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Photographs supplied by Russell Byers

The George Street Falls Low Level Bridge was renamed in September 2006 to commemorate Gordon Edgell, who built the bridge to transport asparagus from the farms in Kelso to the Edgell cannery.

Gordon Edgell and Sons of Bathurst launched their canned asparagus in 1927 after 18 years of experimentation in growing the crop in the local area.  In 1943 Edgell expanded to include a new cannery at Cowra  and the one millionth can of vegetables rolled off the line just one year later. The brand is now owned by Simplot.

Robert Gordon Edgell was an engineer with the Works Department of New South Wales who moved to Bathurst for his health. Initially he grew fruit, planting what became the largest apple and pear orchard in New South Wales. Then, realising there was a market for asparagus as a luxury product, he spent many years applying scientific methods to developing and growing the vegetable in the ‘bracing’ local climate.

Canning was the next steto make Edgell’s produce easily available to a wider market.  The Edgell sons were sent to American to investigate canning processes, but the lack of suitable machinery led Robert to design his own canning plant. A small, experimental cannery was followed after a few years by a larger one.

The Edgells planted more asparagus, tearing out the orchards. They also encouraged other local growers to produce asparagus, purchasing as much as could be grown. Despite more than 800 miles of asparagus rows being planted by 1937,  demand for the product still exceeded the supply. A new factory was built to manufacture the cans, using tin plate imported from Wales. Asparagus became the dominant industry of the Bathurst region.

To prolong the canning season Edgell began to can other vegetables, including cauliflower, peas and Brussells sprouts. They also manufactured a range of soups. They became important suppliers to the military during World War Two. 

Edgell were not the first Australian manufacturer to can vegetables, although they were probably the first to do so on such a grand scale.  The Mildura Fruit Preserving Company was offering some vegetables under its Mallee brand in the early 1890s, exhibiting at the Intercolonial Food and Wine Exhibition of 1894. However, it seems that these may have been preserved by pickling and the company’s main focus was on fruit and jams.

Leggos of Bendigo were also offering canned vegetables, including tomatoes, by 1918.



Address:Hereford Street, Bathurst, 2795
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.411939
Long: 149.585091
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:People
Approx. Event End Date:


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 4th September, 2006
Front Inscription

Plaque :

The George Street Falls Low Level Bridge was renamed Gordon Edgell Bridge on 4 September 2006 in honour of Gordon Edgell who originally built the bridge for ease of transport of asparagus from farms in Kelso (formerly Hereford) to the Edgell cannery.

Norm Mann     Mayor of Bathurst
David Sherley General Manager

Plaque :

This bridge was opened by Councillor Peta Gurdon O`Meara  Mayor of Bathurst
30 August 1995

Peta Gurdon O`Meara  Mayor
P. J. Gannob FIE Aust, PSM  City Engineer


Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au