Burnett Bridge in 1963. Picture: Queensland State Archives
Burnett Bridge in 1963. Picture: Queensland State Archives

IN PICTURES: Burnett Bridge 120 years on

It’s an iconic structure that’s withstood floods and growing traffic, but after more than a century the Burnett Traffic Bridge is still going strong, and it has quite an interesting history.

The 120-year-old heritage listed truss bridge was officially opened by former Queensland Governor Lord Lamington on August 24, 1900.

The bridge was the design of Alfred Barton Brady, an engineer in the Queensland Public Service, who dedicated 37 years working across various departments within the Queensland Government.

Brady was also the architect of Bundaberg’s Kennedy Bridge and the Victoria Bridge which ran across Brisbane’s river until it was demolished in the 1960s.

When it was opened, it was one of the longest metal truss bridges in Australia, and served an important purpose in connecting both sides of the Burnett. Picture: Queensland State Archives
When it was opened, it was one of the longest metal truss bridges in Australia, and served an important purpose in connecting both sides of the Burnett. Picture: Queensland State Archives

Bundaberg’s first bridges were built using timber after the ferries, which initially connected the north and south of the Rum City, couldn’t cope with the increasing traffic.

The timber bridges were eventually weakened by the traffic with the Burnett and Kennedy bridges then being constructed.

Construction of the bridge began in 1897, after the establishment of Bundaberg’s sugar industry boomed in the 1880s.

When the bridge was opened in 1900 it was the fifth longest metal truss bridge in Australia.

In its 120 years the bridge hasn’t changed much in looks, but has adapted to modern times.

At some stage the lanterns on the abutments of the bridge were replaced by spherical lights. In the 1950s the footway was narrowed.

The Burnett River traffic bridge was closed during the 2013 Bundaberg floods.Photo: Ben Turnbull / NewsMail
The Burnett River traffic bridge was closed during the 2013 Bundaberg floods.Photo: Ben Turnbull / NewsMail

The bridge is still an important part of the city’s transport system and was repaired and repainted in 1991.

In 1993 the footway was again widened as a cycleway/footpath, using improved access provided by a pathway constructed beneath the southern abutment.

In 2002 works to restore and rehabilitate the bridge began, with those works expected to be complete early next year.

The bridge was added to the Queensland Heritage Register in 1992.

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