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Barham-Koondrook Lift Bridge.
Brief account.

2015 photo by Chris Miller showing the lift span, river piers, and adjacent truss spans.

Photo courtesy of Chris Miller 2015.

Historic images relating to this bridge may be found in the University of Melbourne Archives Image Collection UMAIC. Search under Record ID for UMA/I/6265, 6269, 6270, 6271, and 6590. Any enquiries to UMA regarding these images should quote Location Numbers BWP/23836, 23841, 23843, 23844 and 23845 respectively. Further images held by UMA have Location Numbers BWP/23837 to 23840 and BWP/23842.

This bridge was designed by the NSW Public Works Department but was financed jointly by the NSW and Victorian governments. In June 1902 Monash tendered for construction, with the metalwork to be fabricated by Cowley's Ironworks of Ballarat. The governments delayed acceptance of the tender until late in September. Monash declared he would now be unable to complete the river work in summer and would have to cater for the winter floods at greater cost than he had estimated. His tender was withdrawn, and new tenders were called in December. Monash regained the contract at a somewhat higher price, but still hoped to avoid the floods. Unfortunately, an upsurge of water through the base of a cofferdam delayed proceedings and unusually heavy winter rains set in early, so that for weeks after June 1903 the high water level prevented access to the river work. There were delays in obtaining supplies of iron and steel from the UK, delays in fabrication, and problems in enticing good tradesmen to leave Melbourne where work was booming. As a result the firm made a loss on the project. The bridge was unofficially opened by a Mrs Eagle. The official ceremony took place in October 1904. As the lift span was lowered, the crowd surged forward and jumped on to it while it was still suspended from the lifting cables. A spur wheel was damaged and navigation on the river was blocked, at the height of the timber and wool season, until a new wheel could be fabricated and fitted.

View along the bridge, through the lift span. The lift span is raised, with 4 men posing on it. A crowd of dignitaries is spread across the end of the truss span.

Opening Ceremony. Monash, standing with thumbs hooked in waistcoat, can be seen just to the right of the rear right-hand tower. Photo: Reinforced Concrete & Monier Pipe Construction Co Collection, University of Melbourne Archives, BWP/23843.

Detailed Account

A lengthy and detailed account of Monash's trials and tribulations related to the Barham-Koondrook Bridge is provided on a separate page. It includes material on finance, financial management, management of personnel, professional relationships, and the availability of labour, as well as technical matter. [Link.]

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