|NEW BUILDINGS BRIDGE.
Constructed from parts of the original
Towamba Bridge swept away in the 1919 flood.
Photo K. Clery
In times of flood bridges meant the difference
between a safe, dry crossing or being cut
off until the waters receded. In the early
days of settlement in the district, keeping
an adequate store of food was part of the
normal household organisation. Most families
were almost self sufficient in vegetables,
meat and fruit preserves. Flour and sugar
were ordered by the sack full. Being cut
off for several days by flood waters was
generally not a problem. As transport evolved
from animal to mechanical, people expected
better roads and all weather crossings.
These were times of great change in the valley and improvements of this nature often had to be fought for with determination and people power. In the eyes of some Local Government members, the cost of building bridges far outweighed the population in the district that would use them.
Although the Towamba River valley cleaves through mountains, hills and granite outcrops on its way to the ocean, the distance by road is approximately 60 kilometers from ocean to the escarpment. The village of Towamba is 26 kilometers from the Princes Highway and is still classed as isolated. The battle for better road maintenance still goes on.
'The Manaro Mercury, and Cooma and Bombala Advertiser'
November 11, 1882
Tenders for a bridge over Towamba River will close on 21st instant ; plans, &c., at Bega Police Office.
'The Bega Gazette and Eden District or Southern Coast Advertiser'
2 July 1884
Towamba.-The New Building Bridge is nearly completed, and the approaches are being made by T. Collins' party. We believe this bridge has two 60 feet spans, with 27 feet approach at each end of the bridge.
PRETTY POINT BRIDGE (Information provided by Ruth Merceica of Wyndham)
'Pambula Voice' October 2, 1896
Extract: "Formal opening of the bridge over the Mataganah Creek (on Wyndham-Rocky Hall Road) on Friday last, Mrs. John Love, the oldest lady resident of Wyndham, was chosen to christen the bridge, and Mr. E.J.Coman J.P. declared it open for public traffic...in the presence of between two and three hundred people...when that day's centenary arrived...he (Coman) hoped that the bridge would still be fit for traffic and the Wyndham Boxwood as sound then as it was today...
Mrs. Love then broke a bottle of champagne on the bridge and called it "The Wyndham Committee Bridge".
Banquet ...held in tarpaulin booth...Mr. George Robinson of Wyndham did the catering ...and 70 persons sat down...Ball at School of Arts."
THE RE-ENACTMENT CEREMONY
Mrs. Bessie Bray, being the oldest citizen, performed the re-enactment and Jacqueline Whitby was the descendant of Mrs. Love who performed the first opening ceremony in 1896.
Charles Rayner's mill on the banks of the Mataganah Creek produced the excellent boxwood timber for building the bridge that was opened on 20th October, 1896.
|Pretty Point Bridge, Wyndham to New Buildings
Photo K Clery
PRETTY POINT BRIDGE: A BETRAYAL OF TRUSST. (Excerpts from Newsletter September 2017)
In the past month the communities of Wyndham, and Rocky Hall have been spurred into action by the shocking realisation that the Bega Valley Shire Council has abandoned all pretence of adherence to state legislated heritage policy and, specifically, the responsibilities concomitant with the management of their own LEP.
Viewing of Council Meeting videos and transcripts reveals a liturgy of disinformation from council staff with an apparent aim to manipulate Councillors into reneging on a 2013 commitment to retain a semblance of historic character in the re-build of the Pretty Point Bridge. Back then the BVSC nominated itself for an Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia Excellence Award for an innovative bridge design that combined a modern steel Unibridge with the lovely old wooden trusses attached (in a non-loadbearing capacity), as an aesthetic homage to the bridge's heritage standing.
A cynical, self-serving stratagem, one might ask? Well, so it would seem - because now the hitherto lauded scheme has been downgraded to a mere costing inconvenience, with both staff and Councillors openly stating their willingness to 'sacrifice' the Pretty Point Bridge (the most significant and only truss timber bridge managed by the shire) in favour of the maintenance of 'those coastal bridges so dear to their hearts' (regardless of inferior heritage status.)
For decades the fact that the needs of the outlying southern communities have been largely ignored by the Burghers of Bega has sorely chafed residents. Ironically, however, this has actually worked in their favour. That systemic disinterest and under-development has delivered a pristine rural environment that remains true to its antecedent settlement; mapping and conserving the history in a way that is unspoilt and beyond priceless.
The Pretty Point and New Buildings Bridges, a heritage pigeon pair, are remnant markers in the weft of the fabric that forms this historic landscape. And these bridges stand on the very by-roads that are set to deliver arguable the most significant tourism assets on the Far South Coast. Because down here beats the heart of the convergence of cultural tourism (the Bundian Way), eco tourism (the wilderness coast) and a literal trove of post-colonial/socio-historic tourism gems (regarding Ben Boyd, Saint Mary Mackillop, the Kiandra Goldrush Trail, to name but three.)
In the case of the later grouping, all roads emanate from Eden and lead variously through Pambula, Lochiel, Burragate and Wyndham to Rocky Hall and thence up the convict-built Big Jack Mountain road to the Monaro and beyond.
Council needs to revisit the Pretty Point Bridge debacle, rescind their misdirected motion to scrap the heritage trusses and then partner with the community to secure the restoration of those trusses to their rightful place on the very admirable steel Unibridge. The patronising and condescending suggestions (made in the Council Meetings) that the community could be appeased by mounting a truss in the local park and/or giving some bridge timber to the Wyndham Men's shed is beyond offensive.
To quote the Federal Government's Productivity Commission Report 2006:
'It is essential to local authorities' credibility as stewards of the wider historic environment that they set a good example in the management of their own heritage assets. This means demonstrably achieving the standards they expect of others.'
March 1, 1896
*The Government have at last decided to have a bridge constructed over the Mataganah River, near Wyndham.
October 4, 1901
'Bombala Times and Manaro and Coast Districts General Advertiser'
* At a meeting of the Progress Committee, held on Monday night, there were present Rev. J. L. Forbes (chairman) and Messrs F.H. Phillips, T. H. Wellings, C. Downton, J. Hopkins, C. E. Walcott, F. J. Keon, and G. R. Phillipps hon. sec. A good deal of ordinary routine business was transacted, and, in addition, it was resolved to cordially cooperate with the Towamba Progress Committee in endeavouring to obtain the construction of a bridge across the Towamba river, at Towamba. The secretary read a copy of a statement presented by him to Mr. Usher, of the Railway Department, relative to the prospects of intermediate traffic for the proposed line of railway from Bombala to Eden by way of Bondi, and was unanimously accorded a special vote of thanks for the skill and care he had exercised in the preparation of the statement. The bylaws were amended to provide for the ordinary meeting to be held on the Monday on or immediately preceding full moon, and other matters of minor importance were also dealt with.
February 10, 1909
'The Bega Budget '
* Residents of Towamba appreciate the efforts of Mr. W. H. Wood who has succeeded in getting a sum of £3000 for a traffic bridge across Towamba river.
July 27, 1909
'The Sydney Morning Herald'
* A composite truss bridge is to be built over Sportsman's Creek, on the road South-gate to Broadwater, and a similar class of bridge is to be built over the Towamba River at Sturt, on the Towamba road to Pericoe.
August 31, 1909
'The Sydney Morning Herald'
* Among the tenders dealt with by the Tender, Board of the Public Works Department yesterday were eight prices for erecting a bridge, over the Towamba River at Sturt. The lowest price was £3756, or if concrete piers be substituted the price would be increased to £4263.
