Heritage and conservation register

Item

Name of Item Cobram Bridge over Murray River
Item Number 4301002
Type of Item Built
Item Sub-Type NSW DeBurgh Truss Bridges
Roadloc  
Address **** Main Road 226 Barooga 3644
Local Government Area Berrigan 
Owner Local Government
Current Use Road bridge
Former Use Road bridge

 

Statement of significance

Statement of significance Cobram Barooga bridge, completed in 1902, is of State significance owing to its form, setting and materials. the presence of the lift span is important. It is a unique type in the Murray River Crossing in the combination of materials and lift span. It played an important role in the local road network and remains an important transport link for local communities.
Date Significance Updated 21 May 1998

 

Description

Designer E M DeBurgh
Builder ****
Construction years **** - 1902
Physical description Cobram Barooga Bridge is a timber truss, lift-span bridge generally two lanes wide, across the Murray River at Barooga. The main axis of the bridge is east-west.

There are three main spans including one lift span supported on cast iron piers. On the eastern (NSW) approach there are six approach spans and on the western (Victorian)side there are three. The approach spans are of steel and timber girder construction on timber and steel trestle piers. The approach spans have a timber deck. The main spans have a plywood deck.

The two main truss spans are of composite steel and timber construction, (approximately 31.7m spans).

The trusses have timber top chords and struts with steel bottom chords and diagonals. The trusses support steel cross girders and timber stringers. The cross girders are tapered.

The lift span superstructure is of steel lattice construction with a span of 18m. The deck narrows across the lift span and is reduced to one lane. The lift span beams are riveted girders. The lift span counterweight and lift membranes are still in place.

The main piers are twin cylindrical cast iron piers.

The approach spans on both ends range from approximately 9.1m to 11m spans and have six girders with the outside truss timber and the inside four steel in each span supporting the deck. The beams sit on steel and timber trestle piers.

The timber top chords on the trusses have steel capping.

There is a footway on the northern side with a timber guard rail.

The bridge has a clearance over normal water level of 7.9m with the lift span closed, and 14.3m with the lift span open.

Rare DeBurgh timber truss bridge, with metal Pratt lift-span is one of only two of its type in Australia. The DeBurgh truss is one of a group of internationally notable timber truss designs developed for Australian hardwoods by NSW engineers. The Cobram Bridge is by far the largest of the nationally significant group of five timber bridges that remain on the Murray. Seen as a symbol of Federation, it was the only Murray bridge funded entirely by Victoria. Its lift span provides direct evidence of the famous Murray River paddle steamer era.

Physical Condition
and/or
Archaeological Potential
Original condition assessment: 'The only structural deficiency as reported by the Border Bridge Maintenance Strategy is the capacity of the lift span.' (Last updated: 21/05/1998.) 2007-08 condition update: 'Good.' (Last updated: 17/4/09.)
Modifications and dates January 2000, additions to lift span.
Date condition updated 17 April 2009

 

History

Historical notes The area on both sides of the Murray around Cobram was extensively occupied in the 1840s. Cobram Station was held first by Robert Beauchamp, then by the large-scale grazier Edward James Hogg, who also held Neidura in the 1850s. From Hogg Cobram passed to Caldwell in the 1860s and then to his brother-in-law Frederick Wolseley. It grazed upwards of 6000 sheep and Wolseley experimented there with early prototypes of his mechanical shearing machine which was in the 1880s to change the sheep industry.

The usual small township grew up to service this area at Cobram on the Victorian bank of the Murray, with a sister township in New South Wales at Barooga, developing later, with no school until 1896. A punt was installed upstream from Cobram town and in 1902 this was replaced by a lift-span bridge downstream. This made a valuable linkage between the Tocumwal to Mulwala road in New South Wales and what is now the Murray Valley Highway in Victoria.

 

Listings

Heritage Listing Reference Number Gazette Number Gazette Page
National Trust of Australia register       
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register       

 

Assessment of Significance

Historical Significance The Cobram Barooga Bridge has historical significance as part of the original road link over the Murray River that has existed for almost 100 years. It was erected at a time of high commercial activity in the area, although river traffic was declining with the coming of the railway. Cobram Barooga Bridge also has historical significance as an example of an Australian Lift Bridge used over a waterway. The bridge is significant for its association with the designer EM de Burgh. The bridge also has historical importance as a de Burgh truss. The de Burgh truss was developed by Ernest de Burgh and comprised a composite steel and timber truss. The lift span bridge was used extensively to provide crossings over major rivers and allow river travel to pass through the opening span. The Cobram Barooga Bridge is a significant example of this type.
Historical Association ****
Aesthetic/Technical Significance The Cobram Barooga Bridge has aesthetic significance due to its outstanding setting and landmark qualities. The bridge provides a link between NSW and Victoria. It dominates the river valley and is a landmark on the reach of the river between Albury and Echuca. The bridge provides a dominant feature in the landscape. The setting across the wide river is rare. The combination of size and setting provides an excellent and rare example of road and river and road and river traffic.
Social Significance The Cobram bridge has high social significance due to its association with the township of Cobram and Barooga. The bridge is a reminder of the need for clearances for river traffic. Although the bridge was constructed after the time of frequent commercial traffic, it remains a reminder in the area of those days. The social importance of the bridge is tempered by the traffic inadequacies.
Research Significance The Cobram Barooga Bridge has significance as a rare example of an Australian Lift Bridge. The drawings were signed by Ernest de Burgh and can be assumed to indicate his design intention and is an important landmark in the development of the lift bridge. The bridge is in good condition and has high integrity. The bridge forms an interesting contrast to the nearby Barham bridge. The bridge is ideally located for interpretation by interested persons in bridge technology.
Rarity ****
Representativenes ****
Integrity/Intactness ****
Assessed Significance State

 

References

 

Type Author Year Title
Written  C O’Connor  1985  Spanning Two Centuries: Historic Bridges of Australia 
Written  R B Ronald  1960  The Riverina: People and Properties 
Written  R P Whitworth  1866  Bailliere’s New South Wales Gazetteer and Road Guide 

 

Study details

Title Year Author Inspected by Guidelines used
Roads and Maritime Services s170 Register Upgrade Project - South-West Region  2003  Freeman Randell Conservation Architects and Plannners    Yes 
Murray Crossings Heritage Study  1998  Hughes Trueman Reinhold    Yes 
Relative Heritage Significance of all Timber Truss Bridges in NSW  1998  McMillan Britton & Kell    Yes 

 

Custom fields

Roads and Maritime Services Region South West
Bridge Number 3247
CARMS File Number 34.1112
Property Number Bridge
Conservation Management Plan ****

 

Images

Cobram Bridge over Murray River
Cobram Bridge over Murray River