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Gravesites of Tasmania.
BRIDGEWATER BRIDGE AND CAUSEWAY
of the Bridgewater causeway commenced in 1829 and for the time was an
extraordinary achievement. On completion it was 1.3 km long and built by a
workforce of approximately 280 convicts who had been condemned to secondary
punishment. Each convict wore leg irons which had a chain connecting one leg
iron through a belt to the other leg iron. This chain could be shortened or
lengthened by the supervisor depending on the degree of discomfort required. As
a further punishment the sides of a convict’s shoes were cut away so that the
leg irons would cut into the flesh around his ankles. This happened to many a
convict as the Commandant at the time, Ralph Clint, was known as a very cruel
convicts, using nothing but wheelbarrows, shovels and picks and sheer muscle
power, shifted 2 million tonnes of soil, stones and clay. It is said that the
punishment for not doing a full day's work was to be sentenced to solitary
confinement in a cell which was only 2 m high and 50 cm square. The convict
labour was supervised by John Lee Archer and various other government engineers.
problems were encountered establishing a firm base to the construction works
because of the river silt and the clay base. The work was
referred to as the
“Bridgewater Folly” where it was tried for years to fill up a soft mud hole. The
problem was eventually solved by laying green willow branches as a base.
completion of the causeway in 1838, a ferry or punt operated across the deep
section of the river. The first bridge at this point across the Derwent was
constructed of local timber and opened in 1849 with users paying a toll of two
pence and the town, which had been laid out on the southern side of the river,
was moved (down to the last surveying detail) to the northern bank. It is still
possible to see the original town plan near the Old Watch House. The settlement
on the southern side of the river was originally known as South Bridgewater but
is now known as Granton. In November 1847 The Bridgewater Bridge Commission
entered into a contract with James Blackburn and Alexander Thompson to erect a
bridge with a moveable platform that could be swing back to allow boats through
for the sum of 4866 pounds.
officially opened on 26th April 1849 by Sir William Denison and the
first vehicle to cross the bridge was Mrs. Cox’s mail coach with the toll for
coaches being fixed at 3 shillings.
bridge was in use for many years before being replaced by a
second swing bridge.
pivot and the sandstone abutments of this bridge are still standing and can be seen on the left of the present bridge as one
travels towards the north.
A serious accident occurred on the bridge on the 22nd
July 1886 when a train from the north left the tracks and tipped over
hanging above the water on the southern end of the bridge.
Second Swing Bridge
Hobart to New Norfolk late 1800’s)
Construction of the current steel vertical lift bridge with Allan Knight
as Chief Engineer began in 1939 and was finally completed in 1946 and is
still in use to this day having the distinction of being the largest
surviving lift span bridge in Australia.
(Bridgewater Bridge as it is today)
by Linda McKenzie
Thankyou to Geoff Dodge
for allowing us to use his photo's.
that there might be information from other websites or brochures
"reprinted" here- under the laws of "fair use". In every instance -we
hope- we have provided a direct link to the owners web site. We do not
claim rights or ownership to any of their information. We do thank them
sincerely for their efforts. We have in every instance made a good faith
effort to contact and request 'reprint' permission. Nonetheless, we do
want to be certain that nothing gets lost due to web site disappearance
and the like, so it appears duplicated here.
Gravesites Of Tasmania,
Honouring the past, building understanding.