The Indooroopilly Toll Bridge, crossing the Brisbane river between Indooroopilly and Chelmer, was opened on this day seventy-five years ago. The Indooroopilly crossing was the long-held dream of Brisbane engineer and builder Walter Taylor. Here is a photograph of the opening that shows the official party, including the governor Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, walking across the bridge after the opening ceremony. The bridge's designer and constructor, Walter Taylor, is on the far right.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #17900)
Walter Taylor had approached the various authorities as far back as 1924 for approval to bridge the river at Indooroopilly, but hadn't received the go-ahead. Then, in 1929, he presented a plan to the Brisbane City Council that used surplus steel cables from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and his plans were finally approved. Click here for technical information on the bridge, held at a German engineering site - there are a bunch of photographs too. The point chosen for the crossing was next to the Albert Railway Bridge, which had been reconstructed in 1894 after an earlier version had been wrecked in the 1893 floods, and which provided the rail link between Brisbane and Ipswich.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #168323)
Like the Hornibrook Bridge that had been opened just a few months earlier down at Redcliffe, the Indooroopilly Bridge was built as a private venture, and it ran as a toll bridge for almost thirty years after its opening in order to repay the construction company of which Taylor was a director. I can remember my father muttering "How many times do we have to pay for this bloody bridge!" as we crossed it in his employer's little Morris utility that he drove to and from his work in the sixties. The toll was removed when the bridge was taken over by the Brisbane City Council in 1965.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)
My recent photo of the Indooroopilly side of the bridge is above. The towers at each end contained accommodation that was originally provided for the toll collectors, and it was not uncommon to see washing fluttering outside on the balconies. People lived there until recently - a couple of years ago, rescue workers were called to remove an ill resident of the apartments who was unable to exit the building because of his size. Take a look at this quaint YouTube video of the life of a toll collector on this bridge.
Walter Taylor died in 1955, and in 1956 the bridge was renamed the Walter Taylor Bridge in his memory.
Click here for a Google Map.