The old Sportsmans Creek Bridge is no more, but the design and engineering of the historic bridge will be partially preserved in the two truss ends, delivered by the Roads & Maritime Service (RMS) to the Lawrence Museum on Monday May 13.
The 1911 Sportsman Creek Bridge was a Harvey Dare design, and although over 400 Dare design truss timber bridges were constructed in the early part of the 20th century, the Sportsman Creek Bridge had the longest truss span. It was the largest, significant, historical construction in Lawrence.
The two truss ends, each 4.75m wide x 10m long, were delivered, by permit, on a wide load. They had been stored at Harwood after demolition, and being too wide to cross McFarlane Bridge, arrived, with escort, via Tullymorgan Road.
A large crane was waiting to lift the truss ends over the fence, to Lawrence Museum.
To complete the truss ends, the RMS delivered the top of one of the concrete piers and a timber pier. The concrete piers have held up a bridge over Sportsmans Creek since the first bridge was constructed in 1875.
In addition, the RMS delivered 150m2 of bridge decking. This is likely to be used as decking for the reconstruction of the Ashby Ferry, when it is transferred to Lawrence Museum later this year.
President Rob Forbes, whilst pleased to see the delivery of some of the bridge parts, was dismayed that the RMS did not see fit to provide four end trusses. This would have enabled a small replica of the bridge to be reconstructed.
“We tracked down the components of the other trusses after the bridge was demolished,” he said, “with the hope that we may be able to acquire and reconstruct them, but unfortunately they were cut up and sold for scrap.”
“However, we have a small part of the bridge to display, and at least we can preserve this part of our history for the community and future generations.”