Historian Tom Bryant delivers talk on Lansdowne Bridge

FUNCTIONAL: A sketch of the old Lansdowne Bridge over the Mulwaree Ponds in 1889. It was just one of five bridges built over the years.

FUNCTIONAL: A sketch of the old Lansdowne Bridge over the Mulwaree Ponds in 1889. It was just one of five bridges built over the years.

Historian Tom Bryant is urging the council to save just a little of the soon to be demolished Lansdowne Bridge.

The avid researcher does not think the 1902 De Burgh Truss Bridge should be saved, just some of it timbers for posterity, a picnic table or two and an observation deck with a commemorative plaque.

“It is a nice vista and I don’t think the new one will have quite the same attraction,” Mr Bryant said.

“You’d like it to be saved but who will pay for its maintenance? It will gradually deteriorate.”

Mr Bryant, a Goulburn and District Historical Society member, will deliver a talk about Lansdowne Bridge’s history from 1833 to 2017 on Thursday, September 28. It comes ahead of the structure’s demolition later in the year and replacement with a concrete bridge.

That will make it the sixth crossing on the site, Mr Bryant says. The first was built in 1833 when the first township was relocated from north Goulburn, around Riversdale, to the centre. At the time it was the main entry to Goulburn as part of the Great South Road.

In 1843 another was built by convicts using brick pylons and timber surface. Mr Bryant says some of the original brick remains. Then in 1883 came another timber bridge, depicted in the sketch above, followed by the De Burgh Truss type in 1902.

Lansdowne Bridge Survey

“It was built in the same spot as the old one. While it was being constructed they had to have a by-road so the contractor took timbers out of the bridge and put them on the brick abutments of the bypass,” Mr Bryant said.

“The new bridge has given us faithful service until now. It was only built for the horse and cart, not the 40-tonne trucks of today. If you look underneath it is in a perilous state.” 

Mr Bryant’s research shows the toll-house on the eastern side, not the west, as many people believe. Rates record the western structure as simply a cottage. A person crossing the bridge was charged a penny but someone with stock was hit for threepence.

The historian delved into Trove and other sources as part of his research. 

“When the bridge was built in 1902 the paper printed that they found and old horse-drawn cart in the river. Someone from Inveralochy (near Lake Bathurst) wrote in and said it answered the description of one washed away 40 years earlier. The bridges were prone to flooding,” Mr Bryant said.

He also collected people’s reminiscences of the bridge, some of which needed cross-checking.

Mr Bryant’s talk will be held at the Goulburn Soldiers Club, 10.15am for 10.30am on September 28. RSVP to trybooking.com/RWCA, free call 1800 353 646 or phone 4823 4492. 

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