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Prince Alfred Bridge, Gundagai, NSW, Australia

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List Register of the National Estate (Non-statutory archive)
Class Historic
Legal Status Registered (21/03/1978)
Place ID 703
Place File No 1/06/312/0001
Statement of Significance
The Prince Alfred Bridge at Gundagai has considerable technical and design significance. The bridge is probably the oldest iron truss bridge built in New South Wales and the underslung Howe trusses are of an unusual design. The timber approach spans are among the longest such timber structures in New South Wales. The bridge is an important engineering achievement for its time. (Criteria B.2 and F.1)

The bridge had a lengthy association with transport, communications and trade on the very important Sydney-Melbourne route extending over a century; it has played a role in the development of south-eastern Australia. (Criterion A.4)

The bridge has social importance for the local community and for the many users of the bridge during its operation. (Criterion G.1)

With the nearby rail bridge, the Prince Alfred Bridge is a strong feature in the Gundagai landscape, spanning at some height the wide, flat flood plain of the Murrumbidgee. (Criterion E.1)
Official Values Not Available
Description
The Prince Alfred Bridge stands close to the site of the original crossing of the Murrumbidgee River used by early stockmen and even the explorer Charles Sturt. The existence of a crossing point here may well have played a part in the establishment of the town of Gundagai. The original town was built on the river flats over which the bridge passes, but it was largely destroyed, with considerable loss of life, by floods in 1852. Tenders for construction of the bridge were called in 1863 and the bridge was completed by 1867. Timber approach spans leading to the bridge from north and south were built by 1869, the work on the northern approach having been carried out by contractors, Hammond and Bocking, and another contractor, Baillie. In 1896 the northern approach was entirely rebuilt on a new alignment. The bridge was superceded by the opening of the new Sheahan Bridge in 1977; in 1984 the timber approach spans of the Prince Alfred were closed to vehicles. Located on the main Sydney-Melbourne route the bridge carried huge volumes of traffic in its day and was associated with transport and trade and the development of south-eastern Australia over a lengthy period. The Prince Alfred Bridge was probably the first iron truss bridge built in New South Wales and it features some unusual design aspects. The iron bridge section is 94m long and consists of three underslung Howe type trusses which are seated on four pairs of piers; the cast iron drums of the piers were cast at the Fitzroy Ironworks at Mittagong, the first iron foundry in Australia. The design is unusual in that whereas the lower chord normally supports the cross members, in this case the top chord does. The top chord is also continuous through the three spans. It is supported by roller bearings on standards fixed to each pier. The decking of the road surface is supported by two layers of planks placed at right angles. The southern timber approach is 18m long. The northern approach consists of seventy five spans each over 10m long and one span of over 8m; the total length is 809m. Each trestle pier is built of four timber piles. The total length of the iron bridge and the timber approaches is 921m. The whole bridge structure is a major feature at Gundagai as it crosses the wide, flat flood plain. It and the nearby rail bridge (which is also registered) complement one another.
History Not Available
Condition and Integrity
While the bridge was still in use the bridge timbers were periodically replaced. Following the opening of the Sheahan Bridge in 1977 there arose the possibility of the approach spans being demolished. In response to this threat in 1979 a group called the Prince Alfred Bridge Committee was formed with the aim of conserving the structure. In 1986 this group became Gundagai's Historic Bridges Incorporated. An National Estate Grants Program funded study of the bridge was completed by 1985. (December 1992)
Location
Spans the Murrumbidgee River between Gundagai and South Gundagai.
Bibliography
Prince Alfred Bridge Committee, "Interim Report", Gundagai 1986.
O'Connor, Colin, "Register of Australian Historic Bridges", Canberra
1983.
Information from the National Trust of Australia (New South Wales).
Hughes Trueman Ludlow, "Prince Alfred Bridge Gundagai, Timber Approach
Spans", 1984.

Prince Alfred Bridge, Gundagai. 1996. Final NEGP Report.

Report Produced  Tue Sep 2 16:44:11 2014