'The Southern Record and Advertiser'
25 February 1911
(From our Correspondent.)
The most popular remarks of the present day is, lovely weather; yes; every prospect of a splendid winter; and every one appears to be pleased with things in general. The Local Horse Races have been postponed indefinitely and probably will not take place this year.
The new bridge is nearly completed, and our worthy chairman of the Progress Committee can claim the honor of being the first to traverse the bridge with heavy material per horse and cart. Though the bridge is not open to public traffic our citizen referred to (Mr. W. Beasley) has drawn the metal across to complete the northern approach, and the residents have not over-looked preparations for the official opening of the bridge; which is to take place in the form of an opening ceremony, banquet picnic, and ball at night, which with the present beautiful season should prove to be a gala day for Towamba, the date of the occasion has not been de finitely decided. Messrs Folland and Party are making rapid progress in rebuilding the culvert which was washed away during the recent heavy rain. A Frenchman, (whose name is beyond my ken) travelling with advertisements, showed by magic lantern to a fair house to night and gave a very comprehensive description of each picture, which re presented, England, Australia, South Africa, and China. He dwelt very strongly on matters of defence, especially, 'Australia's,' defence.
|TOWAMBA BRIDGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION. 1910.
Note the flying fox linking the two poles on either side of the river.
Photo Mary Mitchell Collection, Eden Killer Whale Museum.
March 16 , 1911
'Mullumbimby Star '
* A bridge costing £5000, and which is claimed to be one of the best structures of the kind in N.S.W., was opened at Towamba (South Coast) by Mr W. H. Wood, M.L.A.
'The Southern Record and Advertiser'
18 March 1911
(From our Correspondent.)
Monday, the 6th instant, was ushered in with a beautiful clear atmosphere, which as the day wore on became almost unpleasantly hot. This was the day set upon for the official opening of the new Towamba bridge, and I think it must have come as a specialty, for one could not ask for a better. Just before 12 o'clock the Honorables Austin Chapman and W. H. Wood and visiting party arrived per motor car; and, a few minutes later, another party arrived per car, including Dr. Clouston and Rev. Father Kenny. After a hurried reception, the visiting parties and a large crowd of people adjourned to the bridge. The chairman of the Bridge Committee, Councillor Alexander, began the proceedings by briefly explaining the purpose of the gathering, and left the rest to the Hon. W. H. Wood, who in a short but well-directed speech declared the bridge open, subject to the final inspection being satisfactory, which takes place this week. The motor parties then drove across the bridge, returned, and proceeded to the Hall, where the banquet spread was in waiting. Some fifty-six persons sat down to enjoy the good things provided, which reflected credit on the caterer, Mr. Joseph McKee. The usual toasts were proposed, honored, and responded to with short, practical and humorous speeches. From thence we moved to the recreation ground, where all and sundry seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves, the jolly miller and the jolly maid alternately making their grab. The ball at night was a marked success, some 70 couples being in at tendance, making a happy throng in deed, dancing to the sweet strains of piano, cornet and violin, manipulated by Messrs Hamilton and Meares (Pambula) and Power (Wyndham). Extras were supplied by Messrs Young and Hartneady (Towamba), and Mr. Love (Perico). During the night we had some 30 odd points of rain, and to-night it is raining heavily. Mr. Joseph Miradian, of Yambulla, was buried on Sunday at Towamba. That same gentleman will be greatly missed at Yambulla. He has acted a father's part to many people much older than himself.
|View of Towamba village looking east with
bridge. pre 1919
Couresty Dickie Family
|Towamba Bridge opening ceremony. 1911|
|Towamba Bridge in all its splendor. Pre 1919
Courtesy Susan Love (Enie Love Photo Collection)
|Towamba Bridge pre 1919
Courtesy Dickie Family
March 19, 1919
'The Bega Budget'
* The demolition of the Towamba bridge has had the effect of resuscitating the local progress association, and Captain Millard Is to be asked to urge the Government to rebuild the bridge without delay.
'Magnet' March 1929
* Repairs to Towamba Bridge - defective planking replaced.
* Request by Towamba Citizens for cement culverts over Jingera and Stoney Creeks and a bridge at Nullica for all weather access.
|Boiler washed down river during heavy flood.
Photo Mary Mitchell Collection, Eden Killer Whale Museum
The flood of 1919 swept the Towamba bridge away as it did every bridge on the Towamba river. Sections of the Towamba bridge ended up on the river flat at Model Farm and later retrieved and some of the timber was used to rebuild New Buildings bridge.
|View from Dickie's flat as the flood waters
recede. Looking east. Bridge gone. 1919
Courtesy Dickie Family
|Footbridge across the Towamba River after
bridge was swept away in 1919. Remains of bridge on left.
Courtesy Dickie Family
|Dickie's flat after 1919 flood. Looking up river.
Courtesy Dickie Family
|Crossing the river.
Courtesy Dickie Family
|Crossing the river on the second bridge in
After the first bridge was swept away in the 1919 flood a low level bridge was built to replace it. However, because of the regular floods
and the build-up of river sand against the bridge and underneath it, it didn't need much of a flood for the water to go over the bridge.
Courtesy Dickie Family
|Crossing the river on the second bridge in
Courtesy Dickie Family
|Local sawmill possibly cutting timber for
the first or second bridge at Towamba.
Courtesy Dickie Family.
|Building the second bridge over the Towamba
River at Towamba. Hartneady's store in background.
Courtesy Dickie Family
'Magnet' July 19, 1930
SHIRE COUNCIL REPORT
TOWAMBA BRIDGE CARETAKING
The Divisional Engineer forwarded specifications of the duties of caretaker and stated that written tenders for the position would be received.
'Magnet' August 2, 1930
* Tender for caretaker for bridge over Towamba river at New Buildings.
|Building Towamba's second bridge. c.1920|
|Bridge over Towamba River at foot of Big
Photo K. Clery
NEW BUILDINGS BRIDGE
(This information was gathered in an interview with Fred Whitby of Rocky Hall by local historian Ruth Merceica of Wyndham)
About 1883 there was a combined Progress Association of Burragate, Rocky Hall, Towamba and Wyndham. This association requested the building of the bridge across the Towamba River.
The first bridge was constructed in 1883 as a result of the combined Progress Association's submission.
In 1919 the floods wiped out all the bridges on the Towamba River. At this point in time the mail ran through Rocky Hall from Pambula to Bombala and beyond, so the New Buildings Bridge had high priority and work was commenced on the new structure almost immediately and the bridge was completed either in 1919 or 1920.
The urgency of the situation forced the use of some timbers and mainly fittings that could be salvaged from the wreck of the Towamba Bridge. (Fred Whitby's father burnt the charcoal for the blacksmiths.)
The name New Buildings was given to the area first because the very active Benjamin Boyd built there in 1840. An Inn was erected there and also a school in a hut. This was a private school long before public or Christian schools had been established in the area.
Boyd had paid 4 or 5 pounds an acre for his plot. Land at that time would have sold for about £1 pound an acre. Boyd used the area as a resting paddock for his stock that were heading for Boyd Town on Twofold Bay.
Another early entrepreneur who added to the building boom at New Buildings was William Hibburd who built another Inn at Rocky Hall.
August 27, 1884
'The Bega Standard and Candelo, Merimbula, Pambula, Eden, Wolumla, and General Advertiser.'
