Heritage and conservation register
|Name of Item||Lansdowne Bridge over Prospect Creek|
|Type of Item||Built|
|Item Sub-Type||Masonry Arch|
|Address||**** Hume Highway (SH 2) Lansvale 2166|
|Local Government Area||Fairfield City|
|Current Use||Road bridge|
|Former Use||Road bridge|
Statement of significance
|Statement of significance||Lansdowne Bridge is considered to be one of the finest examples of Colonial Architecture in Australia as well as David Lennox's masterpiece of design (Sheedy 1973). Lansdowne Bridge was built by convicts during 1834 to 1836. The sandstone arch has the largest span of any surviving masonry bridge in Australia. The size, appearance and durability make this bridge an outstanding example of colonial engineering (Environmental Management Committee Fairfield Council 1990).
The bridge has been assessed as being of State significance.
|Date Significance Updated||01 October 1997|
|Construction years||1834 - 1836|
|Physical description||Single arch sandstone bridge with 2 lane carriageway, balustrades and pavements with sandstone flagstones (RTA Technology Database 1998).|
|Original condition assessment: 'Physical condition is excellent. Archaeological potential is low.' (Last updated: 14/09/1998.) 2007-08 condition update: 'Good.' (Last updated: 17/4/09.)|
|Modifications and dates||1834 - construction began 1835 - construction completed|
|Date condition updated||17 April 2009|
|Historical notes||Lansdowne bridge was designed and supervised by David Lennox. Born in Ayr, Scotland in 1788 David Lennox was trained as a stonemason. He worked on Telford's Menai Suspension Bridge at Anglesey in Wales and on Gloucester Bridge where he learnt the sound construction principles he used on his Colonial projects. He emigrated to Australia in 1832.
He immediately found employment as a mason with the government. While working at the Legislative Council Chambers in Macquarie Street, Sydney, Lennox met the Surveyor-General Sir Thomas Mitchell.
The Surveyor-General lost little time in submitting Lennox's credentials to the Governor, describing him as 'a very well qualified person recently arrived in the Colony.' Acting on Mitchell's recommendation, Governor Bourke provisionally appointed Lennox as a Sub-Inspector of Bridges at a salary of 120 pounds per annum. In June 1833 the position was confirmed by London as Superintendent of Bridges.
In 1832 a sum of 1083 pound was voted for the construction of a bridge at the point where the main Southern Road crossed Prospect Creek. Mitchell recommended Lennox as overseer because of his success on other projects. In May 1833 Lennox moved into the Greyhound Inn near the site of the bridge.
Lennox asked for the retention of convicts who had worked particularly well on the Lapstone bridge and also asked the Governor to permit removal of the prisoner's irons for the remainder of their sentences. Governor Bourke agreed in the case of four of the convicts with a promise to review the request in six months for two of the others.
After a lengthy search, stone of excellent quality was found on the right bank about eleven kilometres downstream from the site of the bridge. As the quarry site was near the river bank it was decided to punt the stone to the construction site by making the best use of the tides.
In July 1833 Lennox told Mitchell of a mutiny that had occurred at the quarry while he had been away on an inspection tour. Some of the convicts had rebelled and had consumed the contents of a nearby liquor still. Returning to the camp drunk they threatened to kill the supervisor and destroy the camp and quarrying equipment. The police from Liverpool were called and arrested the offenders. Retribution at Liverpool Court was swift and savage; those who were spared the chain gang received up to fifty lashes of the 'cat'.
On 1 January 1834, Governor Bourke visited the site of the bridge to lay the foundation stone. Within hours of the laying of the inscription plate it was stolen. Lennox made arrangements to obtain a duplicate plate but the original was found and restored to the bridge.
On 7 June 1834 Lennox applied for more labourers, the bridge being at a stage where the centring could commence. This was the construction of a rigid timber frame to hold each stone in place until the arch became self-supporting. It was a critical process and any inaccuracies would cause instability or collapse the arch.
Upon receiving a report that the bridge was nearing completion, Governor Bourke selected Tuesday, 26 January 1836 for the official opening date, as this coincided with the 48th anniversary of the Colony's foundation. The Lansdowne Bridge was not ready for several months as the Toll House was not complete. Once tolls started to be collected however, the bridge soon recovered its cost and in 1844 annual receipts were 685 pounds. (George 1982)
|Heritage Listing||Reference Number||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Cumberland County Council list of Historic Buildings 1961-67 - Former register|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01472|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register|
|Local Environmental Plan||1994||122||7147|
|National Trust of Australia register|
|Register of the National Estate|
Assessment of Significance
|Historical Significance||Lansdowne Bridge is considered to be one of the finest examples of Colonial Architecture in Australia as well as David Lennox's masterpiece of design. (Sheedy 1973) Lansdowne Bridge was built by convicts during 1834 to 1836. (Environmental Management Committee Fairfield Council 1990)|
|Aesthetic/Technical Significance||The sandstone arch has the largest span of any surviving masonry bridge in Australia. The size, appearance and durability make this bridge an outstanding example of colonial engineering. (Environmental Management Committee Fairfield Council 1990)|
|Written||Environmental Management Committee - Fairfield Council||1990||Heritage Conservation in Fairfield City - Meeting notes|
|Written||D Sheedy||1973||National Trust Classification Card - Lansdowne Bridge|
|Written||Vance George||1982||Fairfield: a History of the District|
|Title||Year||Author||Inspected by||Guidelines used|
|Roads and Maritime Services Region||Sydney|
|CARMS File Number||****|
|Conservation Management Plan||****|