I am a amateur freelance writer from Sydney. My passion is Aboriginal history, Australia and its unusual places. My aim is to share my knowledge to better your experience. Thank you
Published December 8th 2015
Iconic structures of Gundagai
The Prince Alfred Bridge, built in 1866 and opened on the 24th October 1867, was the first major bridge crossing the Murrumbidgee River. It's a historical feature of Gundagai. It was constructed on the original crossing used by stockmen and early explorers and was the main route until Sheahan Bridge was build in 1976.
The Prince Alfred Bridge is named after Queen Victoria's second son who was visiting Australia at the time. It was considered the grandest bridge of the clony and major landmark on the Sydney to Melbourne route. The Prince Alfred Bridge is the longest timber viaduct in Australia at 921 metres long and 10 meters wide.
Ownership was transferred in 1979 to Gundagai's historical bridges and it is now classified under the National Trust of Preservation and managed as a ruin and a treasured icon of Gundagai. The timber viaducts we see today are the engineering marvel. The 1867 iron structure is a 3 span warren truss — a combination of latticework and wooden and metal iron bridged timber and trusses. This was one of the first metal truss bridges in NSW, crossing the river and flood plains. The two successive viaducts have carried the Hume Highway traffic for 110 years.
This was also the era where trucks were not allowed to drive on a Sunday. The iron cylinders for the piers were cast in Mittagong by Fitzroy Iron works and the trusses were assembled using iron work from England. Towards the end of 19th century the timbers deteriorated and a new northern viaduct, now one of Australia's largest timber girder structures, was built and opened in 1898. Viewing platforms at the northern and southern ends have been created as the bridge itself is deemed impassable.
The Railway Bridge is the other famous iconic structure. Built in 1902, this rail viaduct bridge is 819.4 metres long. The Railway Bridge is a steel hog back style truss which was manufactured in the USA by A & P Roberts Comp. The bridge and its timber truss viaduct is the longest in Australia. It was completed in 1903 and serviced the Tumut area for 82 years
There is a marvellous River Walk from Yarri Park and camping nearby the bridges is allowed along side the riverbank, just off Middleton Drive. You can explore under the bridges and across to the South, however there is no parking at this end. The North side is at Sheridan Street and parking is available.