Saturday, December 1, 2012

Opening of Wheelers Bridge, Creswick 1900



My Great Grandfather, Robert Williams Jones, was born at 5pm on the 9th December 1868 at Slaughter Yard Hill near Creswick, Victoria, Australia.  Robert worked as a miner in the Creswick area until his death at age 52, at the Creswick Hospital.

The photo below is the only photo that we have of Robert William Jones at "home", either in North Creswick or Daylesford.  He is standing near the window.



30 March 1900
According to family, my Great Grandfather, Robert William Jones, is among the men in this picture.
Unfortunately I don't know which one  he is.
"Advantage was taken by the municipalities of Creswick borough and Creswick shire of the presence of Mr. Graham, the Minister of Public Works in the Ballarat District on Friday last to arrange for the testing and formal opening of the new Wheeler's bridge, near Creswick, build on the Monier principle.  The Ministerial party, which was conducted through the district by Mr. Peacock and Mr. Grose, MLA's, proceeded by train to Creswick, and was driven thence to the site of the bridge at Lawrence.  The official test took place immediately, and consisted of running several times over the whole of the roadway two heavy traction engines, weighing in all 22 tons.  The bridge, which consists of two spans, each of 75ft, with a width of roadway of 94ft, withstood the test to the entire satisfaction of all concerned, Mr Graham remarking that it was a highly creditable piece of work, and marked a distinct era in municipal engineering practice.  After the test, Mr Graham was entertained at luncheon by the president of the Creswick shire, and in replying to the toast of his health, highly complimented the district for its enterprise.  The bridge, whose total cost was a little over £4,000, was erected by Messrs. Monash and Anderson, of Melbourne."

The Argus
Tuesday 3 April 1900
Page 4
Source: trove.nla.gov.au

The opening of Wheelers Bridge, Creswick
30 March 1900

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27 comments:

  1. It must have been a really big deal for a community to get a bridge. That's something we just take for granted now because we have so many routes and methods of transportation. It's a shame you can't identify your ancestor in the top photo.

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    1. You were quick in commenting:)

      £4000 doesn't seem like much for a bridge now but it must have been alot of money in 1900.

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  2. It's a good thing the bridge didn't fail, after putting in the time and money. The engineering of bridges is an amazing thing, right up there with space travel as far as I'm concerned.

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    1. The old bridges certainly seem to last better than the current bridges.
      Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. It's a wonderful bridge -- I love the archways! How nice to know that your great-grandfather was there....

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    1. Thanks Deb.

      I love the brickwork behind the party. Imagine the work to cut all those bricks in those days!

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  4. Bridges are the gateway to all! Wonderful post, but mostly if I haven't mention this before I have to now- What a stunning background and amazing blog you have designed. I am so impressed- it's just super-duper!

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    1. Thank you Karen. I appreciate it.

      I have always found the photo in the background appealing. To me, it is so representative of times gone past in Australia. The wagon, billy, swagman, campfire and dog with the scrub in the background.

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  5. How wonderful to have such a connection - an ancestor and a bridge - perfect for this week's theme.

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    1. Thank you. I would really like to find out more about the Jones family. It is one of my "Brick Walls". My grandmother had a rough upbringing with both parents dying when she was a teenager and she didn't speak about her family.

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  6. Well recorded for posterity; it is actually a beautiful and strong looking bridge, one a flood can not destroy like the many wooden bridges which were build. In 1974 we were looking at a property wedged between 2 wooden bridges, both had big damage as there had been a flood. We were scared to drive over them.Certainly the property was very picturesque with the two wild rivers, but to much maintenance with the bridges and the road etc.

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    1. The bridge does look very strong and modern for such a small mining community.

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  7. Is this bridge still there? In that case this post should be displayed at the entrance! A nice piece of (family) history.

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    1. Thanks Peter.

      Yes the bridge is still there but for light traffic only
      http://www.creswick.net/buildings_and_places/wheelers-bridge

      I haven't been there yet but Creswick is definitely on my list of places to visit!

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  8. I wonder whether Slaughter Yard Hill was as quaint as its name.

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    1. Ha Ha Ha. I wondered if someone would pick up on that :) They were a poor family so it was probably the only place that they could afford to live!

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  9. That wall looks as if it is made of stone (shaped by man) rather than bricks (made by man) stone bridges are always more enduring. Slaughter Hill may have a history - it depends what was slaughtered there.

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    1. I don't know about the technicalities but I would call them stone bricks. lol. I agree that those built with hand chipped stone have so much more character.
      I haven't been able to find anything about Slaughter Yard Hill. There was also a "Bloody Gully" nearby. I will visit the area in future to find out more.

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  10. Another great feat of engineering :-) Jo

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  11. Is that a chicken house he is standing next too in the first photo?

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    1. I don't think so Kristin. On the back of the photo it says "this is the back of our house and Dad at the Garth room window and another young man and Allan Wright in the doorway and the summer house with the creeper getting up to the top"

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  12. I think it would be quite scary to be the ones testing the bridge's strength. Brave men indeed!

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  13. Thanks Sharon, I have a mission for tomorrow now! I've just (five mins ago) found out that my g-grandfather's brother Thomas Little is listed as resident at Wheelers Bridge on his marriage certificate. Lovely to encounter your delightful site as the second link in a search for the "area". The image of the bridge with buildings in the background gives an impression of the area well. As he was married in Dec 1897, I'm now wondering if he was working on the bridge. He was a miner.
    Julie

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  14. Another post full of well researched information, and wonderful photos Sharon, just like those I so enjoyed during the "Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge". It therefore gives me much pleasure to nominate you for the "Blog of the Year 2012 Award". The details can be found on: http://caiteile.com/2013/01/10/blog-of-the-year-2012-award-2nd-star/ I do so hope you will accept. Cheerio for now, Catherine.

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    1. Thanks you so much Catherine. Just what I needed to re-energise my blogging:)

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  15. Hello Sharon, Another great post. Cheers, Catherine

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