THE BRIDGE OVER THE TOWAMBA
The ceremony of opening the new bridge over the Towamba River at the New Building, on the Big Jack road, took place on Thursday last. There were about two hundred of the residents of the surrounding districts present, including a large percentage of the fair sex. There would doubtless have been a much larger muster but for the heavy rain that fell the day previous, and the threatening weather on the day of the demonstration. The Bombala Brass Band was present, but the tunes played were like angels' visits - few far between - otherwise their attendance might have made the proceedings much more enjoyable. Although Jupiter Pluvius scowled on the assemblage, his black looks did not deter those present from making the most of the day's outing and endeavoring to make all things pass off pleasantly on the great gala day for Wyndham and Rocky Hall. Messrs. Diversi and Turbett, of the Wyndham and Robbie Burns Hotels respectively, had booths on the scene of the festivities. The committee consisted of Messrs. Thos. Collins, Hutchison, Spears, J. Whitby, Diversi, P. Conlon, Prosser, W. McCarthy, Hibburd, Devereux, R. Farrell and McDonough with J. O'Connor as secretary, and they did all they could to make the day a 'red letter' one in the annals of the district. There was a 'display' of bunting on the most prominent portions of the bridge, but it was not such that would stir up patriotic feelings in the most ardent breast. The bridge is an important one, situated as it is on a road that must come into favour as the main highway between Monaro and the sea when the Big Jack road difficulty is got over and an easy grade made up the mountain. The bridge itself is a very substantial and faithful piece of workmanship, reflecting great credit upon the contractors. It is 244 feet long, consisting of three 30-feet spans and two 75-feet truss spans, the width between the curb logs on the decking between the latter being 14ft. 6in., and between the former 16ft. The height of the bridge from the bed of the river is about twenty feet, and the bridge is supported by three sets of piles driven to ' bottom ' in the river. The middle pier, supporting the two truss spans or girders, is built into a solid block of concrete, embedded on rock in the centre of the river, and is neatly plastered on the outside. The dimensions of the concrete are: length 36ft., width 6ft., and height 9ft. The pier consists of nine piles and two shorter ones at the ends to which the raking piles are collected, and firmly braced together with 6 x 12 walings and braces, and on this pier the two main girders are supported. The spans consist of three members each 12 x 4 , firmly strapped and bolted together, and are thus rendered much stronger than if in one piece of wood, because to get them the right length, a tree would have to be very thick at the butt, to enable it to be squared at the top to leave the sap wood out; and unless a very large tree was chosen, the whole of the heart, which is very brittle, would have to be left in. The trees suitable to get the required amount of wood out of were chosen, and, in fact, were ready squared, but from the very rough nature of the country, it was found to be impossible to draw them to the bridge; and the spans had to be made of three distinct pieces. The girders, four in number, are of orthodox style, and the structure resembles the Bega bridge, but is not so long. The decking, railing and everything in connection with bridge is first-class, and the painting sets off the erection. Every piece is strongly bolted together with wrought iron bolts, which will keep the Pioneer Bridge together as long as the Towamba River lasts. On Mr. Hibburd, as pioneer of the district, was conferred the honor of naming the bridge. At about one o'clock the school-children present were marshalled into line by Mr. Hutchison, teacher of the Rocky Hall School, and, preceded by the band, marched on to the bridge. Mr. Hibburd then addressed those present, comparing the times when this river had been one of the greatest troubles on the Big Jack Road, which was the best route to the sea-port, with the present time. He remembered when teams on the road to Monaro had been bogged on the hill close to this spot, and when he was younger he had tried to get a road made but people then said it was no good agitating unless they had houses. But if they did not agitate unless they had houses they would have to stop in the bush. The speaker thanked the residents for the honor conferred upon him in getting him to name the bridge. Mr. J. O'Connor, on Mr Hibburd's behalf, read out the following address: 'This day's proceedings will, I am sure, be long remembered by all in the district, inasmuch as the structure we are now viewing is the first of any importance that has been erected, and the name conferred upon it is suggestive of its being the first. I trust the building is only the initiative of greater undertakings that will be of a benefit to the district. A few years ago few people thought that we would so soon have the pleasure of seeing such a handsome structure erected ; but the fact of its existence tends to show that a fair amount of agitation tempered with reason and assisted by such excellent members as this district has that the Government are always willing; to grant them assistance in any project they advocate.' Mr. Hibburd then dexterously broke the bottle of champagne and named the structure 'The Pioneer Bridge.' Three cheers were then given for the Road Superintendent, three for the contractors, and three for the pioneer, Mr. Hibburd. The bridge was then declared open for traffic. The children were next marched on to the green, where, after giving three more cheers for the veteran, they were regaled with sweetmeats. After a little delay in preparing the dinner table, as many as could be accommodated sat down to a repast prepared by Mr. Diversi. Here the only fault in the arrangements was apparent, the table room being insufficient to seat all at once and the table was filled three times. When all were satisfied the speechifying took place, Mr. T. Collins occupying the chair and Mr. G. Pressor the vice chair. The chairman regretted that the unsettled weather had somewhat marred the success of the day's proceedings, and but for the rain there would doubtless have been more friends from a distance present. However, the rain would make the grass grow and that was a consideration in this district. He was glad to see so many present and he was echoing the sentiments of the committee in welcoming them to the festivities of the bridge opening. It seemed a very short time, in fact only like yesterday, since they had petitioned Government for the bridge that was now completed. He concluded by proposing '' The Queen and Royal Family,' which was drunk with honors. Mr. G. Pressor proposed ' The Superintendent of Roads.' He had much pleasure in proposing this toast. He was personally unacquainted with the gentleman; but he would depart from the general rule of running down public officers, as he thought by using conciliatory language more good could be done. As far as he, the speaker, could see, the Super, was an efficient officer and he hoped he would long remain in the district; and the best thing they could do if they wanted anything done to the roads was to keep in with him. Mr. O'Toole, in the absence of any public officer, returned thanks in a very laudatory speech.
Mr. Collins gave 'The Contractors, Messrs. Sims and Co.' As a contractor himself he could sympathise with difficulties under which Sims and Co. labored. In the first place they had to please the Super., in the next, public opinion, which everyone knew was a most tyrannical master, and last of all, themselves. He thought the work just turned out of hand was of the best, and it would take the eye of an experienced engineer to detect any faults, and they would be but minor ones. He spoke of the bridge as a masterpiece in design and workmanship, and a credit to the contractors. Mr. Sims responded, thanking those present for the manner in which the toast had been received, and for the very flattering remarks of the chairman. It was un necessary for him to say anything about the bridge, it would speak for itself. From the first he had striven to do good conscientious work. He thanked the residents of the district for their many kindnesses, which he would remember as long as he lived. He might go to a hundred districts and not meet the same kindness as he did in this part, and would be sorry to leave them. Mr. O'Toole proposed ' Success to the Wyndham district,' testifying to its importance, and as one that should receive attention from the Government. Seeing such a stretch of good country it was a puzzle to him why the erection of the bridge should have been so long delayed. He spoke of the good that could be achieved by pulling together and keeping things astir, and when, as a friend of his mentioned to-day, Eden was connected with the other parts of the district by rail, Wyndham would come into note. Mr. Prossor returned thanks. He was very glad to see representatives of the two papers present, as they could do much good for the district by telling them how people in other parts could get a good living off a small piece of land. He wished to open the eyes of the people to the imposition by commission agents in Sydney, and hoped the papers would make a note of it. He had seen two receipts for bark sent from this part, one being from a petty agent, and the other from a big firm. The price given per ton by the former's receipts was £6 5s, and by the latter's £8 10s. He mentioned this to show how they were imposed upon. Although nature had placed obstacles in their way, he thought that by industry, sobriety, and other virtues, they would overcome such. Mr. P. Conlon gave ' The Members, Messrs. Clarke and Garvan,' praising both gentlemen, but more especially Mr. Garvan, who, when he had travelled this way a few years ago, promised to do all he could for the bridge, and he mentioned the fulfilment of that promise as a proof of his honesty of purpose. He thought the next thing to go in for was a good road up the mountain, and they should go in the right way to get a new survey and money voted to make a good road. Mr. W. D. Neilley, on behalf of Mr. Clarke, and Mr. Devereux, for Mr. Garvan, returned thanks, both speaking of the importance of the occasion of the Bridge opening. Mr. C. Sherwin in a most gallant speech proposed ' The Ladies,' and two gay young bachelors returned thanks on their behalf. Mr. Hutchison in a very natty speech gave ' The Press and its liberty,' to which Mr. O'Toole (Union), and Mr. W. D. Neilley (Standard), returned thanks. The toast of ' The Visitors ' by Mr. Conlon, and responded to by Mr. Devereux brought the proceedings to a close. A dance was held in Mr. Diversi's Assembly Room in the evening, which was well attended, and dancing was kept up with vigor until six o'clock next morning.
