Tom Uglys Bridge
|Tom Uglys Bridge|
The 1929 spans, view from the north
|Carries||6 lanes of the Princes Highway, pedestrians and bicycles|
|Design||Truss bridge (1929 bridge)|
|Total length||500 m (1,640.4 ft)|
|Opened||11 May 1929|
Tom Uglys Bridge is one of three major road crossings of the Georges River in southern Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It consists of two separate bridges that carry the Princes Highway, linking the St George area at Blakehurst to the Sutherland Shire at Sylvania.
Origin of the name
Tom Uglys Bridge took its name from the geographical feature at the northern end of the bridge, known as Tom Uglys Point. The point was known as Tom Uglys Point over 80 years prior to the construction of the bridge.
There are several theories about the origin of the name of the point. All the theories involve a distortion of the name of either a local European or Aboriginal resident of the area. One theory is that it was named after a local resident Tom Huxley and the name was a mispronunciation by local Aborigines. Descendants of Thomas Huxley have concluded that he lived and owned land in the area, but official records do not exist to verify this. An alternative theory is that the name is derived from the name of a local Aboriginal man, Tow-weiry, who lived in the area and died about 1846. Another theory is that there was a local fisherman resident in the area by the name of Tom Illigley. Yet another is that there was a one-legged man, possibly an army deserter or a boat operator, called either "Tom Woggleg" or "Wogul Leg Tom", either because of a mispronunciation of wooden leg, or from the local Aboriginal dialect word for "one".
Tom Ugly's Point ferry
The ferry service was improved and expanded over the subsequent years. In 1882 a steam-driven ferry was installed, guided by steel cables. It crossed the river in less than 10 minutes. The punt was 54 feet (16 m) long and had a 11 feet (3.4 m) wide roadway. It was capable of carrying six horse-drawn vehicles. By 1898 a larger steam-driven ferry began operation. It was capable of carrying 100 passengers and 15 vehicles. A new punt capable of carrying 28 vehicles and making the crossing in three minutes was installed in 1922.
By 1929 there were two cable ferries operating, and delays of several hours were experienced on weekends and public holidays.
The 1929 bridge
The bill for the building of a bridge across the Georges River was introduced into State Parliament in 1923, and the foundation stone for the bridge was laid on 7 June 1924. The bridge construction was funded by Sutherland Shire Council, with borrowed money to be repaid by a toll on the bridge once it was opened.
The crossing was first opened for traffic on 26 April 1929, and officially opened by the Governor of New South Wales on on 11 May 1929. It was then known as the "George's River Bridge".
The toll was collected on the Sylvania side of the bridge by toll collectors who stood on the road. The tolls were removed in 1952 when the bridge was repaid. The road was one lane in each direction in the 1940s & 1950s, and was converted to become three lanes tidal flow with two lanes in the direction of the peak flow until the opening of the second bridge.
In 2006, the 1929 steel truss bridge was repainted. The original lead paint was removed using a blasting process and an air extraction system was employed to safely remove airborne particles, protecting the environment as well as the workers.
The 1987 bridge
A second bridge, which opened on 17 October 1987, was built adjacent to alleviate traffic congestion.
The new bridge was designed to carry four lanes of traffic. During repair work on the 1929 bridge it has been configured both for one lane northbound and three lanes southbound, as well as two lanes in each direction. The current configuration is for three lanes southbound on the 1987 bridge, and three lanes northbound on the 1929 bridge.
An interesting feature of the bridge complex is that the two bridges veer away from each other - they are less than 20 metres (66 ft) apart at the northern end, and about 100 metres (330 ft) apart at the southern end. Most duplicated bridges are close together (like the dual bridges at Ryde) allowing the form of the road approaches to continue. However, at Tom Uglys Bridge, the Princes Highway curves around to the left on the northbound approach to the 1929 bridge so this design allows the southbound approach to be much straighter.
Between the two bridges is a boat ramp, accessible from the northbound bridge approach. A loop road on the northern side allows drivers travelling south along the Princes Highway to avoid the bridge and return north along the highway.
- "Georges River : Tom Uglys Point". The Sydney Morning Herald. 31 January 1931.
- "Kogarah's Heritage No.2: Tom Ugly's". Kogarah Council = accessdate = 13 September 2010.
- Rivers and Resilience: Aboriginal People on Sydney's Georges River. UNSW Press. 2009. p. 66.
- "Native Nomenclature". Sydney Morning Herald. 7 May 1890. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- "Tom Ugly's Bridge: Maintenance Works". Roads and Traffic Authority, New South Wales. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- The Book of Sydney Suburbs, Compiled by Frances Pollon, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1990, Published in Australia ISBN 0-207-14495-8
- "Tenders for Public Works and Supplies". Sydney Morning Herald. 9 April 1864. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 May 1882 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13511075
|url=missing title (help). Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- "The Punts : New and Enlarged". Sydney Morning Herald. 19 April 1922.
- "Bridge over George's River at Tom Ugly's Point opened for traffic.". Sydney Morning Herald. 27 April 1929.
- "Tom Uglys Bridge over the Georges River", Roads and Traffic Authority, NSW
- Tom Ugly's Bridge Maintenance works
Media related to Tom Uglys Bridge at Wikimedia Commons