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Gundagai’s Prince Alfred Bridge memorial concepts unveiled

Edwina Mason23 May 2022
Concept image for sculpture

The structure proposed for the northern end of the former bridge. Image: Consultant Heritage Architects Conrad Gargett.

Design concepts commemorating the former Prince Alfred Bridge are in, but the Department of Planning and Environment is still open to community feedback.

Using timber and steel salvaged from last year’s demolition, the concepts aim to commemorate the bridge’s heritage and cultural and social significance while creating a new tourist site for Gundagai.

Following an assessment of 139 community submissions, consultant heritage architects Conrad Gargett designed the two proposed attractions.

The former access and entry point at the northern end of the former timber viaduct – near the town’s main shopping area – and the floodplain at O.I. Bell Drive are the two proposed locations for the structures. This was indicative of community preferences, according to the design brief.


READ ALSO: Gundagai’s heritage bridge survives troubled waters, only to be toppled by a truck


Sculptural wire elements are the mainstay of the story the demolished bridge will tell future generations.

The focal point of the wire frame will enhance the second bridge attraction proposed at O.I. Bell Drive to remember the former bridge from the floodplain level.

Here, one intact former bridge timber trestle (number 27) will be reinstated to its original location, the salvaged elements mimicking the former bridge’s scale, elevation, and materials.

Salvaged timber from the former bridge will be used for bollards and seating. In a very modern touch, visitors will be able to use a QR code to link to further historical information, photos and a 3D bridge reconstruction.

Parking, lighting and signage also form part of the plan.

Concept image for sculpture

The structure proposed for O.I. Bell Drive. Image: Consultant Heritage Architects Conrad Gargett.

A steel wire cut out on top of the trestle is proposed to reflect the former bridge girders, deck, balustrade, and vehicle use.

Again, interpretive panels with photos, a history and an outline of the key themes relating to the bridge’s significance will be installed, with a QR code linking to further historical information and a 3D bridge reconstruction.

Bollards and seating will use salvaged timber from the former bridge and car parking and signage will also be installed.


READ ALSO: Gundagai’s Criterion Hotel sells for more than $6 million


Last year, engineering assessments found the 125-year-old timber road viaduct, which had not operated since 1984, was structurally unsound, creating a public safety risk if it collapsed during a flood.

Citing high costs, large amounts of timber required for restoration, future ownership and maintenance requirements and a lack of public need, the much-loved Gundagai attraction was deemed no longer feasible and demolished in November 2021.

More than 460 cubic metres of timber were salvaged from the viaduct for potential future use.

The loss was met with outcry, for its role in conveying Hume Highway traffic, which passed through Gundagai for 110 years was embedded in the memories of thousands of travellers who had crossed its 922-metre length.

It is hoped the proposed memorial structures will go part way to honour the bridge’s legacy – but nothing is yet set in timber.

This round of consultation will gather feedback on the potential design concepts, ensuring each reflects community sentiment.

Community feedback on the concept can be made online until Tuesday 31 May via this survey.

What's Your Opinion?

5 Responses to Gundagai’s Prince Alfred Bridge memorial concepts unveiled

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Kylie Winkworth Kylie Winkworth 3:38 pm 20 Jun 22

There is something grotesque about the Department of Planning running consultations on gimcrack concepts to memorialise the shameful failure of the NSW Government and its bureaucracy to protect this once significant and amazing structure – a grand hymn to timber and the timber craftsmen that kept it in good order for a hundred years until the buck-passing, penny-pinching, heritage-hating NSW Government let it fall into decay and demolition by neglect. The fate of this once lovely bridge is a disgrace and a sell out of rural heritage and its meaning for communities. It should be a monument to the Government’s failure and neglect, covered in the names of the ministers and MPs that did nothing. Let’s have a plaque on the rubble of our latest heritage demolition. Too easy. I’d like to see the quotes up in lights from all the do-nothing reports and politicians citing ‘lack of public need’ and it’s all too hard. Since when has there been a lack of public need for beauty? Or history? At this rate there will be nothing left of NSW’s rural heritage if people don’t call out the indolence and excuses of some politicians when it comes to heritage. By the way, this doesn’t happen in the UK where they love their country bridges and viaducts, and tourists flock to see them. So sad for Gundagai.

Lynette Angus Lynette Angus 4:42 pm 27 May 22

Please make the wire outline of the vehicles on the “bridge” of an earlier vintage, perhaps nineteen thirties or forties. (They had a much more rounded shape than the vehicles in the suggested design.) It is pleasing that something is being done to remember the bridge, but as noted by Dave, it was obvious decades ago that something would need to be done. A bit of forward thinking might have been helpful.

Robert Young Robert Young 7:58 am 25 May 22

Morn. – The bridge has gone, a stone cairn, with the history attached, placed in a relevent spot would suffice commemorating the bridge, from what I see above these idea’s & other idea’s like them, detract from the legacy of the bridge, its relevence & history to the area.

Youngy
74 West St. Gundagai, NSW, 2722

Robert Young Robert Young 7:56 am 25 May 22

Morn. – The bridge has gone, a stone cairn, with the history attached, placed in a relevent spot would suffice commemorating the bridge, from what I see above, these idea’s & other idea’s like them detract from the legacy of the bridge, its relevence & history to the area.

Youngy
74 West St. Gundagai, NSW, 2722

Dave Dave 7:22 am 24 May 22

Citing high costs, large amounts of timber required for restoration, future ownership and maintenance requirements and a lack of public need, the much-loved Gundagai attraction was deemed no longer feasible and demolished in November 2021.

All these should have worked out when the bridge closed, not when it was to be demolished. How about from this moment on, let’s rethink our way of doing things. For the next historical monument, big or small, let’s plan how we are going to maintain and pay for it before it’s too late. Move away from the current way of doing things ie let something become derelict, says it’s too hard to keep and then destroy and obliterate it.

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