Opening of 1889 Hawkesbury Rail BridgePrint Page Print this page

The plaque commemorates the opening in 1889 of the fourth largest bridge in the world with the deepest cutting. The bridge was replaced in 1946. The plaque was removed from its original location on top of south bridge span (demolished l947). Now located behind locked gates in roofed courtyard on former railbed of l889 pylon.

The 1889 Hawkesbury River Bridge in particular was a major technical achievement at the time. It was the fourth largest bridge constructed in the world, one of its caissons reached 49 metres, had the deepest bridge footing in the world and it was the longest bridge in Australia, pushing bridge design and construction techniques to the limit. The bridge was also the first of the American designed truss bridges that were introduced to Australia in the late 1880s and 1890s and thus the first to utilise the American principles of lightweight bracing, pin joints and eye bar tension members.

It was the only steel trussed bridge of its type in Australia when it was built and the first major use of steel for bridges with previous examples being built in wrought iron. The first Hawkesbury River Bridge was tested on 24 April 1889, with Union Bridge Company engineers, railway engineers, politicians and workers being present. On 1 May 1889, the railway bridge was opened, finally linking the two railway systems. The Union Bridge Company placed large commemorative plaques atop each end of the bridge to mark this significant event, one of which remains on the southern abutment of the bridge in the Long Island maintenance depot. The 1889 bridge has also been plaqued as a National Engineering landmark.


Address:Long Island, Maintenance Depot, Brooklyn, 2083
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.537778
Long: 151.229722
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Technology
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au