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The Nowra Bridge – Did you know?

By Tanya Chapman

Completed in 1881 this cast iron and steel bridge is quite unique and at the time it was built it was the only American Pin Jointed Whipple built in NSW. Another fascinating fact was the use of steel, imported from the USA, some 14 years ahead of it’s general use in New South Wales. The popular contemporary bridge was wrought Iron, half through, lattice truss, essentially a British bridge of riveted construction.

The pairs of cast iron piers are original and were supplied locally by the Atlas Foundry, Sydney. At 1013 feet (309m) overall it was the largest bridge project in New South Wales prior to the 1889 Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge

Timber Deck.
The original deck was timber and this was in use for one hundred years until replaced with reinforced concrete laid over Armco decking in 1981.

Big dreams, a railway to Vincentia and beyond.
The bridge was originally intended to carry a double railway track, the railway however was never extended past Bomaderry station.
The bridge has been used for two lane traffic for over 133 years.

Historical significance.
The bridge was designed by American engineer C Shaler Smith and is considered to be of historical state significance. Builder. Edgemoor Iron Co.  a well known bridge fabricator and builder of Delaware USA.

Truss bridges are one of the oldest types of modern bridges.
A truss bridge is a bridge whose load-bearing superstructure is composed of a truss, a structure of connected elements forming triangular units
Nowra Bridge is it is a technically sophisticated bridge structure and unique for its time.

Phyllis the elephant collapsed on the Nowra Bridge On the 14th of may 1914
The elephant belonged to Wirths circus and was pretty scared at the time.

Whipple Truss Bridge.
Opened by Hon John Lackey Minister for Works August 1881, before 6000 people


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