Macquarie River railway bridge, Dubbo

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Macquarie River Railway Bridge, Dubbo
Dubbo - Macquarie River Rail Bridge 2.jpg
Coordinates32°14′38″S 148°35′59″E / 32.2439°S 148.5997°E / -32.2439; 148.5997Coordinates: 32°14′38″S 148°35′59″E / 32.2439°S 148.5997°E / -32.2439; 148.5997
CarriesMain Western railway line
CrossesMacquarie River
LocaleDubbo, Dubbo Regional Council, New South Wales, Australia
Official nameDubbo rail bridge over Macquarie River
Other name(s)Dubbo Lattice Railway Bridge
Longest span48 metres (159 ft)
No. of spans3
ArchitectJohn Whitton; Engineer-in-Chief for Railways
DesignerJohn Fowler & Co.
Constructed byBenjamin Barnes
Fabrication byIronwork by Cochrane & Co., Middlesborough, England
Construction end1884
TypeState heritage (built)
Designated2 April 1999
Reference no.1032
TypeRailway Bridge/ Viaduct
CategoryTransport - Rail
Macquarie River Railway Bridge, Dubbo is located in New South Wales
Macquarie River Railway Bridge, Dubbo
Macquarie River Railway Bridge, Dubbo
Location in New South Wales

The Dubbo rail bridge over Macquarie River is a heritage-listed railway bridge on the Main Western line across the Macquarie River, located west of the Dubbo central business district in the Dubbo Regional Council local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by John Whitton as the Engineer-in-Chief for the New South Wales Government Railways. The bridge was built during 1884 by Benjamin Barnes, with ironwork by Cochrane & Co, Middlesborough, England. The railway bridge is also known as the Dubbo Lattice Railway Bridge. The property is owned by RailCorp, an agency of the Government of New South Wales. The bridge was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.[1]

The bridge is sited 462.762 kilometres (287.547 mi) from Sydney Central station.


During the 20-year period 1873-1893 there was a massive programme of public works in New South Wales, particularly in expanding the road and rail networks. It was a boom period that ended with a severe economic depression.[1]

Despite the boom conditions, the respective Chief Engineers, for Roads, William C Bennett, and for Railways, John Whitton, were constrained to economise by using as much local material as possible, consequently an enormous amount of hardwood timber was used for bridgeworks, mostly timber beam and timber truss bridges. However, there were many major rivers to be crossed, requiring long span bridges, for which no form of timber bridge was suitable. These large bridges had to be metal and supplied from England, a very expensive import cost to the successive colonial governments.[1]

Both Chief Engineers were British so they chose the widely used wrought iron lattice truss bridge in the half-through form. Twelve of these were built for the railways and 24 for roads. These two sets of iron lattice bridges are the most significant group of bridges of the colonial period. A high percentage are extant and still in use, 11 on railways and 18 on roads. The current railway lattice bridges are:[1]

Two former railway lattice bridges (1885 Georges River at Como and 1886 Parramatta River at Meadowbank) were converted for use by pedestrian/cycle ways.[1]

The 1871 lattice railway bridge over the Hunter River at Aberdeen was replaced by steel girders and demolished.[1]


A 3-span continuous iron lattice bridge. The spans are 48 metres (159 ft) to centres of piers and the lattice work has four triangulations. The piers of pairs of cast iron cylinders (supplied by Cochrane & Co, England). The bridge has wrought iron plate web girders at each end of the lattice bridge.[1]


As at 10 August 2006, the physical condition was good.[1]

Heritage listing[edit]

As at 10 August 2006, the bridge at the end of the yard is one of John Whitton's single track lattice bridges which were typical of the period of construction and is of high significance to the state system. The viaduct in leading to the actual bridge was originally timber but has been replaced by PWG steel.[1]

This bridge is a member of the most significant group of colonial bridges in New South Wales. Collectively, as items of railway infrastructure, they contributed significantly to the history and development of New South Wales. Each bridge is an imposing structure at its site. In terms of contemporary bridge technology the wrought iron lattice bridge was among the best for major bridgeworks.[1]

Dubbo rail bridge over Macquarie River was listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999 having satisfied the following criteria.[1]

The place is important in demonstrating the course, or pattern, of cultural or natural history in New South Wales.

Twelve wrought iron lattice railway bridges were built in New South Wales during the boom period for railway construction 1871-1887, starting at Aberdeen and ending at Cowra. Nine of the survivors are owned and managed by the Rail Access Corporation.[1]

The place is important in demonstrating aesthetic characteristics and/or a high degree of creative or technical achievement in New South Wales.

All nine iron lattice railway bridges are imposing structures.[1]

The place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group in New South Wales for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

Every iron lattice railway bridge crossed a major river which made it possible for the railway extension to develop the districts reached, socially and commercially.[1]

The place has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of the cultural or natural history of New South Wales.

The iron lattice bridge was a technically sound structure for the bridge technology of the late colonial period. Its strength and durability have shown it to have been a very cost-effective form of bridge.[1]

The place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural or natural places/environments in New South Wales.

Collectively, the iron lattice railway bridges represent a significant class of bridge structure.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Dubbo rail bridge over Macquarie River". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H01032. Retrieved 2 June 2018.


  • Best, Ross; Fraser, Don (1982). Railway Lattice Girder Bridges in New South Wales.
  • Forsyth, John. Historical Notes for each of the railway lines for each bridge.
  • Fraser, Don (1995). Bridges Down Under.


CC-BY-icon-80x15.png This Wikipedia article was originally based on Dubbo rail bridge over Macquarie River, entry number 01032 in the New South Wales State Heritage Register published by the State of New South Wales and Office of Environment and Heritage 2018 under CC-BY 4.0 licence, accessed on 2 June 2018.