Hampden bridge. The only surviving suspension bridge in Down Under.

I just love big creations of engineering minds. Mad minds, sometimes. At least I still can’t really understand how did they manage to build such enormous thing as Sydney Harbor Bridge in 1930’th. Of course, I have read its history and seen archive photos, but the amount of the work they did still looks enormous (and it really was enormous!) to me.

But, as it happens, Australia still has something not that gigantic but not even a bit less exciting monument of engineering genius. Before we stopped for a lunch at Cambewarra lookout, we passed Kangaroo valley, where we did not find any kangaroos (and we did not really look for them, actually), but we have found something very spectacular. That was Hampden bridge. If you follow the link, you may find that the bridge was build in the end of 19th century and it is still in use, and RTA regularly checks its condition and it is still safe. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Hampden bridge. Side view.

As I understand, «suspension» in relation to bridges means that their span or spans do not have support from below as they are literally hanged with ropes (sometimes made from steel) attached to pylons. This obviously limits the load bridge can carry and, probably, brings some other constraints in. This bridge has only one traffic lane and the sign in front of it says that only one truck is allowed on int at the same time.

Hampden bridge. Front (or back) view

The construction itself looks just awesome. Support pylons made from sandstone

Pylons of Hampden bridge.

and bolts made from the steel. I bet the surface is made from railway sleepers.

Iron bolts of Hampden bridge.

By the way, those who stand in he middle of the span at the time when a load truck crosses the bridge can feel its suspended nature in full — the bridge jumps in a very funny matter. In the same time, this sign

Jumping is prohibited from Hampden Bridge

looks a little bit weird — the river below does not really look as a safe landing spot (I am not talking about other reasons of jumping from the bridge except making a big splash and having much fun!).

It also deserves special mentioning that in the landscape where gum trees dominate and they cover everything including rocks surrounding the valley, this memorial of human constructions skills looks really not something you might really expect. Eiffel tower would look even more weird, though, but even this still reminds that Australia really is a young country.

Side view of Hampden bridge's pylon.

And this is great. We just wanted to see more.

View Larger Map

To be continued…

  1. Tourist attractions in NSW at blinnov’s blog - pingback on 16 декабря, 2007 в 10:07 пп
  2. Berry. A spirit of Wild West. at blinnov’s blog - pingback on 26 декабря, 2007 в 12:42 дп

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