Historic NSW sandstone bridge to be restored

Image of construction on Lansdowne bridge courtesy of Roderick Eime.

One of Australia’s oldest sandstone bridges will undergo a significant restoration for the first time in more than 50 years.

Work will start this week on the historic Lansdowne Bridge in Sydney’s south-west.

The 33 metre arch bridge was built by convicts in the 1830’s and has the largest span of any surviving masonry bridge in the country.

Transport for NSW Sydney Maintenance Director David Fishburn said the heritage-listed bridge carries eastbound traffic from the Hume Highway across Prospect Creek.

“The size, appearance and durability of the bridge, which connects the suburbs of Canley Vale and Carramar, make it an outstanding example of colonial engineering,” Mr. Fishburn said.

“The bridge hasn’t needed a complete maintenance upgrade since 1966 but it’s now time to ensure we protect its structural integrity, heritage values and character into the future.”

Work will be carried out on the bridge until late this year.

“Work includes replacing sandstone blocks, cleaning the stone and repairing the drainage system to help reduce the pace of corrosion,” Mr. Fishburn said.

“A waterproof layer added in 1966 had the aim of preserving the stonework but has caused some of the sandstone surface to degrade. The bridge structure itself is in good condition but we need to take action now.”

Image by Stewart Watters, image copyright owner is Heritage Branch.

Lansdowne Bridge was opened on 26 January 1836 and is the second-oldest surviving sandstone bridge in NSW, behind the Lennox Bridge at Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains, completed three years earlier. Tasmania’s Richmond Bridge – opened in 1825 – is believed to be the oldest sandstone bridge still in use in Australia.

Governor Sir Richard Bourke laid the foundation stone and named the bridge after the 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne. Lansdowne Bridge was listed on the State Heritage Register in 2000.

Designed by David Lennox, the bridge is 65 metres long and 10 metres wide, constructed from sandstone sourced downstream on the Georges River.


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