Monday, November 2, 2009

Breakfast Creek Bridge

We take an awful lot for granted these days. One of the things that I have come to realise as I research and write these pages is that being an early settler here in Brisbane would have been tough - very tough. As we sit back in our air-conditioned houses, or travel to work on modern public transport, or drive around the city of Brisbane in our cars, we should spare a thought for our forbears who developed the place. For example, consider the bridge builders. To get to South Brisbane initially meant using a boat or a ferry, until the construction of the Victoria Bridge. Similarly, to develop what are now Brisbane's northern suburbs, a bridge had to be built across Breakfast Creek at Newstead. There is an account of the opening day of the first bridge in The Moreton Bay Courier of Saturday, 21st August, 1858 that describes some of the difficulties of construction at the time. Prior to the completion of this bridge, there was a pedestrian crossing only. Here is the first bridge, photographed around 1875. Click the photo to see a larger image.

Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #APE-022-01-0006)

That bridge was made of ironbark timber, and stood until continual erosion forced the construction of a new bridge that was opened in 1889. The second bridge is pictured below shortly after completion - it gives you an idea of the undeveloped nature of the surroundings at the time.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #49063)

And here is a later photograph, taken looking across the bridge from the city side around the year 1921, in which a lot more development is evident, including the Breakfast Creek Hotel in the centre of the picture.

  (Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #152974)

The bridge was still important to pedestrians - and fishermen too - judging by this image from 1949.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #42921)

By the time we reach 1958, the bridge is unable to handle the daily vehicular transport, including trams, the important public transport of the day, so a new bridge had to be constructed. The picture below is from 1958, and it shows the older bridge, complete with a traversing tram, prior to its demolition to make way for the new one. Newstead Park is in the background.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #115106)

The latest bridge, this time constructed of concrete, was opened on 28th November, 1958, and this is the bridge we still use today. My recent picture, below, shows today's bridge traffic, and also Newstead Park in the background.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

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Next: The home of Hansard

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