May 16, 1919
'The Bombala Times'
A surveyor has taken levels for a low-level bridge at Towamba in place of the one recently washed away by the flood. The experience of the late flood has proved conclusively that the low-level bridge, which offers the minimum of resistance to flood waters, is best suited to this and other south coastal districts.
July 11, 1919
'The Bombala Times'
* Mr. W. Millard, M.L.A., has been advised by the Public Works Department that instructions have been issued to have tenders invited at the earliest possible moment for a bridge over the Towamba River at New Buildings. Also, with reference to the bridge over the Towamba River at Kiah, that plans and specifications have been taken and the matter of design is under consideration as to whether the circumstances of the case warrant construction of a high level bridge, or whether a low level bridge of a more substantial design than that washed away is to be proceeded with.
January 21, 1921
'The Bombala Times'
A New Bridge.
TROUBLESOME TOWAMBA. HOW A RIVER'S DAMAGE WAS REPAIRED.
Something of the romance of engineering was pictured by Mr. S. M. Cummins, supervising engineer of the Goulburn Public Works Office yesterday, when he made the announcement that the new bridge over the Towamba River at Towamba (somewhere down near (the border) was open to traffic, says the 'Goulburn Herald.' "The Towamba River is one of those wild mountain streams which do unexpected things," he said. "It is crossed by the main tourist road, which leads from Nowra to the railway head in Victoria- Orbost- and the bridge over it at Towamba is a national one, and thus under our care and control. It was a high level bridge before the flood in February, 1919; now it is a low level bridge. It is a most important bridge, but it will stand now." He went on to explain the difference between high-level and the low-level bridges. The former are built above the level of the highest flood known, and in order to accommodate the biggest trees which may be washed down it by the floods, are made in huge spans- 90 to 120 feet in this case. Such great spans make it necessary to have a different type of construction to that used in ordinary every-day bridges. The weight is that taken on the lower member of the bridge, but is supported by bolts- really hung from the top of the high sides. The side members of each span are built in the form of four-sided figures- familiar enough in big river, bridges, braced and' strengthened by stays and bolts. These are very powerful as far as vertical strain goes, but weak from the view point of side stress. They will not stand a very heavy push from the side, although they will carry great weights. As they are above all floods, this as a matter of no concern. The Towamba bridge consisted of three such spans, high in the air, with approaches of ordinary bridgework. Then the Towamba River made its name. Twenty inches of rain fell up in the hills, and down it came. The flood rose fifty feet, and not only did it rise up to the bridge, but actually covered the topmost parts of it. The result was easy to foresee. Over went the bridge. It was simply pushed aside and swept down the river for a few hundred yards. The Towamba bridge was not the only one that suffered. All over the Shire the damage was tremendous, and the Government came to the aid of the Council with a big grant of money, as well as repairing all the national bridges. Twelve miles up the river, as the crow flies, was another bridge- at a place called New Buildings. This suffered al so. It was an old bridge- forty years at least while the Towamba bridge was only three years in use. The remains of the Towamba bridge were salved, but were so twisted, bent, and broken, that it was useless to think of replacing them at Towamba. Yet they could not be wasted. The alternative was to rebuild the New Buildings bridge out of these salved parts. A few castings and bolts, some paint and the New Buildings' bridge was as new as anything in the country. It did not matter so much at New Buildings, because between that strangely-named spot and Towamba three or four streams entered the river, and therefore caused it to rise much higher at the latter place than the former. Then came the work of re building the Towamba bridge. Clearly, it was useless putting a high level bridge there, for the flood might rise 90 feet next time, and sweep it away, even if it were made ten feet higher or twenty feet higher. Hence a low level structure was decided on. The characteristics of a low bridge are short spans and many supporting girders running at right angles to the stream, and the whole weight is taken on these girders. Hence, they can stand a fairly heavy push on the side without budging. When a flood comes the bridge can stand it all until the water gets above it, and then the timber that comes rolling down the river floats calmly overhead. The bridge is safely submerged. It sounds paradoxical at first, but the reason is there. It is not the water that breaks bridges down, but the timber that the water brings with it. And so there is now a low level bridge at Towamba. It was opened last week, and already hundreds of cars have sped over it, their occupants probably giving not a moment's thought to the hours of study and weeks of working that went in its erection.
'Magnet' November 28, 1931
* New Buildings Bridge re-classified as a National Work.
|NEW BUILDINGS BRIDGE CONSTRUCTED FROM
PARTS OF TOWAMBA BRIDGE SWEPT AWAY
IN 1919 FLOOD.
The New Buildings Bridge is a Dare type timber truss bridge and was completed in 1921.
Jean McPaul Collection, Eden Killer Whale Museum
The New Buildings bridge is a Dare type timber
truss bridge, and was completed in 1921.
In 1998 it was in good condition.
As a timber truss road bridge, it has many associational links with important historical events, trends, and people, including the expansion of the road network and economic activity throughout NSW, and Harvey Dare, the designer of this type of truss.
Dare trusses were fifth in the five stage design evolution of NSW timber truss road bridges. They were similar to Allan trusses, but contain improvements which make them stronger and easier to maintain. This engineering enhancement represents a significant evolution of the design of timber truss bridges, and gives Dare trusses some technical significance.
In 1998 there were 27 surviving Dare trusses in NSW of the 40 built, and 82 timber truss road bridges survive from the over 400 built.
The New Buildings bridge is a representative example of Dare timber truss road bridges, and is assessed as being State significant, primarily on the basis of its technical and historical significance.
Timber truss road bridges have played a significant role in the expansion and improvement of the NSW road network. Prior to the bridges being built, river crossings were often dangerous in times of rain, which caused bulk freight movement to be prohibitively expensive for most agricultural and mining produce. Only the high priced wool clip of the time was able to carry the costs and inconvenience imposed by the generally inadequate river crossings that often existed prior to the trusses construction.
Timber truss bridges were preferred by the Public Works Department from the mid 19th to the early 20th century because they were relatively cheap to construct, and used mostly local materials. The financially troubled governments of the day applied pressure to the Public Works Department to produce as much road and bridge work for as little cost as possible, using local materials. This condition effectively prohibited the use of iron and steel, as these, prior to the construction of the steel works at Newcastle in the early 20th century, had to be imported from England.
