Monday, July 22, 2024

Australia’s oldest stone bridge turns 200

Tasmania is today celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Richmond Bridge – Australia’s oldest surviving freestone bridge.

Foundations of the Richmond Bridge were laid on 11 December 1823, with construction then carried out by convicts over two years using sandstone blocks transported from a nearby quarry to the construction site by wooden carts.

Fast-forward 200 years and the Richmond Bridge now stands as the only bridge to be registered on both the Tasmanian and National Heritage lists. 

Despite its age, it continues to serve its original purpose as an important piece of transport infrastructure with over 4,000 vehicle crossings daily and it is also now a key tourism attraction for Tasmania.  

“So that it can continue to stand strong for years to come, we have a detailed conservation management plan for the bridge. The Department of State Growth inspects the bridge regularly to assess and manage any potential issues that may pose a risk to the bridge,” said Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael Ferguson.

“Earlier this year, we started work on further preservation works to ensure the structural integrity of the bridge. Works involved the installation of sensors beneath the bridge footpath, providing us with real time data to monitor vibrations from vehicles crossing the bridge.”

Also included in these works was waterproofing of the bridge’s pedestrian footpaths, and the removal of two poplar trees and their roots, which posed a risk to the bridge’s structure. 

“Our ongoing work will help preserve this historic landmark so it can continue to be used and admired by Tasmanians and visitors for many years to come,” said Minister Ferguson.

Latest Articles