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Bre’s lifting span bridge to re-live its glory days


Brewarrina’s Economic Development Manager Fran Carter on Bre’s historic lifting span bridge with Brewarrina Shire Council General Manager David Kirby. Photo TWH

The old Brewarrina Bridge. Photo TWH

Brewarrina will have a major tourism drawcard with works funded to restore the old lift span bridge across the Barwon.

Seven hundred thousand dollars has been allocated by the council, which will now seek additional financial support for the restoration through the State Heritage department and Transport for NSW.

The lifting span bridges were built throughout the Barwon-Darling river to allow paddle steamers through during times of high flow in the river.

Brewarrina Council General Manager, David Kirby, said restoring the bridge so that it was mechanically sound, and the lifting mechanism was operational would mean a huge tourism drawcard for Bre.

“The lift span bridge closed officially in 2002 after it was operational for more than 120 years,” he said.

“The bridge itself is in good order, in particular the timber framework and trusses. Transport for NSW has looked after the bridge which has been used as a walkway from Barwon Four, but we want to get it to lift again as it was originally designed to do.

“The only issue is re-installing the gearing for the bridge and replacing the counterweights in the columns. The only reason it stopped lifting was that those mechanisms were cracked, and you can look up into the columns and see where they are damaged.

“It’s a major project, but structurally the bridge is sound, so to be able to get it to lift again would mean it would be a major tourist attraction.

“We need to get those lifting mechanisms in place and re-certified so that it could be a demonstration of what is a unique engineering feat from when it was built in the 1880s.

“When these bridges were first built the engineers designed them to hold the biggest loads, which were horse drawn carts and bullocks trains carrying wool. […]

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