HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

6 July 2014

Nowra Bridge a few facts I bet you never new- 5 July 1879.


Over many years travelling across Nowra Bridge I had never really stopped to think much about the bridge and its significance.  Research for the blog has made me aware of just how vital and important this steel structure was, and still is today.

The bridge was completed in 1881 and made from cast iron and steel. Nowra bridge is quite unique,  at the time it was built it was the only American Pin Jointed Whipple bridge built in NSW.  The steel was imported from the USA, some 14 years ahead of its general use in New South Wales.  The popular contemporary bridge of the time was wrought iron, half through, lattice truss, essentially a British bridge of riveted construction.
The pairs of cast iron piers are original and were supplied by the Atlas Foundry of Sydney. At 1013 feet (309m) overall it was the largest bridge project in New South Wales prior to the 1889 Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge.

The original deck was timber and this was in use for one hundred years until replaced with reinforced concrete laid over Armco decking in 1981.

shoalhaven river -rs file off web 2014[3] Big dreams, a railway to Vincentia and beyond.
The bridge was originally intended to carry a double railway track, the railway however was never extended past Bomaderry station, putting an end to many dreams and slowing down the growth of the south coast beyond Nowra. “More on this fascinating aspect of the story in a future post.” The bridge has been used for two lane traffic for over 133 years.

1893 Historical significance.
The bridge was designed by American engineer C Shaler Smith and is considered to be of historical state significance.  The Builder was Edgemoor Iron Co.,  a well known bridge fabricator and builder of Delaware USA.

Truss bridges are one of the oldest types of modern bridges. A truss bridge is a bridge whose load-bearing superstructure is composed of a truss, a structure of connected elements forming triangular units. Nowra Bridge  is a technically sophisticated bridge structure and unique for its time.

elephant-Nowra-Bridge Phyllis the elephant collapsed on the Nowra Bridge on the 14th of may 1914. 
One of the more remarkable incidents to happen on the bridge was when a scared elephant belonging to Wirths Circus collapsed on the bridge and refused to move for some considerable time. It was eventually coaxed into moving again with food.
whipple truss bridgeWhipple Truss Bridge.

Opened by Hon John Lackey Minister for Works August 1881, before 6000 people.


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