Website Banner. John Monash: Engineering enterprise prior to World War 1.

[Introduction.]   [Main JM Index.]   [Bridges Index.]  [People Index.]
[Abbreviations.] [Units & Currency.] [Glossary.]

T-girder bridges, Part 4.

Extracts from Monash Bridges:
Typology study; reinforced concrete bridges in Victoria 1897-1917.

Concept and History: Lesley Alves 1998. Technical input: Alan Holgate and Geoff Taplin.

MELTON: Melton Bridge.

Location:Toolern Creek, Bridge Road, Melton South, Melway 117 A6.
Municipality:Melton Shire, formerly Braybrook Shire.
Description:Girder: 2 × 9.1 metre span girder.
Dates:Tender February 1913 completed August 1913.
Status (1998):Still in use.
Heritage Listing (1998):Nil.

Photo: Lesley Alves c1997.

History.

In June 1912 Melton Shire President, Alfred Minns, wrote to the adjoining Braybrook Shire Council asking for a bridge over the Toolern Creek and roadworks near the Exford Estate.[1] Minns, a farmer, resided in Alfred Road, on the northern side of the Creek. The Exford Estate, formerly part of the large holdings of the Staughton family, had been purchased by the Closer Settlement Board in 1906 and subdivided into 46 allotments.[2] A crossing was provided by a ford, situated about 100 metres downstream from the site of the present bridge, but it entailed a very awkward 180 degree bend in the road.[3] A safe and permanent crossing was needed to give farmers access to the Melton township and railway station. Braybrook Council readily agreed to consider Minns' request and called a meeting between representatives of the Melton Shire, North Riding councillors of the Braybrook Shire, and other interested parties, presumably including the Closer Settlement Board. The Board, always keen to encourage settlement of its estates, supported the work. In August the Braybrook Shire Engineer, W. J. Andrew, was instructed to prepare plans and specifications for the bridge and roadworks, at the request of the Closer Settlement Board. Melton Council agreed to contribute £50 to the cost. [4]

Tenders were called the following February.[5] Only two tenders were received, but even the lower one from the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. at £442 was above Andrew's estimate of £400 for the bridge. The Company agreed to make some omissions, reducing their tender to £412, although there do not seem to have been any alterations to the original bridge design.[6] Perhaps the omissions related to the approach work.

There was still a shortfall in the finances. The Board would not sanction the work without Melton Shire contributing the same as Braybrook. Melton gave another £20 from its allocation for Ballarat Road expenditure, and £30 was collected from the local residents.[7] Meanwhile, Braybrook Council decided that the Engineer was to proceed with the bridge construction. The Company was anxious to make a start before the wet weather, so construction began in May, before the necessary formalities were concluded. By the time the contract was signed on 30 June, the bridge was almost finished. The final inspection was made on 4 August 1913, but there is no mention in the Council minutes of a test being carried out, as was usual practice, or of an official opening.[8]

Although the bridge has remained on the fringe of Melton following the town's suburban and industrial expansion of the 1980s and '90s, it has had some heavy use, particularly by heavily laden vehicles on route to the municipal tip. The heavy loads have caused shear cracking of the concrete beams. A Council inspection of the bridge in 1982 found it in poor condition and a 5 ton limit was imposed, but no repairs appear to have been made at that stage. Discussion regarding alternative crossings came to nothing.[9] Following a Vic Roads inspection in 1993, major repairs were recommended. The repairs included the placement of a reinforced concrete overlay 80 millimetres thick on the deck, extensive patching of cracks and the replacement of the old timber handrail with steel guardrails. These were carried out by Structural Systems Ltd in 1995.[10]

  1. Shire of Braybrook, Council Minute Book, VPRS 1700, 10 June 1912.
  2. Starr, J., Melton: Plains of Promise, Melton, 1985; Victorian Year Book, 1906 & 1910. Also information supplied by Gail Chambers of the Melton Historical Society.
  3. Engineering Report, 24 September 1984, Shire of Melton, Street File, Bridge Road.
  4. Shire of Melton, Council Minutes, 29 November 1912; Braybrook Council Minutes 10 June 1912.
  5. Age 1 February 1913.
  6. Braybrook Council Minutes, 10 February 1913; Company records Box 89 File 924.
  7. Braybrook Council Minutes, 10 March, 14 April, 12 May 1913; Melton Council Minutes, 17 March 1913.
  8. Braybrook Council Minutes 10 March 1913, Company records.
  9. Engineering Report 24 September 1984.
  10. Vic Roads Inspection Report No 97281, 1993 and Council Reports, Shire of Melton, Street File, Bridge Road.

