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Sunbury Hill Rail Bridge, Sunbury, VIC, Australia

Photographs None
List Register of the National Estate (Non-statutory archive)
Class Historic
Legal Status Identified through State processes
Place ID 103739
Place File No 2/13/007/0027
Statement of Significance
The Railway Bridge, Sunbury Hill is of historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria.

The Railway Bridge, Sunbury Hill is historically significant as a major component of the bridge works of the Melbourne to Echuca Railway line, which was opened soon after the formation of the Victorian Railways Department in 1856. The line was exceptional for its high standards of construction, high costs and engineering achievements and consists of a wide variety of stone bridges and viaducts.

The Railway Bridge, Sunbury Hill is architecturally significant as an exemplary component of the railway infrastructure of the Melbourne to Echuca railway line, which was the largest building enterprise in the colony at the time. The high quality stonework and the heavy engineering of this bridge exemplifies the standards of construction along this line which were unequalled in later railway projects in Victoria. The Melbourne - Echuca line displays great variety in its numerous stone bridges including different stone types, finishes and designs.

The Rail Bridge is also a notable contributing element to the dramatic landscape of Sunbury Hill. It forms part of a precinct of significant bluestone road and rail structures within the Sunbury district. The Rail Bridge is one of the oldest examples of the multi-span Roman arch bridge in Victoria. (Australian Historic Themes: 3.8 Moving goods and people, 3.8.5 Moving goods and people on land. 3.8.6 Building and maintaining railways, 4.6 Remembering significant phases in the development of settlements, towns and cities)

This place is entered in the Victorian Heritage Register (21/12/2001). The Australian Heritage Commission recognises the standards of historic assessment of Heritage Victoria and therefore acknowledges that this place has National Estate historic values. Enquiries concerning the assessment or conservation of this place should be directed in the first instance to Heritage Victoria. Commonwealth authorities and bodies should contact the Australian Heritage Commission directly if any Commonwealth action is proposed in relation to this place.
Official Values Not Available
Description
HISTORY

The Melbourne, Mount Alexander and Murray River Railway Company was established in 1852 to construct the main line from Melbourne to Mount Alexander and the River Murray, Echuca, along with a branch line to Williamstown. The government took over the project when the company was unable to raise sufficient funds to build the railway.

The Rail Bridge at Sunbury Hill was built in c. 1859 as part of the Melbourne - Echuca Railway which was the first government railway and the main trunk line of the Victorian railways, providing access to the Mount Alexander goldfields. The railway was the largest building enterprise in the colony at the time.

The first section of the line from Melbourne to Sunbury, was opened by the Victorian Railways Department on January the 13th, 1859. When the line was officially opened, this bridge had not been constructed as a result of the stonemasons strike which arose as a consequence of the lowering of wages, sub-contracting and the reintroduction of the 10 hour day by the contractors. A temporary timber structure served until the masonry structure could be constructed. This may explain an unusual feature of this bridge which is the separation of the arches between the two lines, indicating that the two sides were constructed separately.

The Railway Bridge was built by Cornish and Bruce under the direction of chief engineer G.C Derbyshire. Temporary construction camps were established at Sunbury and Riddell's Creek to accommodate large working teams of men and horses.

The bridge was opened soon after the formation of the Victorian Railways Department in 1856. The line was exceptional for its high standards of construction, high costs and engineering achievements and consists of a wide variety of stone bridges and viaducts.

The high quality stonework and the heavy engineering of this bridge exemplifies the standards of construction along this line which were unequalled in later railway projects in Victoria. The Melbourne - Echuca line displays great variety in its numerous stone bridges including different stone types, finishes and designs.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION

The Railway Bridge, Sunbury Hill is set in a wide, open valley over a tributary of Jackson's Creek. The bridge consists of three semi circular (Roman) arches set on tall vertical sided piers. It is constructed of local bluestone. The broad flanking abutments with battered walls contain the tall embankment approaches.

The bulk of the facework is quarry faced ashlar. The springing course and the soffit of the arches are in a smooth finish. The voussoirs, quions, capping stones of the abutments and the two balustrade courses are in drafted edge quarry face.
History Not Available
Condition and Integrity
CONDITION

Refer to State Listing for further information

INTEGRITY

The Sunbury Hill Rail Bridge is a part of a precinct of significant bluestone road and rail structures in the Sunbury district. (2001) Refer to State Listing for further information.
Location
About 2.5km south from Sunbury Railway Station, located at approximate AMG point 7822 - 985360, comprising the rail bridge, the abutments and land as entered in the Victorian Heritage Register on 20 December 2002.
Bibliography Not Available

Report Produced  Thu Aug 28 11:30:00 2014