|Opened on 7 December 1888, this is the second oldest lift bridge in New South Wales. Unfortunately in July 2000 the lift span was severely damaged and is currently protected by a Bailey bridge. Its fate is yet to be decided.
Percy Allen designed the lift bridge with a fully braced upper framework to hold the tops of the posts in position, in all directions. In 1896 E M de Burgh modified the lifting mechanism such that it could be worked by one man.
The impetus for lift bridges such as this one, was to "capture" the New South Wales wool trade from the river paddle steamers and direct it away from Melbourne and Adelaide to Sydney. Steamers were also using the Murray River, consequently most river crossings required a movable span bridge with a lift bridge being the most common (Movable span Bridges in New South Wales prior to 1915, D J Fraser 1985).
The other surviving pre-1915 lift bridges over the inland rivers are at Wilcannia 1896 over the Darling river, but out of service, and over the Murray River at Tocumwal (1895) for VicRail, Swan Hill (1896), Cobram (1902) and Barham (1905). Public Works engineer, with those at Bourke and Brewarrina, they are a very significant set of bridges.
Its older partner is over the Darling River at North Bourke was opened on 4 August 1883. Both came from essentially the same design by Public Works engineer J H Daniels. However, at Bourke the lift posts were no connected at their tops by longitudinal elements (parallel to the lift span) which allowed the post to deflect slightly inwards during the lifting operation which caused the lift span to jam between the post when nearing full lift.
The bridge is now closed to traffic and is used as a pedestrian bridge only.