Significance.

Melton Bridge is a typical example of the smaller country bridges designed and built by John Monash and the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. just prior to World War I. As a fine intact example, it demonstrates the characteristics of Monash's functionalist approach to bridge-building in reinforced concrete as the most economical way of providing a permanent structure on country roads. The bridge has historical significance for its association with closer settlement in the Melton district.

The assistance of Mrs Gail Chambers of the Melton Historical Society in researching this bridge is gratefully acknowledged.

Lesley Alves 1998.

Description and Technical Analysis.

This country bridges crosses a deep gully with two 30 foot (9.14 metre) spans, measured from centre of pier to face of abutment. Three girders have been used to make an overall width of 12 feet (3.66 m). Shear reinforcement is provided over the whole span of the main girders. The two slender pier columns support the outer main girders and a cross girder supports the middle main girder. The columns are linked by a transom about half way up, and sit on a strip footing. The pared down functional design displayed here was used in a number of Monash's later country bridges, including those he built in the Rutherglen district (q.v.).

Although the northern approaches have been built up by a long embankment, the bridge slopes upwards to the high southern bank, where the abutment is a small concrete block resting on the natural rock wall formation of the creek's bank. The northern abutment is a three panel wall of similar design to that used at Holden Bridge, with a central panel of only 6 inches (152mm) thickness. The original timber handrailing has been replaced by metal guardrails.


MORNINGTON PENINSULA: Hearne's Bridge.

Location:Brokil Creek, Nepean Highway, Mt Martha, Melway 151 C10.
Municipality:Shire of Mornington Peninsula, formerly Shire of Flinders.
Description:Girder: 1 × 6.4 metre span.
Dates:Tender April 1914, completed July 1914.
Status (1998):Still, in use, widened.
Heritage Listing (1998):Nil.

History.

The Country Roads Board, formed in March 1913 to take responsibility for main roads, replaced the Public Works Department as the government agency that assisted municipal councils with their capital works on roads and bridges. While the Department had generally favoured permanent materials such as reinforced concrete, the Board made it clear from the start that it actively encouraged the use of reinforced concrete amongst councils, providing, in the early years at least, more generous funding.[1] From this time it could be said that reinforced concrete began to be accepted as the standard bridge-building material in Victoria for short to medium spans. (Though timber bridges continued to be built throughout Victoria for many more years). Hearne's Bridge, built for the Shire of Flinders on one of the newly declared main roads, was one of the first reinforced concrete bridges built under the auspices of the Country Roads Board, and is the earliest extant example.

The Board's Chairman, William Calder and board member, W. T. B. McCormack, were well aware of the work of the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. throughout the state, and it was McCormack, a former Public Works Department Engineer of Roads and Bridges, who drew the Company's attention to the call for tenders for Hearne's Bridge in April 1914.[2] Monash and his staff quickly established a good working relationship with the Board. They prepared drawings and specifications in the usual manner,[3] and their tender of £270 was accepted by the Flinders Council.[4] However the Board wanted a stronger and better looking bridge. Fairway told Calder and McCormack that his firm was "accustomed to cutting to the bone because Councils always inclined to timber". Calder implied that this was going to change. The "better looking" bridge was to have more elaborate handrails than the standard timber used in country bridges. A design showing concrete standards at each corner, supporting wrought iron rails, was drawn up in the Company's office. Additional reinforcing was also agreed upon.[5] Construction commenced in early June under the supervision of Shire Engineer Saxil Tuxen, and the bridge was completed at the end of July at a final cost of £315.[6] The records are silent on the matter of a test or opening.

The bridge was widened in 1953.[7] The construction of the Mornington Peninsula Freeway in the late 1980s has greatly reduced the traffic on the Nepean Highway and the pressure on the bridge, probably allowing it to remain in use with a 5 tonne limit.

  1. Country Roads Board, Annual Report, 1914, p.65.
  2. Note from McCormack 18 April 1914, Company records, Box 94 File 973.
  3. Drawing dated 21/4/14 John Thomas collection.
  4. Mornington Standard, 2 May 1914.
  5. Company records, drawing dated 9/6/14 John Thomas collection.
  6. Company records.
  7. Information supplied by Vic Roads.

