Sunday History Photo / Qld

Submitted: Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 03:03
ThreadID: 105156 Views:5095 Replies:7 FollowUps:4
This Thread has been Archived
The Story Bridge is a heritage-listed steel cantilever bridge spanning the Brisbane River that carries vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic between the northern and the southern suburbs of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It is the longest cantilever bridge in Australia.
The bridge is part of Bradfield Highway and connects Fortitude Valley to Kangaroo Point. It is named for prominent public servant, John Douglas Story.
A bridge downstream of the Victoria Bridge was part of a larger plan, devised by Professor Roger Hawken of the University of Queensland in the 1920s, for a series of bridges over the Brisbane River to alleviate congestion on Victoria Bridge and to divert traffic away from the Brisbane central business district. The William Jolly Bridge was the first of the Hawken Plan bridges to be constructed. Lack of funds precluded the construction of the downstream bridge at that time. Initially plans called for a transporter bridge further downstream near New Farm.

In 1926 Kangaroo Point was recommended by the Brisbane City Council's Cross River Commission. Subsequently the bridge was constructed as a public works program during the Great Depression. The cost was to be no more than £1.6 million.
Before the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932 the Government of Queensland asked John Bradfield to design a new bridge in Brisbane.
The Queensland Government appointed John Bradfield on 15 December 1933 as consulting engineer to the Bureau of Industry who were in charge of the construction of the bridge. In June 1934 Bradfield's recommendation of a steel cantilever bridge was approved. The design for the bridge was based heavily on that of the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal, completed in 1930. On 30 April 1935 a consortium of two Queensland companies, Evans Deakin and Hornibrook Constructions, won the tender with a bid of £1,150,000.
Construction on the bridge began on 24 May 1935, with the first sod being turned by the then Premier of Queensland, William Forgan Smith. Components for the bridge were fabricated in a purpose-built factory at Rocklea. Work sometimes continued 24 hours per day. The bridge has only one pier on the northern bank but two piers on the lower southern bank, one to bear the weight (the main pier) and, further to the south, one to prevent the bridge from twisting (the anchor pier).

There was no need for an anchor pier on the northern bank as the bridge was anchored into schist cliff face. The major challenge in constructing the bridge was the southern foundations that went 40 metres below ground level. It was not possible to excavate to that level as water from the level would rapidly seep in. So a pneumatic caisson technique had to be used. As men were working under pressures of up to 4 times normal air pressure, a decompression period of almost 2 hours was needed at the end of each shift to avoid the bends. An on-site air lock hospital successfully treated the 65 cases of the bends that occurred. On 28 October 1939 the gap between the two sides was closed. A concrete decking was then laid, covered by a Trinidad pitch topping. The bridge was painted and sodium lighting was installed. The bridge approaches were also prepared.
Four men died during the construction of the bridge.
Until it was completed the bridge was known as the Jubilee Bridge in honour of King George V. It was opened on 6 July 1940 by Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, Governor of Queensland and named for John Douglas Story, a senior and influential public servant who had advocated strongly for the bridge's construction.

It took five years to construct and a river crossing near Kangaroo Point had first been recommended 14 years before the bridge was finally completed. One of the major reasons for building the Story Bridge was actually employment. During the Great Depression, the construction effort provided years of employment for many men as one of the then governments' three public works projects.
The Bridge is 1,072 metres long from the southern to northern anchor piers.
The river span is 282 metres long.
The Bridge's summit is 74 metres to ground, similar in height to a 22-story building.
The width of the Bridge is 24 metres, including footpaths.
The river clearance at low tide is 35 metres, or 10-stories.
39,100 cubic metres were excavated for foundations. 41,250 cubic metres of concrete used
12,000 tonnes of structural steel used, 1,650 tonnes of reinforcing steel used
1,500,000 rivets were used to construct the bridge.
Currently the bridge is repainted every 7 years using 17,500 litres of paint
There is approximately 105,000 square metres of painted steel surfaces.

gift by Daughter

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

Back Expand Un-Read 8 Moderator

Reply By: Echucan Bob - Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 08:22

Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 08:22
Of course these days, the residents of Kangaroo Point would have successfully stymied the project!

What a pity we can't still do 'nation building' projects like this. A high speed train between the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, Canberra, Latrobe Valley or Albury/Wodonga, Melbourne, ?Geelong, and Adelaide would provide a link more useful than the NBN, get millions of trucks off the road and planes out of the sky, and drag Australia kicking and screaming into the same era as Europe and Japan.

