as its length is a 'quarter mile' (or approximately 400m). When it was completed, it was the largest trestle bridge in Australia. At 55m above water level, it is the second highest bridge in Victoria (after the Westgate Bridge) and higher than the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
A Final Thought
Finally, I started this article with a quote from John Constable. I wonder if he had bridges in mind when he made that quote? He was certainly not too shabby when it came to painting them.