Significance.

Hearne's Bridge has historical significance as the first reinforced concrete bridge built by a municipality under the auspices of the Country Roads Board. Although it has the characteristics typical of the single span bridges built by the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. immediately prior to World War 1, it has the improved design standards adopted by the Board from its inception. The significance of the bridge is reduced by the fact that substantial alterations have concealed much of the original structure.

Lesley Alves 1998.

Description and Technical Analysis.

This small country bridge has a single span of 21 feet (6.40 m) clear with four girders. Shear reinforcement covers the full length of the girders. The front faces of the abutments are supported on strip footings. The bridge has been widened from the original roadway of 21 feet 6 inches (6.55 m). The original iron handrailing and its supporting concrete standards have been removed and replaced by steel guardrails.


MURRINDINDI: Cremona Bridge.

Location:Goulburn River, Cremona Estate, Cathkin, VR Map 62 B4.
Municipality:Shire of Murrindindi, formerly Shire of Alexandra built for the Closer Settlement Board.
Description:Girder: 5 × 11.4 metre span girder.
Dates:Tender December 1912, tested October 1913.
Status (1998):Standing, in ruins.
Heritage Listing (1998):Nil.

Cremona Bridge. Left side: half-elevation; right side: half longitudinal cross-section showing reinforcement. The vulnerability of the abutments as originally dsigned is evident. (Simplified extract from a drawing in the J Thomas Collection signed by Monash on 26 February 1913.)

History.

The Cremona Estate, acquired by the Closer Settlement Board and subdivided into seven allotments in 1911[1], offered settlers rich soil for agriculture, but it had two large drawbacks which deterred buyers. The land, situated on the flood plain in a bend in the Goulburn River, was subject to frequent inundation, and it was isolated from Cathkin township and railway station by the lack of a river crossing. The flood problem was expected to be remedied when the planned Sugarloaf irrigation scheme was built. The communication problem was to be addressed by the building of a bridge and a new road to link the Estate directly with the Cathkin railway station.[2]

It is quite possible that Monash received a tip-off about the proposed bridge from his former partner J.T.N. Anderson, who had recently resigned as Alexandra Shire Engineer and still resided in the vicinity.[3] It seems Monash found out about the job just in time to examine the proposed site before tenders were called on 11 December 1912.[4] The Closer Settlement Board was responsible for providing the bridge, and it was a remarkably straightforward decision by the Board to award the contract to the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. at £1868 including the approaches. Forestry being a major industry in the Alexandra district, the traditional bridge-building material was wood. Although there seems to have been some criticism, any council opposition to the introduction of reinforced concrete was not aired in public, probably because Council did not have to find the money for the bridge. Nevertheless, while the Alexandra Shire Council welcomed closer settlement, they did not seem very confident about Cremona Estate's prospects, and this bridge must have seemed an awful extravagance for only seven prospective ratepayers.[5]

Cecil Short, the new Shire Engineer, was responsible for supervising construction. As the Company was not usually interested in doing the approach work, Lynch subcontracted it to local contractor, J.F. Webb, who had been a rival tenderer.[6] If the negotiation stage had been easy, things changed when construction started in March 1913. Lynch found it difficult to get supplies in such a scattered district, and the material for the embankments that he expected to find near the site was two miles away and much more costly to cart. Monash persuaded Short to allow the embankments to be built of earth rather than stone, with just a small layer of stone on top. Difficulties were also experienced with the south abutment and wing walls, which had to be redesigned and rebuilt using more cement. Although hair cracks appeared in the wing wall after the repairs, the bridge was satisfactorily tested on 27 October 1913.[7]

University of Melbourne Archives BWP/23990
Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co.

More Historic images of this bridge can be found in the University of Melbourne Archives Image Collection UMAIC. Search under Record ID for UMA/I/6518 to UMA/I/6521. Any enquiries to UMA regarding these images should quote Location Numbers BWP/23983, 23986, 23989, and 23990 respectively. Further images held by UMA complete the range of Location Numbers from BWP/23981 to 23991. These show the site before and during construction, and a crack in a wing wall.

The Shire President, Cr Edwards intended to make the test a "great public function", however arrangements made with the traction engine owner did not allow sufficient time for him to invite councillors from neighbouring shires. Cr Edwards was very proud of having such new technology in his Shire. As usual, most of the credit went to the Shire Engineer. He congratulated Short, telling him that the bridge would be his "monument of efficiency in a far off time".[8] But this was not be.

