Poverty Point Bridge.

Also known as the Tramway Bridge or the Old Steel Bridge, Poverty Point Bridge was designed by Mr. Timmins, an engineer from the Victorian Railways.

The prefabricated steel components were manufactured by Dorman Long and Co and erected in 1900 by Austral Otis Co from South Melbourne.

Dorman Long and Co was a Middlesborough firm – a city on the Tees straddling the North Yorkshire – Durham border. In Australia, of course, it is best known for its role in the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge two to three decades later.

The Poverty Point Bridge was part of a seven-mile, horse-drawn, two-foot gauge tramway to serve the Long Tunnel gold mine in Walhalla during the town’s gold rush.

There was an extensive network of tramways in the bush which transported structural timbers and thousands of tonnes of boiler-wood for the mine’s voracious furnaces.

The line closed between Platina and Walhalla in 1944 and the timber deck was later destroyed by bushfire.

In March 1976, the bridge was redecked by the Forests Commission using a Jayrow Bell 206 Jetranger to sling-load timber to the site.

The bridge is architecturally significant and is listed as state significance on the Victorian Heritage Register.

It is also part of the Alpine Walking Track but is currently closed.

Photos: FCRPA Collection


7 thoughts on “Poverty Point Bridge.

  1. Peter

    A great topic, and a super old bridge.

    Dorman Long and Coy was a Middlesborough firm – a city on the Tees straddling the North Yorkshire-Durham border.

    In Australia, of course it is best known for its role in the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge two to three decades later.

    I couldn’t see anything in Wikipedia about a London connection.

    I was there on the day, as was Ray Baker, by then DFO, Erica. Also, I think, Kester Baines – maybe Conrad Wood too?

    I don’t recall any contribution from 91 Squadron in terms of bridge decking – Oliver should be able to clarify that.

    But of course we did redeck Bruntons Bridge way downstream on the Thomson – 1979 annual camp.

    By the way, Euan Ferguson’s great-grandfather Mephan Ferguson built Bruntons.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I didnt realise the coathanger connection. I spoke with Oliver about the bridge decking when I met him on the train home oe day. I could have easily confused it with the nearby Bruntons bridge. Cheers


  2. Did the tramway close in 1944 too? The article implies that it did. It’s true that the Platina-Walhalla section of the VR 2ft6in line did – different line, different gauge. Just a thought. By the way, Rob, I wasn’t present at the re-decking. Cheers Kes


  3. 91 did not have any involvement in the redecking of the Poverty Point Bridge. I have often perched for lunch on the western side of that bridge and have been consumed by leeches, who enjoyed their lunches as well.

    The only bridge 91 contributed to in that area was Brunton’s, and that decking was burnt in a subsequent wildfire.

    It has since been replaced by metal decking.

    As an irrelevant add on, Carolyn’s grandparents had their Honeymoon in Walhalla, so we have a historical link to the area.

    They travelled in and out on the train.


    Oliver RAYMOND, PO Box 1362 or 32 Kassandra Drive, TRARALGON, VIC. 3844 AUSTRALIA oliverraymond@wideband.net.au 0411420345


  4. Thanks Peter. Apparently, the big mines were all closed by 1914, but a sawmill was set up in the yard of the Long Tunnel, so perhaps the tramway continued to feed that mill. It would be interesting to know more about the mill, and how long it operated. Cheers Kester Please note our e-mail address is now: kesnsuz@outlook.com Old address: kesnsuz@ncable.net.au. All ncable addresses will be de-activated on 6 June 2023. Thank you Kester Baines 115 Roslyn Rd, Belmont, VIC 3216 0416 224 637

    Liked by 1 person

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