Harvey Dare, the designer of Dare truss and other bridges, was a leading engineer in the Public Works Department, and a prominent figure in early 20th century NSW.
Timber truss bridges and timber bridges generally were so common that NSW was known to travellers as the "timber bridge state".
Through the bridge's association with the expansion of the NSW road network, its ability to demonstrate historically important concepts such as the gradual acceptance of NSW people of American design ideas, and its association with Harvey Dare, it has historical significance.
The bridge exhibits the technical excellence of its design, as all of the structural detail is clearly visible. In the context of its landscape it is visually attractive. As such, the bridge has moderate aesthetic significance.
The New Buildings bridge is valued by the people of Wyndham because of its long service as a river crossing in the area. Timber truss bridges are prominent to road travellers, and NSW has in the past been referred to as the "timber truss bridge state". Through this, the complete set of bridges gain some social significance, as they could be said to be held in reasonable esteem by many travellers in NSW.
Integrity/Intactness Intact Representativeness Representative of Dare truss bridges Rarity A rare example of a three span Dare truss. In 1998 there were 27 surviving Dare trusses in NSW of the 40 built, and 82 timber truss road bridges survive from the over 400 built
Sourced from the RTA Website
'Magnet' March 31, 1934
* Towamba P & C asked Council to concrete approaches to the bridge over the Towamba River. Also for a bridge to be built over Nullica Creek on the Towamba-Eden Road.
'Magnet' May 26, 1934
* Request by Council that a 35 ft. span be added at each end of Towamba bridge as approaches are washed away each flood. -- approaches are the responsibility of Council - the bridge is the responsibility of Public Works Dept.
|Towamba's second bridge. 1947.
Towamba Store and hall in background. Photo courtesy of Bega Family Museum.
|People on Towamba'a second bridge - eventually
covered by sand. c. 1958
Photo courtesy C. and G. Clements
'Magnet' October 27, 1934
The Minister for Works wrote that the maintenance of Towamba bridge approaches was entirely Council's responsibility. The shire engineer reported it would cost £60 to concrete the approaches at each end. It was decided to ask the Department through Mr. Hedges. M.L.A. to assist in the work.
'The Southern Record and Advertiser'
Feb 2 1934
The Engineer reported that South Wolumla bridge, for which an advance of £1500 was obtained, would be constructed for approximately £1000. It was resolved that the
L.G. Department be asked for approval to expend the balance of £500 in construction of low level bridges at Big Flat (South Wolumla road) and Stock Yard Creek (New Building road to Rocky Hall).
Crs. Robertson, Lee and Collins were appointed a deputation to interview the Premier at Bega and make application for a special grant of £1950 for flood damages.
The L.G. Department advised that the Council's endowment for years 1934-5-6 had been fixed at £1600, an increase of £100 on the previous apportionment.
The Engineer's recommendation to submit an amended programme of works for main roads for 1934 to include portions of roads damaged by the recent flood rains, was approved.
|Car overturned sometime after the bridge
at Rocky Hall was washed away in 1919.
Courtesy Whitby Family
|Driving the piles for the first bridge over
Stockyard Creek, Rocky Hall.
Courtesy Whitby Family
'Magnet' February 23, 1935
IMLAY COUNCIL NOTES
* Rocky Hall Progress Association suggested that a local man be employed for about two days a month to attend to urgent matters up on the Big Jack Mountain Road. Rocky Hall residents wrote that they would supply round timber to the value of £20 if council decided to construct a bridge at the foot of Big Jack Mountain from its own funds. Council resolved that the parties be thanked for their offer and it will consider the matter at a later date and advise the result.
|TOWAMBA BRIDGE. Towamba's third bridge built
Towamba Store in background.
Photo K. Clery 2008
'Magnet' March 2, 1935
* The agitation for the construction of a low level bridge over the local river crossing has been revived. The urgent need for this work has been apparent to all as in flood time a number of residents are cut off from the public school, post office and butter factory. Persons in a position to speak with authority declare that the erection of such a structure on this site would be neither difficult nor costly.
'Magnet' March 9, 1935
A BRIDGE FOR BURRAGATE
A big movement in which residents of Rocky Hall, Burragate, Towamba and Eden are participating, is afoot with the object of bringing about the construction of a bridge over the Towamba (or Burragate) River at Burragate. Public meetings at several of the country centres have been held and it may be taken for granted that the action decided upon by the districts concerned to further the object in view, will be to all intents and purposes unanimous. The matter will be brought before Imlay Shire Council at its next meeting and it may reasonably be anticipated that it will meet with the wholehearted support not only of 'C' Riding councillors but of the whole of the members of the Council. A glance at the map will at once show the reasonableness of the request. In particular the Rocky Hall district needs an improved road to provide direct and constant communication with the town and port of Eden, a natural outlet for most of its products. From the Prince's Highway at Nullica to Towamba and Burragate the road is a main road. From Burragate to New Buildings and Rocky Hall the road is a secondary or minor road but is of first class grade. Crossing this road on the north side of Burragate township is the unbridged river which at best provides but a precarious crossing and in the rainy season is frequently uncrossable. It is the weakest and most dangerous spot in the whole length of this, the most direct road from Rocky Hall to Eden.
The need for the bridge is so obvious as to render unnecessary any special argument in support of the project. The main question for consideration is one of ways and means. An excellent site it is said, exists but a short distance from the present crossing and it is claimed that a low level bridge would meet requirements and enable the utmost economy in cost to be effected. The nature of the structure suitable for the purpose would of course be a matter for the shire engineer and it is believed that his estimate would show that the cost would be far from prohibitive. The financing of the proposal should also be possible in as much as if the council recent application for a grant for bridges and roads is successful financial relief afforded to council in respect of certain projected works would render it easily practicable to obtain money to proceed with the construction of the Burragate bridge within the currant financial year. It is hoped, therefore, that the request to be placed before the council in this connection will be sympathetically, satisfactorily and speedily dealt with.
'Magnet' March 9, 1935
BURRAGATE RIVER BRIDGE
It was reported to the meeting of the Eden Advancement Association, that the people of Burragate, Rocky Hall and Towamba intended to apply to Imlay Shire Council for the construction of a bridge over the river at Burragate and it was stated that the Eden Advancement Association in support would be welcomed. One of the main objects was to ensure better and more regular access to the port of Eden.
It was decided to cooperate as far as possible and to write to the secretary of the movement at Burragate requesting to be supplied with a copy of the request to be submitted to the shire council in order to enable cooperation to be more effective
'Magnet' March 30, 1935
* Towamba P & C Association requests that council proceed with erection of a bridge over Nullica Creek on Eden - Towamba Road. Reply from council to be sent that work would be put in hand as soon as possible.
'Magnet' April 13, 1935
There was a large gathering of interested ratepayers on the 5th instant to discuss with councillors Mitchell and Lee and the shire engineer Mr. Hinley, the proposed construction of a bridge over the river at that centre. Burragate people turned out almost to the last man and Towamba and Rocky Hall were also well represented.
Mr. A. R. Binnie was unanimously voted to take charge of the meeting and appropriately introduced the subject for discussion. He then called on Mr. I. W. Ryan to explain the necessity for the proposed bridge. Mr. Ryan said that having lived on the river bank for twenty-five years, he knew only too well the disadvantages which he and other similarly situated had experienced owing to the Burragate River having been left so long unbridged. Motor transport was now a necessity for the primary producer but between Rocky Hall and Twofold Bay by the direct road through Burragate motor transport was impossible as the river was for motor lorries impassable all the year. He himself kept a bullock team to draw bark over the river to meet lorries and for the use of cars that had to be taken across. Farms beyond the river could be described as being locked and if the river were bridged they would be afforded a decent outlet and transport between Rocky Hall and the port of Eden would be cheaper by reason of the avoidance of the inconvenience and delay in the unloading and reloading of cargo.