AnswerID: 521569

Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 08:45

Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 08:45
Thanks Doug

I had forgotten that the bridge used to have a toll.

AnswerID: 521571

Reply By: Rangiephil - Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 09:16

Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 09:16
Seeing the toll plaza photo makes me think I have been through them as a child.
Anyone know when the toll was discontinued?
I was born in 1949 .
There doesn't seem to be trolley bus catenery in the photos but the trolley buses were there by about 1960 AFAIR.
Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 521576

Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 17:07

Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 17:07
Info for you.

Initially a toll of sixpence was charged to use the bridge, with toll booths constructed at the southern end of the Bradfield Highway. The toll was removed in 1947. Between 1952 and 1969 trolley-buses operated by the Brisbane City Council used the bridge.

gift by Daughter

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

FollowupID: 802312

Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 13:03

Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 13:03
Thanks for the story, Doug. I wonder how closely the Story Bridge design follows the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal.
Funnily enough, my SIL's father was French-Canadian, and his name was Jacques Cartier!
He was an aircraft engineer and his father was a police officer.
However, I suspect that the Jacques Cartier name is sort of like John Smith in the Anglo-Saxon culture!

What amazes me about these huge projects, and a factor we rarely consider - is that hardly a single item in these constructions weighs more than 5 tons.
A 3 ton truck was regarded as a decent size truck in the 1930's, a 5 ton truck was a big truck, and a 7 tonner was the equivalent of a road train today!
You'll notice the tipper trucks doing the earthworks are only 3 ton Fords.

Many roads and the smaller wooden bridges had load limits of 10 tons in the 1930's.
It was extremely rare to find a crane that could lift 5 tons. A 3 ton crane was a decent-size crane. Semi-trailers were extremely rare, and a pretty crude setup when you could find one.

I would like to see how they transported the bridge beams. They were probably transported using a 5 ton truck, and using the beam as a jinker, utilising a crude single axle at the rear - as compared to placing a beam on a semi-trailer today.

Trailer brakes were non-existent on any of the crude jinkers of the 1930's, they usually just utilised an old axle off a wrecked truck.
However, speeds were much lower than today, with 50kmh being a good speed for a truck, and 70kmh was absolutely flying.
AnswerID: 521593

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 13:29

Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 13:29
Ah-ha! I found a crucial construction picture! The bridge beams were railed in, rather than trucked!
This was often done when the weight or size of the beams deemed them too difficult to transport by road.

Of course, in the 1930's and 1940's, the Govt was trying to suppress truck transport, as it was posing a huge threat to the Govt-owned railways!
Therefore, the Govt probably insisted in the original tender, that the railways be tasked to deliver all the construction materials for the Story Bridge.

This would have been done to ensure full employment and no job losses in the railways, too - at a time when Australia was still recovering from the Depression.
Many of the older folk, now gone, told me that they still felt the effects of the Depression right up until the start of WW2 - and the Govt was still instituting "job-creation" projects, as late as 1938.

Transporting bridge beam for the Story Bridge
FollowupID: 802300

Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 17:03

Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 17:03
Well done, thanks Ron.

gift by Daughter

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

FollowupID: 802311

Reply By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 17:28

Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 17:28
Thanks Doug another great read...... John Bradfield was a ' lucky' man having TWO highways named after him ..... both going over bridges...
AnswerID: 521603

Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 18:23

Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 18:23
Yes he was Tony, but one looks like a Coat Hanger....

gift by Daughter

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

FollowupID: 802320

Reply By: gbc - Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 19:30

Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 19:30
Cheers Doug,
My Grandfather was a shift leader for Evans Deakin/Transfield during those days building the bridge. He was a boilermaker/blacksmith, and a union rep in the days when they were well and truly needed.
An unfortunate accident occured on the bridge whereby a welder was dislodged above him. He caught the welder, thus saving the lives of those working below him. His resultant injuries (lower back) placed him in a back brace for years with nil compo/rehab in those days. My father left school at 13 and got an apprenticeship as a chef at the Belleview hotel to help get the family through.

I have also had a mate suicide off the North end of the bridge.

I try not to be affected by such things, but your post brings it all back. I thank you for this, because good or bad, it makes us who we are.


AnswerID: 521613

Reply By: eerfree - Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 21:20

Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 21:20
Interesting that the Story Bridge was designed and built to take Three lanes of traffic each way, pity they could not do that these days instead of building Two lane bridges and then stuffing up the traffic and economy to extend the system a short time later (Brisbane's Gateway Motorway).
AnswerID: 521629

Sponsored Links