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Rail Bridge (Humphery)

Place Details
Place ID 600518
Registration Type State Heritage
Place Name Rail Bridge (Humphery)
Place Classification Built
Place Category Transport - Rail
Place Type Bridge - railway
Themes 5 Moving goods, people and information / 5.3 Using rail
Register Entry Date 21/10/1992

Address Mungar to Monto line
Town / Suburb GAYNDAH
Post Code 4625

Cultural Heritage Significance
Principal Period
of Significance
1910s (fabric)
Criterion A This bridge, which allowed the railway to cross a deep gully, is on a branch line linking early inland towns with Maryborough and demonstrates the way in which Queensland was developed by linking important inland resources with ports. It demonstrates the skill with which the technology of the era was used to solve the problems of climatic conditions and terrain encountered by railway engineers in this process.
Criterion F This bridge was built to an innovative design with reinforced concrete discontinuous wall-type pinned arches, the second of its type in Australia and only the seventh concrete bridge in Queensland. It was the last of a series of concrete arch bridges built for the Queensland railways between 1900 and 1913 and the third on this line.
Criterion H The bridge is an important example of the work of William Pagan, Chief Engineer for Railways and an important figure in the early history of engineering in Queensland.

History The concrete arch bridge supporting the railway line 2.8 kilometres west of Humphery was constructed in 1913 as the last of several bridges on this line. Maryborough requested a rail link to the long established town of Gayndah in the 1860s, although construction did not begin until the late 1880s. The line opened to Brooweena in July 1889, Boompa in March 1891 and Biggenden in April 1891. Although the rails ended at Degilbo, this section was not opened until 1893 when flood damage to the Mary River Bridge at Antigua cut off the lime supply for the sugar industry at Maryborough and Bundaberg and a new supply was opened up near Degilbo. The line ended at Degilbo until the extension to Gayndah began with a 32 kilometre extension to Wetheron that opened in December 1905. Gayndah was finally reached in December 1907. In 1910 a further extension was proposed. Construction of the railway between Gayndah and Mundubbera began in April 1911, anticipating by a few months the officially turning of the first sod by Paget, Minister for Railways, on 7 July 1911. The line was opened for traffic between Gayndah and Boomerang in November 1913 and to Mundubbera in February 1914. The line was further extended in the 1920s and reached Monto in September 1928. The use of concrete arches for railway bridges is a distinctive feature in Queensland and South Australia. The first concrete bridge in Queensland was constructed at Petrie Terrace in 1897. Between 1900 and 1913, six arch concrete railway bridges were constructed in Queensland approximating with the term in office of William Pagan as Chief Engineer of Railways and it is believed that he was responsible for their design. The first two, at Rangeview, near Toowoomba and at Deep Creek, Chowey, followed the form of a stone arch bridge. That constructed at Steep Rocky Creek, Gayndah in 1906 departs completely from stone forms and has wall type arches supporting vertical diaphragms with a deck slab carrying the track and ballast. This bridge was built to cross a ravine in rugged country and represents a similar design and technical developments to meet similar requirements to that at Humphery, which was completed a few years later.

Description The bridge is a concrete arch bridge carrying the Mungar to Monto railway over a dry gully some 2.8 km south west of Humphrey Station and 14 km west of Gayndah. It has five semicircular arch spans, with solid concrete spandrel walls. Although a simple bridge, it is well detailed with projecting cornices at the bases of the arches, attached pillars above the piers extending above the deck and recessed spandrel walls. The bridge carries a single 1.07m gauge railway on a ballasted deck. Its spans are 7.9m, three at 10.7m and 7.9m totalling 42.9m. The solid arch ribs are semicircular, with projecting cornices separating them visually from the piers below. The smaller end spans spring from a higher level, again marked at the pier by a small cornice. The recessed spandrel walls are finished off with the form concrete slightly patterned to contrast with the smooth finish of the projecting faces of the arches. The railings are of tubular metal between concrete pillars at the piers.

Element Name Rail Bridge (Humphery)
Designer Name Pagan, William
Design Period 1900 - 1914 Early 20th century
Construction Period 1913 - 1913
Construction Method Arch
Fabric (Exterior Structure) Concrete
Place Components Pier/s (bridge)

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Last updated: 15 March 2013

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