On the day the bridge opening was reported there was also a report of the Government's intention to defer the Sugarloaf Scheme.[9] The Sugarloaf Dam, now known as Eildon, was not completed until the early 1920s. The Cremona Closer Settlement Estate was never a success, and by the 1920s the seven allotments had reverted to one farm.[10] The Goulburn's frequent floods scoured the banks and undermined the inadequate abutment foundations. Maintenance to the bridge was probably neglected because of its relative unimportance. According to Jones, Cremona Bridge finally collapsed during the great flood of 1934, although this was not mentioned in the reports of flood damage in the Shire.[11]

  1. Victorian Year Book, 1913.
  2. Alexandra & Yea Standard, 4 July 1913.
  3. Ibid., 8 November 1912.
  4. Company records, Box 93 File 963, note 9 December 1912; Standard, 6 December 1912, tender invited Age, 11 December 1912.
  5. Remarks made by the Shire President at the opening of the bridge suggests that there was some criticism of the bridge, but no discussion appears in the pages of the Standard in the months leading up to the tender. The Company was notified that it had won the tender on 20 December, Company records.
  6. Correspondence between Monash, Short and Lynch during April and May 1913, Company records.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Standard 31 October 1913.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Victorian Year Book, 1922.
  11. Jones, G.P.& N.E., Molesworth 1924-1994, 1994, p.32; Standard, 7 December 1934.

Significance.

Cremona Bridge is an example of a large reinforced concrete girder bridge designed and built by John Monash and the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co., and ranks third in length of the few remaining in Victoria. In length of spans it ranks fourth in this group. In its ruined state it has unusual significance as a reminder of the hazards of innovative technology and the difficulty of designing bridges to withstand the frequent floods of the Goulburn River. It also has historical significance for its association with closer settlement in the Molesworth district, and it symbolises a failed closer settlement estate.

Description and Technical Analysis.

This large bridge is in ruins because of inadequate abutments. The bridge has five spans with three girders. The internal spans measure 37 feet 6 inches (11.4 m) from centre to centres of piers and the outer spans 36 feet 9 inches from centre of pier to face of abutment. In terms of overall length this bridge is only exceeded by Janevale and Benalla Bridges, and its spans are amongst the longest found in Monash girder bridges. The shear reinforcing covers almost the whole girder, apart from a gap of about one metre in the middle of the span. The two columns of the piers are joined by a reinforced concrete curtain wall and crosshead in the same manner as the bridges at Shepparton (replaced) and Strathallan built at the same time. Each column is firmly founded on four reinforced concrete piles, which have withstood the Goulburn's frequent floodings. The piers have cutwaters on the upstream sides. The abutments shown on the original drawings were very shallow, being founded at the top of a steep bank of earth and are no longer in evidence, due to scouring of the banks. The timber handrailing is gone with only the standards remaining.

Photo c1997 showing collapsed end spans


SOUTH GIPPSLAND: Kardella Bridge.

Location:Coalition Creek, Kardella Road, Kardella, VR Map 96 G8.
Municipality:Shire of South Gippsland, formerly Shire of Poowong and Jeetho.
Description:Girder: 1 × 6.1 metre clear span.
Dates:Tender Jan 1914, completed April 1914.
Status (1998):Standing, bypassed.
Heritage Listing (1998):Nil.

A Historic image of this bridge can be found in the University of Melbourne Archives Image Collection UMAIC. Search under Record ID for UMA/I/6599. Any enquiries to UMA regarding this image should quote Location Number BWP/24086. There is another UMA image, not in UMAIC, with Location Number BWP/24085.

History.

By 1914 it was becoming routine for municipalities to consider reinforced concrete when building bridges, encouraged by the newly established Country Roads Board, which had a strong preference for permanent materials.[1] When the old timber bridge in the dairying district of Kardella needed replacing, the Engineer for the Shire of Poowong and Jeetho, A. B. A'Beckett, was easily able to convince his council that it would be better to spend £350 or £400 on a reinforced concrete bridge that would require no further attention, than to spend £250 on a timber bridge that would have to be renewed in twenty years. Tenders were called for a reinforced concrete bridge late in December 1913. As it turned out, the tender accepted from the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. at £298 was little more than the expected cost of a timber bridge.[2] As was usual practice, the bridge design was drawn up by the Company's engineers, J.A. Laing in this case, based on the plan of the cross section of the creek provided by the Shire Engineer.[3]

Work commenced early in March, and the bridge was completed by the end of April, supervised by the Shire's new Assistant Engineer, C. A. Mickle. No reports of any test have been found, and as light traffic was using it before completion,[4] it is probable that a test was not considered necessary for such a small routine job.

