Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Timber Bridges

Jayne writes a mean blog called Our Great Southern Land. If you are at all interested in Australian history or specifically Victoria's, then it surely ought to be on your must read list. I hasten to add that there is plenty of humour in it too.

Try this post out for a sample and click at the bottom to have a squiz at an old timber trestle bridge built to carry trains across some swampy land.

Daniel recently travelled over a very famous one in the Dandenong Ranges.

There is one at Kilcunda in South Gippsland too. The road used to go under this trestle, but I have a feeling it no longer does. (The question must be surely, how does the road get from one side to the other?)

There is even one on one of our suburban rail lines.

We had our own trestle bridge, right in our back yard. Well not quite. It was deep in the bush behind our farm at the foot of the Baw Baw mountain range. We did not know about it, but a school friend who was a neighbour told me about it and I asked him to show me where it was. It was a decent ramble in the bush to get to it, but sure enough, there it was, intact, but only just. I would guess that it would have completely collapsed into the creek below by now. It looked so rickety, I was too afraid to climb onto it.

Now, we did not live on the old express line to Sydney via the mountains. It was a timber tram bridge. I think cut timber was loaded onto a rail carriage of sorts and transported along timber tracks to a point for collection, possibly collected by bullocks. I don't know how the tram was powered. Perhaps it was pulled by bullocks too.

We also found some areas levelled into the side of hills where tracks would have run around a hill. Obviously it would never go up or down a steep hill, but always by the contours. These were not to be confused with water races cut into the side of the hills for use by goldminers. They were plentiful in the bush and more of a ditch with a small side embankment cut into the side of the hills. I ought to do some proper research about these timber trestle bridges in the bush. For the moment I will just lament the lack of digital cameras in the nineteen sixties.


  1. wow very interesting read..tnxx Andrew!


  2. Awesome stuff Andrew..... my firend's mum's farm is to the right of the Kilkunda picture..she runs 88 head of cattle all by her own self....and that is alot of work!!

  3. Thanks for the shout out Andrew :)

  4. Glad you read it Keshi.

    Dairy cows Cazzie? Yes they would be a bit of work. What sort of cows?

    You clearly put a lot of work in Jayne. I would call it palatable history.

  5. I love exploring old rail lines. At Noojee, not far from your old stomping ground there is a very large timber trestle that is now part of a rail trail. Another trestle I've seen is at Pyalong in central Victoria, still there about 40 years after the rail line closed.

  6. Don't recall it Ben, but I do recall the Noojee pub with its animals carved out of tree ferns. Wait, I do remember a very tall trestle bridge near Noojee. Not in Noojee, just out of it I think.

  7. The cows were Friesian (?spellcheck) and also some jersey (my fav :) )

  8. Yes that's the one.

  9. I love Jersey cows too Cazzie. They are so gentle. Freisans (no better at spelling than you) are a bit rambunctious (spelling is worse now. We only ever had one Freisan, Maggie, and she could plough through any fence, including the house fence.

  10. So the question arises Ben, what was that bridge for?