Victoria Bridge - Brisbane - QLD - Australia
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member CADS11
S 27° 28.394 E 153° 01.194
56J E 501966 N 6961148
Quick Description: History of Vctoria Bridge former Brisbane Bridge
Location: Queensland, Australia
Date Posted: 3/23/2020 11:15:53 PM
Waymark Code: WM127Y9
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Grahame Cookie
Views: 1

Long Description:
The signs read:

Following the Moreton Bay convict colony's settlement of Brisbane in 1825, boats were the primary mode of transportation between the Brisbane River's north and south banks. In the 1860s however, the ever increasing population prompted the construction of the city's first permanent cross-river bridge. Works began in 1864 and by June 1865, it had officially opened. The bridge was made of timber and was aptly named the Brisbane Bridge. In 1867, just two years after it opened, the bridge succumbed to a woodworm infestation and collapsed.

THE VICTORIA BRIDGE Even though its lifespan was short, the Brisbane Bridge had become a vital link between Brisbane's north and south river banks. The decision was made t replace it, but this time using steel so that it wouldn't suffer its predecessor's fate. The bridge officially opened in 1874 and was named the Victoria Bridge after the reigning monarch at the time, Queen Victoria. It was initially a toll bridge, but the tolls were abolished in 1877 due to a lack of revenue.

In February 1893, Brisbane suffered devastating floods. There was 500mm of rainfall over eight days and the Brisbane River rose seven metres above its ordinary level. The flood destroyed the Victoria Bridge, with local papers at the time reporting: "At 4 this morning nearly one-third of the Victoria Bridge at the northern end yielded to the immense pressure of the water, and there is now no means of communications between North and South Brisbane" (The Brisbane Courier, 6 February 1893). Once the flood waters had receded, a temporary bridge was constructed over the river, but it took four more years to build another permanent bridge.

Following the collapse of the Victoria Bridge in 1893, a steam boat, Pearl, was used to carry passengers between the Brisbane River's north and south banks. However, on 13 February 1896, disaster struck. Approximately 80 passengers aboard Pearl were travelling from the city to Musgrave Wharf at South Brisbane when a strong current pushed it off-course and into an anchored government steamer, Lucinda. As Pearl collided with Lucinda's anchor chains, it split in two and began to sink. Most of the passengers and crew were thrown into the fast-flowing water and had to fight against the strong current to find safety. Tragically, twenty-three people drowned in the disaster.

The replacement Victoria Bridge was designed by Alfred Barton Brady, Queensland's then-Government Architect, and opened in 1897. It was made of iron with stone abutments at each end and it had a divided carriageway for traffic, with two lanes operating in each direction. Other qualities of the bridge included pedestrian walkways and railways for electric trams. The Victoria Bridge remained Brisbane's only permanent crossing point between the north and south banks of the river until 1932, when the Grey Street Bridge (known today as the William Jolly Bridge) opened. In 1966 the bridge was deemed inadequate for Brisbane's burgeoning traffic needs, so works commenced on a bigger, sturdier version made from concrete.

In June 1918 a dreadful accident occurred on the southern side of the Victoria Bridge. Eleven year old Australian-Greek boy, Hector Vasyli, was killed when he was accidentally struck by a passing vehicle during a celebratory procession of returning World War One troops. The accident devastated the local community. Hector was known for his patriotism and had been extremely excited to welcome the troops home he had even spent his own money on gifts to present to them. In December 1918, a marble memorial plaque was placed on the bridge abutment to commemorate Hector. To this day, the abutment remains an important location for Brisbane's Australian and Greek community and an Anzac Day service is held there annually.

In 1969, the current Victoria Bridge opened. Once this bridge was in use, the 1897 bridge was demolished with the exception of its southern abutment. The decision to keep the abutment was made for two key reasons; it contained Hector Vasyli's memorial and it served as a monument to the first permanent bridge to be constructed across the Brisbane River that did not succumb to the forces of nature. The new-look bridge was designed to be sleek and elegant. It features pre-cast and pre-stressed concrete box girders, two spans of 85m and a centre span of 142m.

In 1885, the Metropolitan Tramway and Investment Company began pr,-Derating trams in Brisbane. The trams were horse drawn and featured timber carriages that had been imported from America. The first service was on August 10th and travelled from the Victoria Bridge to the 1,:nibition Building in Bowen Hills. Twelve years later, electric trams were introduced and began operating along the Victoria Bridge and several inner city suburbs such as Woolloongabba, Paddington and New Farm. By the early 1900s, tram travel had become the most popular way for people to move around Brisbane. Through the Second World War, tram travel became even more popular due to petrol rationing. After the war, passenger numbers decreased as car ownership increased. Also contributing to this decline was the introduction of buses and in April 1969, trams ceased operating.

With its rich history, the Victoria Bridge abutment has become an iconic and cherished part of Brisbane. It is frequented by locals and visitors alike and still holds key features of the old bridge including granite tablets that once held gas lamps and tram track remnants. In 2014, the decision was made to refurbish the abutment so that visitors could continue to explore it for many years to come. The refurbishment works took place in 2015 and involved installing a pedestrian bridge between Victoria Bridge and the abutment to make it easily accessible for visitors; refurbishing the pavement; and installing CCTV and new lighting to make the area even safer.
Age/Event Date: 1865, 1825, 1860, 1867, 1874, 1877, 1893, 1896, 1897, 1932, 1966, 1918, 1969, 1885, 2015, 2014

Type of Historic Marker: Monument

Type of Historic Marker if other: Not listed

Related Website: Not listed

Historic Resources.: Not listed

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CADS11 visited Victoria Bridge - Brisbane - QLD - Australia 3/23/2020 CADS11 visited it