Hampden Bridge (Wagga Wagga)

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Hampden Bridge
Hampden Bridge, December 2005
Crosses Murrumbidgee River
Locale Wagga Wagga, New South Wales
Maintained by Wagga Wagga City Council
Designer Percy Allan
Design Allan Truss bridge
Total length 330 feet (100.5 m)
Construction cost ₤28,260[1]
Opened 11 November 1895
Heritage status National Trust of Australia, Institution of Engineers
Closed October, 1995

Hampden Bridge is a wooden Allan Truss bridge over the Murrumbidgee River in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. It was officially opened to traffic on 11 November 1895 and named in honour of the new Governor of the NSW Sir Henry Robert Brand, 2nd Viscount Hampden.[2]

It was closed in October 1995 when the Wiradjuri Bridge opened. The bridge is 100.5 metres (330 ft) long with each of the 3 truss spans 33.5 metres (110 ft) long. Hampden Bridge was the first large overhead-braced truss bridge designed by Percy Allan. The bridge was originally designed to be a steel-built bridge; however, the tenders were too expensive so timber was used as an alternative.[3] Hampden Bridge replaced the Wagga Wagga Company Bridge, a toll bridge over the Murrumbidgee River that was constructed in 1862.

Hampden Bridge Design
Hampden Bridge closed to pedestrians, August 2006

The Roads and Traffic Authority handed over the Hampden Bridge to the Wagga Wagga City Council after the bridge was closed to traffic in October 1995. The local historic landmark stayed open to pedestrians as a route between the suburb of North Wagga and the City of Wagga Wagga.[3]

In 2012, Wagga Wagga City Council voted to demolish the bridge, as the maintenance costs associated with its preservation were too high. The issue of whether to keep the bridge or to demolish it has divided the community of Wagga Wagga.


Temporary 39-metre (128 ft) long metal truss
  • 11 November 1895 - the Hampden Bridge opens
  • October 1995 - Just short of its 100th birthday, the Hampden Bridge is closed to traffic when the nearby Wiradjuri Bridge opens.
  • 16 August 2006 - the Hampden Bridge is closed to pedestrians indefinitely after the Wagga Wagga City Council finds that the bridge deck has dropped 50 centimetres (20 in) after one of the trusses failed. A safety report by the Roads and Traffic Authority states that the bridge could fall down any day due to it being in a state of disrepair. Wagga Wagga City Council look into ways to prop up the failed section with other options of possibly demolishing the bridge.[4][5][6]
  • 25 August 2006 - Wagga Wagga City Council reports that it could cost $30,000 for emergency stabilisation with other costs such as $10,000 or more for a structural assessment and $25,000 to prepare for tenders for the repairs to make the Hampden Bridge safe.[7]
  • 28 August 2006 - At the Wagga Wagga City Council's monthly meeting the Council decide on emergency stabilisation work, structural soundness assessment, heritage assessment and costs into demolition of the bridge. Cr Peter Dale argues that demolition is the only option since keeping the Hampden Bridge would cost the Wagga Wagga City Council hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain after an engineer looked at the bridge and estimated that the cost for repairs would be $100,000.[8]
  • 25 September 2006 - Wagga Wagga City Council approves $30,000 from cash reserves for repairs or for demolition of the bridge. A report by Harry Trueman from the Institute of Engineers Australia states that the Hampden Bridge is one of the biggest and most important timber bridges in the state since it was originally built to take produce from the Riverina to Sydney; however he is not confident that the Hampden Bridge could be saved due to the amount of money needed to restore it to a good condition, which would cost the Council millions of dollars and involve high ongoing maintenance costs.[9]
  • November 2007 - councillors attend a number of workshops on estimated costs of rehabilitation and demolition. The cost of rehabilitation is estimated to be $1.5 million and demolition $1.6 million.[10]
  • 27 February 2008 - Wagga Wagga City Council approves $300,000 to make the bridge structurally safe.[10]
  • August 2008 - a 39-metre (128 ft) metal truss (used railway tracks to put it in place) is placed on the failed section of the Hampden Bridge, to raise the deck for repair.[11]
  • March 2012 - Wagga Wagga City Council voted to dismantle the Hampden Bridge.[12]
  • February 2013 - A tender is awarded to Queensland-based company, Southern Cross Demolition, for the complete demolition of the bridge. [13]
  • April 2014 - Wagga Wagga City Council received planning approval for the demolition of the bridge except for the bridge's pylons.[14]
  • June 2014 - Demolition of the bridge commenced.[15]


  1. ^ http://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/sites/default/files/shado/Learned%20Groups/Interest%20Groups/Engineering%20Heritage/Register/Hampden_Wagga_Wagga_Nomination.pdf
  2. ^ "Hampden Bridge". Wagga Wagga City Council. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Hampden Bridge, Wagga Wagga". Timber Research Unit of the Department of Architecture at the University of Tasmania. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  4. ^ Council closes Hampden Bridge over sinking concerns - 17 August 2006 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  5. ^ Hampden Bridge is falling down - Page 3 - 17 August 2006, The Daily Advertiser
  6. ^ Wagga council urged to keep Hampden Bridge - 21 August 2006 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  7. ^ $30,000 to repair icon - Page 2 - 25 August 2006, The Daily Advertiser
  8. ^ Council Debate Bridge stays for now - Page 3 - 29 August 2006, The Daily Advertiser
  9. ^ Wagga's Hampden Bridge has no future says engineer - 25 September 2006 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  10. ^ a b Local bridge to stay put, The Daily Advertiser
  11. ^ Metal truss on Hampden Bridge moved into position, Wagga Wagga City Council
  12. ^ Hampden Bridge goes to rack and run, The Daily Advertiser
  13. ^ Hampden Bridge given death sentence, The Daily Advertiser
  14. ^ "Wagga Wagga City Council gets approval to knock down Hampden Bridge". ABC. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  15. ^ Andrew Pearson (June 7, 2014). "Hampden Bridge begins to fall". dailyadvertiser (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 23 June 2014. 

Coordinates: 35°6′2.53″S 147°22′6.68″E / 35.1007028°S 147.3685222°E / -35.1007028; 147.3685222