During construction the foreman for the job, J. H. Barratt, was confronted with a small industrial crisis when the local workmen demanded a pay rise from eight shillings to nine shillings and sixpence per day, threatening to walk off the job. It was too small a job to make a stand, so Barratt was instructed to make the best terms he could. Barratt had been well schooled in Monash's methods of dealing with people. He resolved the situation by telling the men that the Company would find it more profitable to send their own experts out, but they chose local men to give them the opportunity to learn something on the job. Obviously reinforced concrete work was still new to many labourers. The men agreed to being paid according to their ability, ranging from the rate demanded to the eight shillings originally offered. In typical style Monash expressed his approval of Barratt's work with a brief note, "very satisfactorily handled".[5] Barratt later went into business with one of the local men working on the bridge, Walter Bryden.[6] In competition with the Company, Barratt & Bryden secured contracts for two bridges at Rutherglen in 1915.[7]

Kardella Bridge was decommissioned when the road was deviated in 1970, to be replaced by a steel culvert. The old bridge stands on the disused part of the road and is used as a stock crossing by an adjoining landholder.[8]

  1. Country Roads Board Annual Report, 1914, p.65.
  2. Great Southern Advocate, 24 December 1913, 22 January 1914.
  3. Correspondence 12 February 1915 to Shire, Letterbook, Company records.
  4. Advocate, 26 February, 23 April 1914.
  5. Foreman's reports, Company records Box 95 File 985.
  6. Information supplied by Raymond Walls, former Korumburra Shire Engineer, and Wilma Walls 9 June 1997.
  7. Country Roads Board Annual Report 1915, p 51.
  8. Walls.

Significance.

Kardella Bridge is a typical example of the small single span bridges designed and built in country districts by John Monash and the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. just prior to World War 1. It is in poor condition and no longer in use.

Lesley Alves 1998.

Description and Technical Analysis.

This small country bridge is typical of the single span bridges built by Monash just before World War 1. It has a single clear span of 20 feet (6.10 m) and is 16 feet wide (4.88 m), with four girders. Shear reinforcement covers the whole span. The abutments are of the column-and-wall type resting on a strip footing. The bridge is no longer in use as the road has been diverted. It is in poor condition and barely visible in a paddock beside the road.


SOUTH GIPPSLAND: Outtrim Bridge.

Location:Powlett River, Outtrim Leongatha Road, Outtrim, VR Map 96 E10.
Municipality:Shire of South Gippsland, formerly Shire of Poowong and Jeetho.
Description:Girder: 1 × 6.1 metre clear span.
Dates:Tender March 1914, completed May 1914.
Status (1998):Still in use.
Heritage Listing (1998):Nil.

A historic image of the previous, timber, bridge can be found in the University of Melbourne Archives Image Collection UMAIC. Search under Record ID for UMA/I/6597. Any enquiries to UMA regarding this image should quote Location Number BWP/24082.

History.

The contract to build Outtrim Bridge was secured in March 1914, immediately following the contract for the nearby Kardella Bridge.[1] In this case, however, alternative tenders were called for timber and reinforced concrete by the Shire of Poowong and Jeetho.[2] It seems strange that having secured a cheap permanent bridge at Kardella, Council should consider a timber bridge. Perhaps Council perceived a possibility of an even cheaper bridge. Perhaps also, durability was not so important at Outtrim, given its transient nature as a mining town, compared with the more settled farming community at Kardella.[3] In any case, the tender of the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co., being only £176, was accepted. The bridge is practically identical in design and dimensions to Kardella Bridge, except that it was built considerably lower over the stream. Obviously the cheaper price took into account the fact that the Company already had men and equipment handy to the district, as well as the reduced materials needed for the shallower abutments, however the price also included a lower profit margin.[4]

The Company moved its team of men directly from Kardella to Outtrim on 24 April, and the bridge was completed in mid May 1914.[5] As usual, the bridge was designed and guaranteed to withstand the weight of a 16 ton traction engine,[6] but no record of a test has been found.

