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Robinson's Bridge
Title : Robinson's Bridge Robinson's Bridge
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Source : PRG 280/1/14/129 Searcy Collection
Date of creation : ca. 1883
Format : Photograph
Catalogue record
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Description :

Robinson's Bridge, Port Adelaide, South Australia; the bridge crosses over the waterway known as the South Australian Company's Basin which leads into the Port River on the left.

The Tam O'Shanter Bridge or the South Australian Company's 'fixed bridge' was demolished in 1857 and replaced in 1858 by a swing bridge. This bridge capable of carrying over 50 tons, was made of cast and wrought iron, was 130 feet long and had a combined carriage and foot way of 17 feet and a central opening of 40 feet. It took six men 10 minutes to open the bridge using a capstan. By 1880 the bridge's opening was found to be too small for the increasing size of ships, and business and shipping interests in Port Adelaide began lobbying for a new bridge. By August 1882 the bridge had been permanently swung open as a temporary measure.

A new iron bridge was designed by the Engineer-in-Chief Henry Mais and built by Handysides of Derby, England. It was shipped in May 1883, arriving in Port Adelaide 27 July and was erected in five weeks. At its official opening the bridge was named Robinson's bridge after the Governor of South Australia. It was 129 feet long, with a 20 feet roadway and two footpaths. It could be swung open by two men with a key turned by a hand lever and provided a 60 feet wide passage for shipping into the Company Basin. Rail lines carried freight across to the wharves on the far side. By 1920 the opening of the bridge was being effected by a 15hp electric motor.

The Robinson Bridge was closed in March 1935 and demolished later that year. Traffic was diverted to the new Ocean Steamers Road further east. Two further images can be seen at B 12242 and B 5596. This latter image was taken only a few years before the bridge was demolished.

Period : 1884-1913
Place : Port Adelaide
Region : Adelaide metropolitan area
Further reading :

Ritter, Ron Spanning time and tide: the bridges of the Port Adelaide River [Para Vista, S.A.]: R.C. Ritter, 1996

Couper-Smartt, John Port Adelaide: tales from a "commodious harbour" Port Adelaide: Friends of the South Australian Maritime Museum, 2003

Parsons, Ronald, Southern passages: a maritime history of South Australia Netley, S. Aust.: Wakefield Press, 1986

Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

State Library of South Australia: Mortlock Wing exhibitions. Wooden walls and Iron Sides August 2004-



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