6 November 2022

Funding paves way for Gundagai's Prince Alfred Bridge memorial

| Edwina Mason
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The historic Prince Alfred Bridge viaduct ferried Hume Highway traffic for decades until it was decommissioned in 1984. Photo: State Library of NSW.

The next step in the memorialisation of Gundagai’s iconic Prince Alfred Bridge has seen the NSW Government this week commit $290,000 to the project.

The Prince Alfred Bridge timber road viaduct was removed in 2021 amid undertakings the historic structure would be commemorated through a memorial built from some of the salvaged timber trusses.

The memorial concept aims to commemorate the bridge’s heritage, cultural and social significance while creating a new tourism site for Gundagai.

The 711-metre timber bridge was built in 1896 and carried traffic across the Gundagai floodplain until it was closed in 1984 and then removed last year due to public safety concerns.

READ ALSO Gundagai’s historic bridge finally surrenders to the water above

A recommended proposal developed by consultant heritage architects Conrad Gargett was placed on exhibition for community comment in May this year following the assessment of almost 140 ideas put forward earlier by Gundagai residents.

The memorial would include features at the north end of the former bridge site off Sheridan Street as part of the Gundagai Heritage Walk, which would direct visitors to a second memorial site located on the floodplain below.

One of the concept proposals for memorialisation of Prince Alfred Bridge includes a viewing area from Sheridan Street, near the centre of town. Photo: Conrad Gargett architects.

The proposed concept would use the salvaged timber plus wire sculptures, historic photos and information, and technology to remember the bridge.

In making the funding announcement this week, Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said features to be funded by Crown Lands would include:

  • An interpretation panel with text and photos on the history of the bridge at a public viewing area off Sheridan Street overlooking the floodplain.
  • A public gathering area on the floodplain off O.I. Bell Drive with recycled bridge timber used to create seating and decorative bollards, a reinstated bridge trestle, and a heritage interpretation panel with text and photos.
  • A 3D online model recreating the sights and sounds of the bridge that would be accessible via a QR code on the interpretation panels.

Ms Cooke said if further funding became available Crown Lands would consider extra elements including wire sculpture artworks at both locations and additional seating and decorative bollards.

Work to construct the memorials is expected to commence in early 2023 following the finalisation of design works.

READ ALSO A pictorial tribute to Gundagai’s Prince Alfred Bridge

Original Article published by Edwina Mason on About Regional.

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