The bridge is still in use, although there are long term plans for its replacement.[7]

  1. Company records Box 95 File 984.
  2. Correspondence 12 February 1915 to Shire, Letter Book, Company records.
  3. An Age report reprinted in the Great Southern Advocate, 18 June 1914, suggests that the Outtrim township was destined for extinction when miners moved to the Jumbunna mine. Although later reports in the Advocate show that this was an exaggeration, it suggests the transient nature of a mining community.
  4. Company records, File 984; drawings John Thomas collection.
  5. Company records.
  6. Correspondence to Shire, 12 February 1915, Company records.
  7. Verbal communication from Mr Keith Simcock, South Gippsland Shire, September 1996.

Significance.

Outtrim Bridge is a typical example of the small single span bridges designed and built in country districts by John Monash and the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. just prior to World War 1.

Lesley Alves 1998.

Description and Technical Analysis.

A companion to Kardella Bridge, this bridge with its single clear span of 20 feet (6.10 m) is 16 feet (4.88 m) wide. Shear reinforcement covers the whole span. The abutments are of the column-and-wall type resting on a strip footing. The original galvanised pipe handrailing has been replaced by steel guardrails.


STONNINGTON: Glenferrie Road Bridge.

Location:Gardiner's Creek, Glenferrie Road, Malvern, Melway 59 D3.
Municipality:City of Stonnington, formerly City of Malvern.
Description:Widening of an existing arch bridge by addition of 3 girders of 7.6 m clear span, 8.5 m centre to centre of supports.
Dates:Tender February 1912, completed June 1912.
Status (1998):Still in use.
Heritage Listing (1998):Nil.

Glenferrie Road Bridge c 1997 overshadowed by the modern tollway.

Historic images of work on the bridge are held by University of Melbourne Archives: UMA Location Numbers NN/773 and 774, and GPNB/1204 to 1206.

History.

The Prahran-Malvern Tramway Trust opened its first lines in May 1910, and rapidly expanded its network throughout the district.[1] In 1911 at least three more tramways were proposed through the municipality of Malvern, which in June celebrated its elevation to city status. One of the proposed tramlines was to be laid along Glenferrie Road to link Malvern and Hawthorn across Gardiner's Creek. To do this it was first necessary to widen the old brick bridge. After gaining agreement from Hawthorn Council, Malvern City Council instructed its Engineer, E. F. Gilchrist, to draw up plans and specifications for the bridge widening, which was expected to cost £1000.[2] Tenders were called in February 1912, attracting five responses, all of them well above £1000. By far the cheapest tender was that of the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co., at £1394 to their own design and specifications.[3]

Before tendering, Monash had examined Gilchrist's drawing for a brick addition and contacted him to discuss an alternative. Although no record of the discussion has survived, it is clear that Monash wished to avoid building an arch bridge, even though an arch was obviously expected by the Council. The design Monash proposed preserved the arch appearance without the "awkward and intense resultant arch thrusts."[4] Ten years earlier the obvious design for the site would have been a Monier arch, but Monash now wished to abandon the Monier arch with its attendant problems, in favour of the girder. Monash only built one more Monier arch bridge, and that was at Porepunkah (q.v.) a year later at the insistence of the local shire engineer. Monash called the design for the Glenferrie addition a "continuous arched girder",[5] and was able to convince Gilchrist that it was an acceptable alternative to the arch, assisted, no doubt, by the low price compared with the brick design tenders. The Company's tender was accepted on the recommendation of the Engineer. Work commenced in March and the bridge was completed on time at the end of June.[6]

  1. Priestley, S., The Victorians: Making Their Mark, Melbourne, 1984, p.153.
  2. City of Malvern Council Minutes, VPRS 1719 U9, 12 June, 3 July, 17 July, 1 November, 18 December 1911.
  3. City of Malvern, Public Works Committee Minutes, VPRS 1713 U4, 14 February, 28 February 1912.
  4. Company records, Box 85, File 882, particularly letter Monash to Gilchrist 12 February 1912.
  5. Company records.
  6. Council Minutes, 4 March 1912; City of Malvern Contract Register; VPRS 1712 U3, Company records.

Significance.

Glenferrie Road Bridge is an unusual combination of a traditional brick arch bridge with a reinforced concrete addition designed and built by John Monash and the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. It demonstrates a rare and innovative use of reinforced concrete girders to emulate the traditional arch. The bridge is also associated with the early development of the local tram system.

Lesley Alves 1998.

