There are two bridges at Bingara, the main bridge over the Gwydir River, (Campbell Bridge) and the smaller over Halls Creek. They are generally known collectively as ‘Campbell Bridge’.
The construction is referred to as a Lattice Iron Truss Road Bridge, with some other examples being Manilla (5 spans) and Bundarra (5 spans). Forty one bridges of this type were built in the Colonies of NSW and Victoria during the years 1871 to 1893. Twenty seven were for roads and fourteen for railways.
The Gwydir River crossing (bridge No 2949) consists of 6 x 127ft spans for a total span length of 762ft. It has Square corners and a Buckled Plate and Concrete Deck. The Deck was Macadamised to shed water. This bridge at 6 spans of maximum span length is one of the longest bridges of this type built in Australia.
The Halls Creek crossing (bridge No 2948) consists of 2 x 90ft spans for a total span length of 180ft. It has Rounded corners and a Buckled Plate and Concrete Deck.
For more detailed reading on bridge technicalities I refer you the Roads and TrafficAuthority NSW publication; “Pre-1930 Metal Bridges – Study of the Heritage Signifcance of Pre-1930 RTA Controlled Metal Road Bridges in NSW”. This PDF document is available on the RTA website at http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/environment/downloads/heritage/bridge_historical_over-view_dl1.html
The Campbell Bridge is of signifcant heritage value, not just because of its type of construction but also for its social and economic relevance to the town of Bingara and those communities that it links.
While many would like to see the bridge painted in its white livery again and some despair over its apparent poor state, it is a fact of life that the Roads and Traffic Authority does not have funds beyond basic maintenance. An estimated cost of $11,000,000 has been quoted by the RTA to re-paint the bridge.
It is very sad that this significant bridge does not have a sign bearing its name, nor a plaque to tell its story. The Bingara District Historical Society is working to rectify this omission.
[Sincere thanks is given to Howard Rose (descendant of George White Rose) for supplying some of the information used in this article, including the technical details which he had obtained from Mr Don Fraser, former State Rail Engineer.]
Campbell Bridge – 125th Anniversary (4-Nov-11) [Read more…] The Bridge finally opens The following extracts are from the report by the Bingera Correspondent, dated 8th November, which appeared in the Maitland Mercury & Hunter River Advertiser on 19th November 1886. The correspondent was present on the opening day and gives a very detailed account of proceedings;
Some background on Mr W. R. Campbell (4-Nov-11)
I have discovered some detailed information on Mr W. R. Campbell from an article in The Town and Country Journal of 24th May 1890 as follows;
Thomas Hartwell’s recollections (3-Nov-11) [Read more…] Thomas Hartwell worked on Campbell Bridge and supplied timber for its construction. His recollections of the bridge construction appeared in The Bingara Advocate, June, 26 1935. As you will see even he has the bridge opening details incorrect, which would seem very surprising as you would expect he was there for the opening.