Mr. J. Anderson, teacher at Burragate, was called upon to say a few words, said he could never understand why Burragate River was never bridged. A bridge was a public necessity. He mentioned that having on one occasion to go to Rocky Hall, a distance of about eight miles by the direct road. He found he would have to go via Wyndham, a distance of twenty-five miles and he therefore had his car drawn across the river in order to save the thirty-four miles of extra travelling. Visitors from Rocky Hall side to Burragate social functions had to be brought by lantern-light across a footbridge erected by Ryan Bros., not a nice experience for ladies and children. It would hope that the councillors present would get a good grip of the requirement and put a strong case for the bridge before the council.
Mr. A. J. Underhill spoke humorously and forcibly in favour of the bridge. Everyone at Rocky Hall, he said, was anxious to make their way to Twofold Bay which was one of the greatest harbours in the world and while there, to surf on some of its choice beaches as all were tired of surfing in Burragate River with their cars. He being a carrier, had many unenviable experiences in the river with his lorry. There was every reason why the bridge should be built; there was none why it shouldn't be. He doubted that in any other part of the state an array of lanterns had to be provided to conduct visitors over the river by footbridge. He hoped a real bridge would be built at the earliest.
Mr. C. G. Ryan said the time had arrived when something had to be done. He himself had an almost lifelong experience of trouble and anxiety in crossing the river. The cost of providing a bridge should not exceed £1000 and possible this might be procured from the Relief Council to give men work and Burragate a bridge. There could hardly be a bigger hold up of transport on an important road leading to a port in any part of the state.
Mr. W. Fleming said he could not speak of old experiences but the time he had been living at Rocky Hall was long enough to get to know all about the Burragate River. Soon after coming to the district he decided to go to a sports carnival at Burragate but found that instead of being able to get there in eight miles by the river road he had to go via Wyndham - twenty-five miles. His later experiences had been similar and here all others interested considered the time had come for a change for the better. The need for a bridge was urgent.
The chairman endorsed the remarks of the various speakers and emphasised the difficulties and dangers arising from the want of a bridge. He would like the councillors present to express their views.
Councillor Mitchell said he knew all about the river and the difficulties and dangers experienced by travellers and he would like the meeting to know that in his opinion the river should have been bridged long ago. He was in favour of the bridge being constructed.
Councillor Lee said he was pleased to meet so many electors of 'C' Riding and to receive their requests but the council found it impossible to finance such works. At the present time their were several bridges at Rocky Hall under construction. Up there they had given assistance in the way of timber and he had been told that to bridge Burragate River would benefit only one man but as there seemed to be more than one interested it was up to them to give assistance by way of providing timber for the approaches. Now is the time for them to submit something concrete. Time was getting away and it was not use whispering what you might do and what you might not. He would like to know something definite now of what they would do.
For a few minutes silence reigned supreme and Mr. I. W. Ryan then said that he had listened with interest to Mr. Lee but did not quite understand him. This was Burragate's first request of any note to Imlay Shire Council since it came to existence. That body was considered to be our local government and it was generally understood that it would undertake any reasonable work within the shire. Councillor Lee was looking at the request from the wrong point of view. The bridge concerned not only the people of the locality round about, it concerned the whole riding and indeed the whole shire. There was no reason why its cost, or any great portion of it, should be born by the people of Burragate, Towamba and Rocky Hall. They had been without the convenience for countless years and all they wanted was fair play. People talked of development. How could they have development when for want of a bridge the progress of an important part of shire was blocked. If they wanted to advance the development of district and the port of Twofold Bay they should remove the barriers to progress including the unbridged crossing at Burragate. The council should not be asking a section of the ratepayers who were already harassed by difficulties and disadvantages to burden themselves with contributions for a work for the public benefit. Councillors should realise that it took most of the ratepayers all their time to pay their rates. He regretted that Councillor Lee had not displayed a better feeling towards the proposition.
Councillor Lee: ' Are there between eight and twenty farms in the district that could be developed by the bridge?'
Mr. Ryan said that there were already that number in action and there were thousands of acres of good wattle growing land that could be taken up.
In reply to the chairman, Mr. Hinley said a bridge and approaches would cost £850. He realised the necessity of bridging the river and a bridge should be a great benefit to the district.
After further discussion it was decided to further consider the matter at a public meeting to be held at Burragate on the 13th instant. The meeting concluded with a hearty vote of thanks to the chairman.
Photo K. Clery
'Magnet' April 13, 1935
At Imlay Shire Council meeting yesterday the shire engineer Mr. Hinley reported that on the 5th instant in company of Councillors Lee and Mitchell, he had inspected the site for a proposed bridge at Burragate where a large number of people had assembled to discuss the matter. At the site suggested, a low level bridge, 180 feet in length with 10 foot decking, could be built for £800, including approaches. He suggested that the matter be held over until come concrete proposal had been received from the residents of the locality.
Councillor Lee said residents had been asked what assistance they would give. Mr. Underhill had offered to give £5 but a number of Burragate people were not very enthusiastic about the idea of giving assistance. Some however, said they would go around and see what offers of help they could get. It appeared that there were a lot of people whom the bridge would serve and there would be a lot of traffic for the bridge, the construction of which would effect a saving of fifteen or twenty miles between Burragate and Rocky Hall.
The engineer: ' Fifteen miles.'
Councillor Lee: ' Well, between fifteen and twenty miles would be saved by going direct instead of by way of Wyndham.'
Councillor Allen said council could not do this kind of thing while creeks on the more important Tantawanglo Road remained unbridged. They could not give people what they wanted in way back places such as Burragate. It was beyond council's ability to do so.
The engineer: ' The people at Burragate were told the work could not be carried out in this year's programme.'
Councillor Allen again spoke of bridge requirements in 'A' riding and said the Burragate Bridge would serve only one settler- Ryan.
Councillor Lee: ' Rocky Hall people say they use the road considerably and one of them, Mr. Underhill said he would give £5. The Ryans say they have to use the crossing and have trouble in getting their loading across.'
Councillor Allen: ' Can't they get round?'
The President: 'They can get round. There is nothing to stop them.'
Councillor Lee: ' But it is a very long way and they say the bridge would open up new country.
The President: ' It won't open up any new country.'
Councillor Mitchell: ' They appear to think it would enable a road to be extended to Wog Wog.'
The President: ' They only way to open Wog Wog is by a road to go in from the two churches at Rocky Hall. This would be the closest point - about eight or nine miles or a little more. From Burragate a road would have to go in over rivers and hills through very rough country. A distance of fourteen miles.
Councillor Lee: ' We definitely told them that the work could not be put on this years' programme and we asked them to let us know what they could do in the matter of self help as some assistance from them would be necessary.'
The President said that the crossing would be a long one; the hundred and eighty feet would only be a part of the total length.
Councillor Lee: 'They measured off four forty foot spaces.'
Councillor Mitchell: 'This would be about fifty yards above the present crossing.'
The engineer: 'That is the narrowest part.'
The President: 'That is a long way across'
Councillor Wiles: 'We can't do anything now. Council has no money available.'
Councillor Mitchell: 'I am sure that we will get some concrete proposal put before the next meeting.'
The President: 'Then we can leave it at that.'