Description and Technical Analysis.

Glenferrie Road Bridge was originally a brick arch bridge of three spans running almost due north-south. It was widened on its west side by the addition of a parallel structure to provide about 11 feet extra road width (3.35 m) and a 10-foot wide footpath. The new structure consists of two continuous reinforced concrete main girders with arched soffits, also having three spans. The outer girder is supported on new abutments and on two single columns with small footings based on rock. The inner girder runs over the top of the existing brick arches and rests on the old abutments and piers. The new abutments appear to have been built up in brick on top of the western wing walls of the old bridge, which projected straight out in line with the old abutments. (The available drawings are not completely clear on this point.) The two new main girders carry cross girders which support the deck slab. These are spaced at 5 foot 6 inch centres (1.68 m) in the outer spans and 5'-71/4" in the middle span. Neither the main girders nor the cross girders have shear reinforcing at mid-span. The T-beams, running across the width of the road and formed by the slab and cross-girders, are unusual because the deck slab is kinked upwards from road level to footpath level producing a kink in the compression flange of the beam. The extension was not designed to support the tram lines, which were laid on the original brick part of the bridge. The extension is an innovative attempt to retain the arch appearance while using reinforced girder technology. What now appears as the 'spandrel wall' of a Monier arch is actually the outer haunched girder, supported by single column piers. The spandrel walls are finished with rough cast cement rendering to enhance the effect. The parapet is brick with a stone coping.


YARRA RANGES: Yeringberg Bridge.

Location:Yeringberg Creek, Maroondah Highway, Yering, Melway 277 B8.
Municipality:Shire of Yarra Ranges, formerly Shire of Lilydale built for the Country Roads Board.
Description:Girder, 2 × 5.5 metre spans.
Dates:Tenders July 1914, completed November 1914.
Status (1998):Still in use, widened.
Heritage Listing (1998):Nil.

A historic image of the previous, timber, bridge can be found in the University of Melbourne Archives Image Collection UMAIC. Search under Record ID for UMA/I/6623. Any enquiries to UMA regarding this image should quote Location Number BWP/24125.

History.

The first duty of the Country Roads Board, formed in March 1913 to control the State's main roads and their bridges, was to define the main roads and determine priorities for works. The Board divided the state into districts and spent a year inspecting the state's roads. First priority was given to the Gippsland District, which extended eastwards from Whittlesea. One of the early stretches of road to be proclaimed a main road was the Lilydale to Healesville Road in the Gippsland District.[1] Work, which began on the road in 1914, included the construction of two small bridge across Yeringberg and Stringybark Creeks. The Board had made clear its preference for permanent materials such as steel and reinforced concrete for bridge building.[2] Alternative tenders for steel girder or reinforced concrete bridges were called on 24 July 1914. Specifications were prepared by the Board. Having built Hearne's Bridge for the Shire of Flinders under the auspices of the Board, the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. was familiar with the Board's requirements. The designs submitted had a more elaborate handrail than was usually required by Shires for small country bridges, with reinforced concrete handrail pillars anchored into the wing walls. Designs similar to these were adopted by the Board as standard two years later.[3]

On 2 August Monash, conscious of the impending strife in Europe, instructed J. A. Laing, who drew up the plans and prepared the tender, to write in red ink: "This tender is conditional upon the preservation of normal trade conditions." Two days later war was declared in Europe. The Company's tender for the Yeringberg Bridge at £424 was successful and work commenced in October. Before the bridge was completed at the end of November, Monash had left to take command of the 4th Infantry Brigade AIF.[4]

This small bridge attracted little public comment in the local district, except from a Lilydale Shire Councillor who said that a Monier pipe would have been sufficient rather than a £420 bridge.[5] This was the first reinforced concrete bridge constructed for the Board.[6] The bridge was widened in 1936 and again in 1955.[7]

  1. Country Roads Board Annual Report, 1914, Anderson, W.K., Roads for the People, Vic Roads, 1994
  2. Annual Report, 1914, p.65.
  3. Annual Report, 1916, Appendix H.
  4. Monash memo 2 August, Box 98 File 1004; Monash mentioned in a note dated 2 November that he was about to go into active service, Letterbook 1914-15, Company records; Serle, p.205.
  5. File 1004; Argus, 23 October 1914.
  6. The 1915 Annual Report, p.19 lists six bridges built under direct supervision of the Board, two of reinforced concrete, Yeringberg and Stringybark Creek (qv.).
  7. Information supplied by Vic Roads.

