Denison Bridge

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Denison Bridge
Denison Bridge, Bathurst.jpg
Denison Bridge, Bathurst
Coordinates 33°25′02″S 149°35′31″E / 33.4172°S 149.5920°E / -33.4172; 149.5920Coordinates: 33°25′02″S 149°35′31″E / 33.4172°S 149.5920°E / -33.4172; 149.5920
Carries Pedestrians
Crosses Macquarie River
Locale Bathurst, New South Wales
Named for Sir William Denison
Maintained by Bathurst Regional Council
Preceded by Bridge (1856-1867)
Design Truss bridge
Material Steel
Total length 142.7 metres (468 ft)
Width 6.1 metres (20 ft)
Longest span 34.5 metres (113 ft)
No. of spans 9 (three at 6.7m, 34m, 34.5m, 34m, three at 6.7m)
Piers in water 2
Constructed by Peter Nicol Russell
Construction start 1869
Construction end 1870
Closed early 1990s (to road traffic)
Replaced by Evans Bridge
Official name Denison Bridge
Type Historic
Designated 21 March 1978
Reference no. 15953
Official name Denison Bridge
Type Built
Criteria a., b., c., d., e., f., g.
Designated 1 August 2003
Reference no. 01665
Denison Bridge is located in New South Wales
Denison Bridge
Denison Bridge
Location in New South Wales

The Denison Bridge is a heritage-listed footbridge over the Macquarie River in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. It is the fourth oldest metal truss bridge existing in Australia.

The bridge, completed in 1870, replaced an earlier bridge that was built in 1856 and destroyed in 1867 floods.[4] The bridge structure, except for the deck, is original and in excellent condition and for over 120 years the bridge carried the Great Western Highway over the Macquarie River. In the early 1990s a realignment of the Great Western Highway resulted in the Evans Bridge replacing the Denison Bridge, with the latter converted to pedestrian traffic only.

Historical details

Denison Bridge was an advanced design for its period and a major engineering achievement, it was the maximum span possible with a wrought iron truss span structure.[2] It is the second oldest metal truss bridge in New South Wales after the Prince Albert bridge at Gundagai. The new bridge was designed on the new American Pratt truss type construction style.[5]

On 1 August 2003 the bridge was listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register with the following statement of significance:[2]

The Denison Bridge, a three-span wrought iron bridge, is an early metal truss bridge built in 1870. Its advanced design was a major engineering achievement at the time and represents the maximum achievable by truss spans. The bridge is associated with three important colonial engineers: William Christopher Bennett (Commissioner and Engineer for Roads), Gustavus Alphonse Morrell (Assistant Engineer and designer) and Peter Nicol Russell (P N Russell & Co). The bridge is a prominent local landmark which has played an important role in the history of Bathurst and the Central West. It was the fifth oldest metal truss bridge in Australia until recently but is still the second oldest in NSW.

— Statement of significance, New South Wales State Heritage Register.

In 1978 the Denison Bridge was listed on the (now defunct) Register of the National Estate.[1]

In early 1990 the bridge was damaged when the blade of a bulldozer on the back of a low loader truck that was crosses the bridge cut two main support trusses on the bridge.[6]

First Denison Bridge

The first Denison Bridge was a three span laminated bow-string arch British type bridge commenced in January 1855 and completed the following year.[7] The first bridge only lasted 11 years after it was destroyed by floods in 1867. The following article of the time provides great detail of the construction and the features of the first Denison Bridge:[8]

The bridge is built of wood, strengthened in parts by iron rods; it has five arches, so to speak, built upon the suspension principle. The arches at either end are small, having a span of about fifty feet, while, the remaining space is divided between the other three arches, the centre one being apparently somewhat larger than the two others. There are two distinct lines of roadway, separated by the middle support of the bridge: one for carriages passing eastward, and another for those passing in an opposite direction. No separate provision has yet been made for foot passengers, but I believe it is contemplated to add that accommodation at a future time. The roadway is formed of wood, not otherwise covered than with a coating of preparation to resist the action of the weather, mixed with some rough material to give foothold to the horses passing over. The total length of the bridge is about, I should say, 400 feet. The whole building is well defended by strong side rails and balustrades, as well on the outer sides as on the inner line. The three are uniform. The whole of the upper part, above the roadway, is painted of a light colour, and has a very airy appearance. That below the road and under water is covered with tar, &a., and remains of its natural colour, relieving, very much, the appearance of the upper works of the bridge, and giving it a light appearance when viewed from the banks of the river. Returning to the upper works. On a buttress, at either end of the bridge, is raised a lamp, the light from which will serve to show the divisions of the track at night. The approaches to the bridge, on either side, have been well defended, and led up to, by strong fencing-not the primitive split-post and rail bush stuff, but good, legitimate, strong post and rail, well painted. A very good arrangement has been contrived to prevent collision. It consists merely in an application of those "rules of the road" which are practically on the road so little attended to.


Denison Bridge, Bathurst

See also


  1. ^ a b "Denison Bridge (Place ID 15953)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of the Environment. 21 March 1978. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Denison Bridge". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  3. ^ "Nomination of the 1870 Denison Bridge Bathurst as an Historic Engineering Marker" (PDF). Institute of Engineers, Australia. November 1994. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  4. ^ "Denison Bridge washed away". The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser. National Library of Australia. 29 June 1867. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "Denison Bridge, Bathurst". Website. 25 April 2007. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "Teamwork reason bridge re-opened early" (photo). Western Advocate. Facebook. 16 March 1990. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  7. ^ "BATHURST". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 6 January 1855. p. 3. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "BATHURST". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 31 December 1855. p. 5. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 

External links

  • Engineering Heritage Sydney, Denison Bridge Commemoration Plaque
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