On the motion of councillor Lee it was decided that the matter stand over for the present.
'Magnet' April 13, 1935
* About thirty district residents were present on April 5th to meet the representatives of Imlay Shire at the site of the proposed bridge over the Burragate River. Mr. Hinley, shire engineer, furnished the meeting with details as to cost etc., and a strong case was presented in favour of the proposed structure.
'Magnet' April 20, 1935
At the specially convened public meeting held at the School of Arts on Saturday April 13, for the purpose for further discussing the proposed bridge over the bridge at Burragate, delegates from Rocky Hall and Towamba as well as residents of Burragate and district were present. Mr. C. Sawers presided. The subject for discussion was well ventilated and Mr. I. W. Ryan ardently attacked the question whether the bridge concerned one man only or the residents of the whole Towamba Valley. The meeting was wholeheartedly with him in his contention that the matter was of district wide importance and should be recognised as such by the ratepayers' representatives in Imlay Shire Council.
Finally the following motion was carried unanimously: That since the proposed Burragate bridge appears to be, 1. a matter for the whole of 'C' Riding, 2. of a developmental nature and 3. is an urgent necessity to the Burragate district, we the residents of Burragate, Rocky Hall and Towamba separately and conjointly respectfully suggest to Imlay Shire Council that it should endeavour to secure a grant for its construction.
At the conclusion of the meeting tea was handed round by the ladies and the remainder of the evening was spent in social intercourse.
'Magnet' April 27, 1935
Imlay Shire Council is not yet in receipt of the promised grant of £1,250 for expenditure on bridges etc., in this shire. The work to be covered by the grant comprised Towamba Bridge approach, completion of Stockyard Creek bridge, a bridge at Nungatta Creek, two at Rocky Hall and one at Pipeclay Creek.
After his meeting at Towamba on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Hedges MLA, drove out to Burragate to see the sight of the proposed bridge over the river there. He is well acquainted with the crossing where on one occasion he was bogged with his car and had to be pulled out. He expressed himself as being convinced of the necessity for a bridge, and the next morning interviewed at Eden the shire president, (Councillor Robertson) regarding the desirableness of applying for a grant to enable the bridge to be built.
With reference to inquiries that have been made respecting Imlay Shire Council's intention regarding the desired construction of a bridge over Nullica River crossing, Eden-Towamba Road, it may be stated that this is a main road work towards the cost of which the Main Road Board will contribute 75% and the Council will provide the remaining 25%. The commencement of the work is being delayed to suit the convenience of the MRB until after 30th of June, the end of the current financial year.
'Magnet' April 27, 1935
IMLAY SHIRE COUNCIL MINUTES
Mr. H. Umback, Burragate undertakes to construct a low-level bridge at Sheepskin Crossing provided Council place the bed logs in position on the rock. Resolved that the work asked for be carried out with assistance offered. Mr. Umback informed that the timber to be used for girders and corbels must be up to the engineer's specification. With councillors Lee and Mitchell, the residents of Burragate were interviewed regarding low-level bridge at crossing. The length will be 180 feet and with a 10 foot debt and approaches will cost approximately £800. Resolved that as no provision has been made for this work this year, the matter stand over for the present.
'Magnet' April 27, 1935
Still we patiently wait for the long promised bridge over the Nullica Creek and the concreting of the approaches to the Towamba low-level bridge. All good things come to those who wait, at least says an old adage.
Magnet' May 4, 1935'
A meeting held here earlier this week unanimously decided to support the request of Burragate, Towamba and Rocky Hall for the construction of a bridge over the river at Burragate.
|OPENING OF KIAH BRIDGE. c. 1930's
Photographer C. E. Wellings. Photo courtesy M. Mitchell
|Opening of Kiah Bridge.
The photographer W.T.(Nobby) Hall sitting in white coat. Man and woman
on right possibly John Thomas Mitchell and Fanny Mitchell (nee Bridle).
Photo courtesy M. Mitchell
'Magnet' May 11, 1935
BURRAGATE RIVER BRIDGE
The district-wide agitation that is going on with the object of bringing about the construction of a bridge over the river at Burragate merits fair and favourable consideration. The need for the bridge is obviously quite general, not merely local and the combined request made by residents of Rocky Hall, Burragate and Towamba for the bridging of the river affords ample justification for action by the Shire Council in the direction desired. The bridge comes within the category of works eligible for construction by means of grants for expenditure on roads other than main roads leading to settlement. A grant for this purpose would in no way involve diminution of funds available from other sources for similar work on main roads and on this account projects should receive the unanimous support of the Council and since such grants are not necessarily conditional on their being subsidised by the Council, the ratepayers of the locality who have suffered many years of inconvenience and loss through the river being unbridged should not be called upon to bear an additional burden in the shape of special contributions towards the cost of the structure. It is reasonable to expect that when the whole of the circumstances are considered all possible help will be given by the Council to the people of the district in their efforts to secure the bridge that represents so much to them and to others as a means of serving the public convenience and promoting the development of the shire.
'Magnet' May 18, 1935
Grant B Applied For
At Imlay Shire Council's meeting yesterday it was unanimously resolved on the motion of councillors Taylor and Wiles that application be made for a grant of £1000 from the Unemployment Fund for the purpose of constructing a bridge over the bridge at Burragate.
'Magnet' May 18, 1935
Seldom are the people of any small community stirred into such unity of action as is now being shown by Burragate people in their agitation for the bridging of the river at their centre. Their case, as 'Magnet' readers are aware, has been well and plainly put. Two things they strongly and rightly resent; 1, A suggestion made at a Shire Council meeting that the road was of purely local importance and benefit, 2, Being asked to assist with the work which if carried out by Government grant, would not tax the shire finances and which in any case would prove a blessing to a wide area. Burragate has asked for little enough.
'Magnet' May 25, 1935
In answer to a request from Burragate Progress Association supported by Eden Advancement Association and other bodies, it was decided to make application through Mr. Hedges M.L.A. for a grant of £1000 for a bridge over the river.
'Magnet' June 1, 1935
* It now seems as if the persistent agitation by both press and public for a bridge over the Towamba River at Burragate will be rewarded.
'Magnet' June 15, 1935
* Work has been commenced on concreting the approaches to our bridge.
'Magnet' June 22, 1935
* Alterations were made a few days ago to the bridge spanning Pericoe Creek at the Wog Wog crossing.
'Magnet' September 21, 1935.
BIG JACK BRIDGE
The first bridge to be put over the Big Jack Creek at the foot of the mountain was open to traffic yesterday. The first car to cross over it was the Pambula-Bombala mail car driven by Mr. Les Sharp.
'Magnet' November 23, 1935
IMLAY SHIRE COUNCIL
Bridge wanted for Maria's Creek
Mr. A.E. Alexander, Pericoe, asked that a bridge be erected over Maria's Creek Road, Pericoe to Rockton which was the only holdup in the road in wet weather. (The matter to be considered when next year's estimates are being dealt with.)
April 4, 1936
BURRAGATE RIVER BRIDGE
PROPOSAL SUBMITTED TO THE MINISTER
On an invitation extended to Burragate P & C Association to send delegates to Cooma to participate in the interview with Mr. Spooner on March 20th regarding the proposed Burragate River bridge, Messers D. Morton and I. W. Ryan were appointed and they report respecting the matter as follows:
We had the pleasure of meeting at Cooma, Mr. Spooner, Minister for Works and Local Government and our representative Mr. W. W. Hedges MLA., for Monaro.
