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Swing Bridge @ St Peters

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. Please click the link to Like my articles, and subscribe to see more.
Published August 2nd 2012
Who will you swing with?
swing bridge, river torrens, linear park, adelaide
Swing Bridge Lane Sign

We all know and love that muddy creek that meanders through Adelaide, the River Torrens. It is centrepiece of the wonderful Linear Park that provides so many ways for us to exercise in a pleasant and natural environment.

Not so many of us know about the swing bridge across the Torrens though. It's buried away in the back streets of St Peters with hardly a sign to give away its existence. There is one, but it is quite overgrown.

Perhaps it's just as well that the bridge isn't obvious. I wouldn't recommend it for:

1 Anyone suffering a hangover.
2 People with a fear of heights.
3 Young children.
4 Dogs.

Although perhaps I should qualify number 4. Some dogs seem to like it!

swing bridge, river torrens, linear park, adelaide
Swinging Bridge Lane

The entry is all very innocuous. You might almost be walking up a private laneway. And then it is there. Confronting you. Daring you to cross. A narrow strip of safety across the raging torrents. Well, it had been raining recently.

swing bridge, river torrens, linear park, adelaide
East End of Swinging Bridge

The first step or two was fine. It was only after I got onto the bridge proper that it started swinging. My stomach gave a lurch, but I soldiered bravely on. Taking photos with two hands busily clinging to steel cables is a challenge.

swing bridge, river torrens, linear park, adelaide
Contrasting River Banks

I tried to concentrate on the pretty landscaped garden on one bank, contrasting with the almost natural scrubby vegetation on the other side. Things didn't get any easier, but eventually I made it across.

swing bridge, river torrens, linear park, adelaide
The View East Across the Bridge

While I was catching my breath on the other side and appreciating the scenery, my tranquil experience was abruptly interrupted. A squadron of three kookaburras whooshed over my shoulder and two landed on the bridge about 2 metres from me. By the time I had recovered my wits, there was only one left, but I was able to quickly get a photo of it.

swinging bridge, river torrens, linear park, adelaide
Friendly Kookaburra on the Swing Bridge

As I crossed back I reflected on the history of the place. It seems a quiet and unassuming location, but nearly 100 years ago things were very different. The area was known as The Gilberton Baths, and was the home of a very popular amateur swimming club. The State Library has a picture of people enjoying themselves at the spot in 1912 here.

The bridge was built around 1920, reputedly to help sell land by a developer. While it may have been built illegally it is now a well liked feature of St Peters. By most of its users anyway...
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Why? I dare you to try this
When: Anytime
Where: Swing Bridge Lane, St Peters
Cost: Free
Your Comment
I remember back in 1965 you paid approx threepence to enter the swimming pool .... also there were change rooms available for all. The river was just as muddy back then too and we wore sandals to protect our feet while swimming. Libby.
by statu (score: 1|10) 2856 days ago
I feel sure there was a slippery dip into the river..we all learnt to swim there about 1955...they had a canteen selling bush biscuits etc..change when you paid your yearly fee 6d or 1/- you got a cotton badge to sew onto your bathers
by akhas (score: 0|8) 2615 days ago
On Page 35 of today's (29th Sep) Advertiser :)
by Yin-Yin Ow (score: 3|1596) 3123 days ago
I don't even know there is such a bridge near my place.
Should try at the weekend :)
by Vagrantgirl (score: 0|9) 3009 days ago
I was hanging on tight!
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11307) 3175 days ago
This bridge is currently closed while repairs are delayed. June 2017
by Werdn (score: 0|3) 1407 days ago
Good thing you did not lose your camera - or yourself off the bridge. Will check out this "secret" bridge after tour of Dunstan playground
by Yin-Yin Ow (score: 3|1596) 3175 days ago
This was a fun Sun arvo walk. I had no idea the bridge was there before reading your article.
by Ruth Denton (score: 2|131) 3116 days ago
Does anyone remember if there was a metal slippery slide into the river as well. The swinging bridge back then was old,rickety and scary too.
by statu (score: 1|10) 2788 days ago
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