Heritage and conservation register

Item

Field Value
Name of Item Wee Jasper Bridge over Goodradigbee River
Item Number 4300140
Type of Item Built
Item Sub-Type NSW Allan Truss Bridges
Roadloc  
Address **** Regional Road 278 Wee Jasper 2582
Local Government Area **** 
Owner Local Government
Current Use Road bridge
Former Use Road bridge

Statement of significance

Field Value
Statement of significance Completed in 1896, the Wee Jasper bridge is an early example of an Allan type timber truss road bridge, and in 1998 was in good condition.

As a timber truss road bridge, it has strong associations with the expansion of the road network and economic activity throughout NSW, and Percy Allan, the designer of this type of truss.

Allan trusses were third in the five-stage design evolution of NSW timber truss bridges, and were a major improvement over the McDonald trusses which preceded them. Allan trusses were 20% cheaper to build than Mc Donald trusses, could carry 50% more load, and were easier to maintain.

In 1998 there were 38 surviving Allan trusses in NSW of the 105 built, and 82 timber truss road bridges survive from the over 400 built.

The Wee Jasper bridge is a representative example of Allan timber truss road bridges, and is assessed as being State significant, primarily on the basis of its technical and historical significance.

Date Significance Updated 01 April 2009

Description

Field Value
Designer Percy Allan
Builder W J Lansdowne
Construction years **** - 1896
Physical description Wee Jasper bridge is an Allan type timber truss road bridge. It has a single timber truss span of 27.4m (90ft). There are 2 timber approach spans at each end giving the bridge an overall length of 66.5m (218ft).

The superstructure is supported by timber trestles and provides a single lane carriage way with a minimum width of 4.7m. The guard rail is of timber post and rail construction and extends the full length of the bridge.

Physical Condition
and/or
Archaeological Potential
In 1998 was in good condition.
Modifications and dates ****
Date condition updated 29 May 2009

History

Field Value
Historical notes The Wee Jasper bridge is an early example of an Allan type timber truss road bridge and was completed in 1896.

Timber truss road bridges have played a significant role in the expansion and improvement of the NSW road network. Prior to the bridges being built, river crossings were often dangerous in times of rain, which caused bulk freight movement to be prohibitively expensive for most agricultural and mining produce. Only the high priced wool clip of the time was able to carry the costs and inconvenience imposed by the generally inadequate river crossings that often existed prior to the trusses construction.

Timber truss bridges were preferred by the Public Works Department from the mid 19th to the early 20th century because they were relatively cheap to construct, and used mostly local materials. The financially troubled governments of the day applied pressure to the Public Works Department to produce as much road and bridge work for as little cost as possible, using local materials. This condition effectively prohibited the use of iron and steel, as these, prior to the construction of the steel works at Newcastle in the early 20th century, had to be imported from England.

Allan trusses were the first truly scientifically engineered timber truss bridges, and incorporate American design ideas for the first time. This is a reflection of the changing mindset of the NSW people, who were slowly accepting that American ideas could be as good as or better than European ones. The high quality and low cost of the Allan truss design entrenched the dominance of timber truss bridges for NSW roads for the next 30 years.

Percy Allan, the designer of Allan truss and other bridges, was a senior engineer of the Public Works Department, and a prominent figure in late 19th century NSW.

Timber truss bridges, and timber bridges generally were so common that NSW was known to travellers as the "timber bridge state".

Listings

Field Value
Heritage Listing Reference Number Gazette Number Gazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register       
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register  01485     

Assessment of Significance

Field Value
Historical Significance Through the bridge's association with the expansion of the NSW road network, its ability to demonstrate historically important concepts such as the gradual acceptance of NSW people of American design ideas, and its association with Percy Allan, it has historical significance.
Historical Association ****
Aesthetic/Technical Significance The bridge exhibits the technical excellence of its design, as all of the structural detail is clearly visible. The bridge is set in an impressive rural landscape, appearing as a natural part of its surroundings. As such, the bridge has substantial aesthetic significance.
Social Significance Timber truss bridges are prominent to road travellers, and NSW has in the past been referred to as the "timber truss bridge state". Through this, the complete set of bridges gain some social significance, as they could be said to be held in reasonable esteem by many travellers in NSW. The Wee Jasper bridge also compliments the isolated character of Wee Jasper.
Research Significance The bridge exhibits the technical excellence of its design, as all of the structural detail is clearly visible. In the context of its landscape it is also visually pleasing. As such, the bridge has a moderate amount of aesthetic significance.
Rarity Rare - In 1998 there were 38 surviving Allan trusses in NSW of the 105 built, and 82 timber truss road bridges survive from the over 400 built.
Representativeness Representative of Allan truss bridges
Integrity/Intactness Intact
Assessed Significance State

References

Field Value
Type Author Year Title
Written  Allan, Percy  1924  Higfhway Bridge Construction. The practice in New South Wales 
Written  Fraser, D J  1985  Timber Bridges of New Soutrh Wales 
Written  Department of Main Roads, NSW  1987  Timber Truss Bridge Maintenance Handbook 

Study details

Field Value
Title Year Author Inspected by Guidelines used
Relative Heritage Significance of all Timber Truss Bridges in NSW  1998  McMillan Britton & Kell    Yes 

Custom fields

Field Value
Roads and Maritime Services Region South West
Bridge Number 6633
CARMS File Number 515.139
Property Number Bridge
Conservation Management Plan ****

Images

Wee Jasper Bridge over Goodradigbee River
Wee Jasper Bridge over Goodradigbee River
View of the deck of the bridge and the surrounding country side.
View of the deck of the bridge and the surrounding country side.
Elevation of the bridge showing the water line, river bank and surrounding country side.
Elevation of the bridge showing the water line, river bank and surrounding country side.


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