Imlay Shire president, Cr. Wiles put forward proposals for the following works: Bridge over Slaters Creek at Candelo, bridge over Sandy Creek on Wyndham-Rocky Hall Road, bridge over Back Creek, Lochiel, bridge over Black Creek on Wyndham-Rocky Hall Road and the matters of Candelo- Wyndham Road and the Bega River Road. After these had been submitted Mr. Hedges remarked that he did not see anything of a bridge for Burragate on the programme of proposed works, whereupon President Wiles said that in Council a show of hands was taken and the proposal was turned down.
Mr. Hedges said that this work had been applied for and should be considered. It was an urgent necessity to the people of the Towamba River district and it was essential to the promotion of the development of Twofold Bay. He added: "The people want it and it should be first on your list of works." The item was then placed on the list.
Deputy president Lee who besides being a Council delegate represented also all local progressive bodies and the Eden Advancement Association in his advocacy of the project, said on behalf of these organisations and the people of Burragate particularly that the bridge would be to the producers one of the most beneficial works in the shire. He put up an excellent case and also put in a strong plea for the completion of the Kiah to Lower Towamba Development Road, a work that was started seven years ago and was far from finished. Its non completion, he said, together with the holdup at Burragate River had brought the district to a locked position in regard to transport for the farmers concerned. He said it was heartbreaking to see the old hands that had pioneered the river still without a road and it would bring tears from any human heart to realise their plight after having stood up to almost every trial of life that was possible for them to face.
The Minister listened sympathetically and said he would discuss the matter with the Main Roads Department and urge early completion of the road.
After a long discussion on the shire's financial position, the Minister said he would assist the shire on a 60-40 basis for the following works; Burragate bridge £1,250, Black Creek bridge and Sandy Creek bridge £510, Slaters Lane bridge £250, Back Creek bridge £260, Candelo-Wyndham road £1,000, Tathra-Bega River Road £1,500.
Councillor Lee is to be congratulated on the fight he put up for the Burragate Bridge and for the completion of the Kiah River Development Road.
November 12, 1937
'The Bombala Times'
OPENING CEREMONY MR. HEDGES, M.L.A., CUTS THE RIBBON.
In beautiful weather on Wednesday last, the new bridge over the Towamba River at Burragate was officially declared open with all the customary ceremony by the Member for the District, Mr. W. W. Hedges, M. L. A. This bridge makes another link between certain coastal towns and the tableland and brings many of our neighbours closer to the railhead at Bombala. There is a good flow of water in the Towamba River, and judging by the width of sand and boulders from bank to bank a light flush after rain would make it impassable to anything but horse traffic, while heavy rain would compel all residents on Burragate side to seek another outlet to reach the table land. This would mean to them another fifteen miles round by Wyndham and up the Big Jack or Mt. Darragh mountains. The progressive residents of Burragate have long seen the great necessity for this bridge, but only within the last two years has it reached a stage of possibility, made so by the offer of the Government to find sixty per cent, of the cost if the Imlay Shire Council would find the other forty. The Council had hitherto been unable to see its way to finance the proposition, but this offer seemed too good to miss and they grabbed it. Tenders were called and the bridge erected by Contractor Armstrong, of Bega, from timber supplied by Mr. G. S. Rayner, of the Bombala saw mill. The first estimate of the cost was £800, but eventually this reached £2000, and the bridge is a lengthy and substantial structure which should do all that is required of it for many years ahead. Burragate is midway between Bombala and Eden. It is 31 miles to Bombala and 28 to Eden, making the distance to Eden via this road 59 miles. Roads radiating from Burra gate are: Wyndham, 9 miles, Rocky Hall 8 miles, Pericoe 7 miles and Towamba 8 miles. Pambula via Honeysuckle is 21 miles. Bombala folks who would like to motor through this country, and it has some pretty scenery along the Towamba River, which the road follows for many miles, should proceed down the Big Jack Mountain and turn sharp to the right at the New Building bridge, a few miles the other side of Rocky Hall. The road is not a speedway but only needs careful driving. The residents are not going to let the authorities rest on their oars after the construction of this bridge. They want a short road now of less than five miles in a southerly direction to connect Burragate with the Wog Wog road, at Letts' Mountain. This will reduce the travelling time for stock between Rockton and Burragate by two days. It now takes three days, whereas by Letts' Mountain route it will be done in a day. The radiation of all these roads to Burragate looks as if the little village will someday become an important stock sale centre.
The Burragate-Wog Wog link will also give easy access to Victoria via Cann River. It was necessary to write of these matters first before touching on the actual bridge opening ceremony to give our readers some information to indicate its importance.
A FEW PRELIMINARY REMARKS.
There was a large gathering of local people, and visitors from Eden, Bombala, Bega, and all the immediate surrounding localities, and at 11 a.m. Mr. J. Anderson took the Chair, in place of Mr A. Binnie, who was absent through illness. Mr. Binnie had been chosen as Chairman as a recognition of the great work he had done for the district and this bridge in particular. Mr. I. W. Ryan, President of the Progress Association, was the first to speak with satisfaction of the success of their efforts, and gratification for the assistance given by the Imlay Shire Council and Mr. Hedges. It was Mr. Ryan who spoke of the road to Wog Wog, and also mentioned the necessity of improving the Big Jack Mountain road. He was followed by Mr. D. Morton (Secretary of the Association), Mr. W. Fleming (Rocky Hall), Mr. H. P. Wellings (Eden Advancement League), Crs. I. A. Lee and J Taylor (Imlay Shire
Council). The Chairman then called on Mr. Hedges to officially declare the bridge open.
MR. HEDGES SPEAKS
Mr. Hedges said it gave Mrs. Hedges and himself very great pleasure to be there that day, and they fully appreciated the invitation issued to them by the Progress Association. They were pleased to attend these functions wherever possible, although it was not always convenient, but he liked to get away from the city and be amongst his constituents in the country for a time. The work of building this bridge had been accomplished by the co operation of the Imlay Shire Council, but the initiation was due to the good work of energetic representatives of their own people. Mr. Ryan and Mr. Morton were absolutely tireless in working to have this bridge built. They had been in, constant communication with him, and at the last election he promised them that the bridge would be built before next election- and so it had. But it would not have been here but for the local governing, authorities expressing their willingness to take a share of the burden and find forty per cent. of the cost.
November 12, 1937
'The Bombala Times'
(excerpt - THE OPENING OF BURRAGATE BRIDGE)
THE RIBBON IS CUT.
Miss Betty Anderson presented Mr. Hedges with a pair of scissors to cut the ribbon; and little Joan Umback presented Mrs. Hedges with a pretty posy of flowers. Mr. Hedges then stepped forward, and as he cut the ribbon declared the bridge open.
FIRST TO CROSS.
The first car to cross the officially opened bridge was one in which were seated five of the oldest residents of the district. They were Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Ryan, Mrs. H. Kraanstuyver, Mrs. A. Binnie, and Mr. J. Sherwin. Mr. Sherwin was born near the site of the bridge and now lives near the New Building bridge. Mrs. Kraanstuyver comes from the same locality, Mrs Binnie from Towamba, and Mr. and Mrs. Ryan from Burragate. Mr. Ryan is a Bombala native, who left these parts in his young manhood, and married and settled in the Burra gate district, where he established a nice farm which is now carried on mainly by his sons.
SPORTS AND BALL.
At the conclusion of the bridge opening ceremony the people returned to the prettily situated recreation ground a short distance away, where the balance of the day was spent with an interesting sports programme, followed by a ball at night, the proceeds from which went to the Bush Nursing Association