Significance.

Yeringberg Bridge has historical significance as one of the first bridges built under the direct supervision of the Country Roads Board, the first ever in reinforced concrete. It is on one of the earliest proclaimed main roads in Victoria. As one of the last bridges designed under the personal supervision of John Monash, it provides a direct link between the pioneering work of Monash and the beginnings of the Country Roads Board. The bridge is a representative example of the small country bridges designed and built by Monash prior to the World War 1 and also demonstrates the technology as adopted and improved by the Country Roads Board. The bridge has been widened on two occasions, and in its altered form demonstrates three eras of bridge construction.

Lesley Alves 1998.

Description and Technical Analysis.

The original structure was a small country bridge 18 feet (5.49 m) wide with two spans measuring 18 feet (5.49 m) from centre of pier to face of abutment. There were four girders, reinforced against shear for the full length. The piers consisted of two columns placed between the inner and outer girders so that the cross-girder cantilevered to support the outer girder. The columns are founded on truncated pyramid footings. The abutments are the wall-and-column type. The original reinforced concrete pillars anchored to the wing wall and the reinforced concrete standards used to support the wrought iron railings have been removed to make way for widening on both sides. The bridge has been widened twice. On the first occasion a single additional line of columns and in-situ T-girders was placed each side, to provide a small increase in width. On the second occasion in 1955 small portal frames were added in line with the cross-girders to extend the width of the piers on each side. Their inner columns were integrated with the added columns of the first widening. These frames support three lines of precast inverted-U section beams on each side.


YARRA RANGES: Stringybark Creek Bridge.

Location:Stringybark Creek, Maroondah Highway, near Yering, Melway 281 J2.
Municipality:Shire of Yarra Ranges, formerly Shire of Lilydale built for Country Roads Board.
Description:Girder: 2 × 8.8 metre spans.
Dates:Tender July 1914, completed May 1915.
Status (1998):Still in use, widened.
Heritage Listing (1998):Nil.

Photo c.1997.

In the photograph above, the girders of the original RCMPC bridge are the one passing straight over the camera, plus the three girders to the left of it. The wide right-hand column, and the two on the far left, are later additions, as are their associated girders.

History.

This is the second reinforced concrete bridge built by the Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co. under the direct supervision of the Country Roads Board.[1] Tenders for a steel girder or reinforced concrete bridge were first called at the same time as for the Yeringberg Bridge on 24 July 1914. The company submitted a tender of £690 and plan in August, and was advised by the Board that it was not successful. There is no record of the successful tenderer, if indeed the tender was awarded. In January 1915 tenders were again invited, and the Company submitted a tender for £704, but reduced to £671 by omission of ornament. The economies were most likely made necessary by the war. The tender was accepted, and the bridge was completed in May 1915.[2]

The bridge was widened in 1936 and again in 1955.[3]

  1. Country Roads Board, Annual Report, 1915, p.19.
  2. Company records Box 100 File 1016.
  3. Information supplied by Vic Roads.

Significance.

Stringybark Creek Bridge is one of a pair with Yeringberg Bridge, and the second reinforced concrete bridge constructed under the direct supervision of the Country Roads Board. It is on one of the earliest proclaimed main roads in Victoria. The bridge is typical of the small country bridge designs developed by Monash prior to the World War 1 and demonstrates the technology as adopted and improved by the Country Roads Board. The bridge has been widened on two occasions, thus showing three eras of bridge construction.

Lesley Alves 1998.

Description and Technical Analysis.

This bridge is almost identical with the Yeringberg Bridge, but considerably larger, with two spans of 28 feet 9 inches (8.84 m) from centre of pier to face of abutment, and on a slight skew of 16 degrees. The original bridge had four girders, and a total width of 19 feet 4 inches (5.89 m). The shear reinforcement covers the full length of the main girders. The piers consisted of two columns placed between the inner and outer girders so that the cross-girder cantilevers supported the outer girder. The columns have truncated pyramid footings. The abutments are of the wall-and-column type. Reinforced concrete handrail pillars at each corner and at the approaches were anchored to the wing wall, while reinforced concrete standards were used to support the wrought iron railings. These have been removed during widening and replaced by concrete posts and rails. Widening has been carried out in a similar fashion to that at Yeringberg (q.v) except that two precast I-beams were used on each side for the 1955 widening.