PYR-BRI-06.jpg (99370 bytes) Sydney Architecture Images- Pyrmont

Pyrmont Bridge

architect

Percy Allan, Engineer in Chief, Department of Public Works, NSW

location

between Pyrmont and the city, on Pyrmont Bridge Road

date

1899-1902

style

Federation Queen Anne

construction

Pyrmont Bridge has a number of discrete components: the masonry and concrete abutments and retaining walls and embanked approaches, faced with sandstone; the timber Allan truss side spans; the stone pivot and rest piers; and the central steel swing span. Had the first electric lights in Sydney. The choice of electric power (over steam) was seen as somewhat unorthodox and unBritish (American technology). It was the right decision, obviously.

type

Bridge
 
 
 
Something of a melee!!
 
  The original Pyrmont Bridge, circa 1870 (seen from the Town Hall tower). The old Pyrmont Bridge (1857) crossing Darling Harbour was purchased by the Government in 1884 for £49,600, after the tolls were abolished.
 
Percy Allan
 
 
 
 
Above images source- http://www.monorails.org/index.html
 
 
Under construction, 1901.
 
Old Pyrmont power station (now site of Casino).
 
1857 First Pyrmont Bridge opens 17 March
1899 Construction starts on new bridge 6 September
1902 New electrically operated Pyrmont Bridge opens 28 June
1907 Pyrmont Bridge acclaimed as a marvel of modern engineering at international conference of the Institute of Civil Engineers (London)
1981 Pyrmont Bridge permanently closed to traffic 7 August
1984 Shipping and railway terminals close. Darling Harbour Authority formed - redevelopment plans launched
1988 The new Darling Harbour opens. Bridge returns to active service
1992 Bridge opens for the 600,000th time
2002 100th anniversary
 
Length: 369 metres.
Original construction of present bridge cost 112,500 pounds.
Fourteen spans make up the bridge, twelve made from Australian Ironbark timber and the two of the central swingspan from steel.

Elevation of Allan Truss

Supports made of concrete and Sydney Amber sandstone, from Pyrmont.
Central support weighs 6,800 tonnes, is 13 metres in diameter and 19 metres deep. 10 metres lie below the harbour floor.

Pyrmont Bridge Supports

Takes approximately 60 seconds to open.
Opens fully to 83 degrees.
Driven by the original two 50Hp 600V DC General Electric type 57 electric motors.
Manual drum-type General Electric tramway controllers used to drive the motors.
Power originally drawn from Ultimo Powerhouse (now Powerhouse Museum).
Bridge opening required for vessels 6 to 14 metres in height. For taller ships the Monorail beam is opened with the bridge.

Thanks to http://www.shfa.nsw.gov.au/pyrmontbridge/index.html 

  click thumbnails for larger images
  pyrmontbridgetrafficstopped.jpg (38606 bytes)pyr-construction3-rollers_historic.jpg (153357 bytes)Pyrmont_new_n_old.jpg (111170 bytes)
  PYR-BRI-06.jpg (99370 bytes)PYR-BRI-01.jpg (97709 bytes)PYR-BRI-03.jpg (95175 bytes)
Above- control kiosk. Permanently manned.
  PYR-BRI-05.jpg (110712 bytes)PYR-BRI-02.jpg (109500 bytes)
 
  Above- control kiosk interior configuration as originally installed. Still exactly the same today.
 
The control mechanisms are actually just tramway control mechanisms from the time. Still in perfect working order. Glebe Island Bridge was originally identical.
The first Pyrmont Bridge was a timber structure with a 'swing panel' to allow ships to pass. In the first two
weeks 20,000 pedestrians paid the one penny toll. It was also crossed by '932 carts and drays, 43 gigs,
17 carriages and 125 horse and rider.' When the government bought the bridge for £52,500 from the
Pyrmont Bridge Company in 1884, they abolished the toll. The wooden Pyrmont Bridge vanished with
the construction in 1902 of a new steel bridge which took 33 months to build and was completed in time
to accommodate Sydney's first cars. Its steel wing span was driven by electric power before Sydney
had electric street lighting. In the 2 I years following its opening, it was estimated to have opened
200,000 times and on only one occasion did the arching mechanism fail.

In 1857 butchers needed access to Glebe Island Abattoirs and the bridge which was built also connected
Balmain to the city by road. Three further bridges were built in 1884 and 1885 over Iron Cove,
the Parramatta River and the Lane Cove River, finally allowing easy access to the North Shore. A
recent example of development was the completion of Anzac Bridge in the 1990s.

Pynnont Bridge was opened to foot traffic only with the development of Darling Harbour in the
1980s at which time Sydney's newest mode of transport, the monorail, began operations across the
Pyrmont Bridge as part of its twelve minute circular journey.
 
History

The old Pyrmont Bridge (1857) crossing Darling Harbour was purchased by the Government in 1884 for £49,600, after the tolls were abolished. In 1891 competitive designs were invited for a new bridge on the south side of the old structure, but due to the economic depression no further action was taken until 1894, when, after prolonged inquiry and the consideration of about twenty six schemes, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works decided in favour of a design for a steel bridge with a swing span of 54 feet, affording two 70-foot clear fairways, submitted by the Public Works Department (PWD). 

The foundations stone of the new bridge was laid by the Hon. E.W. O’Sullivan, State Minister for Works, on 6 September, 1899; and the bridge opened for traffic on 28 June 1902, by his Excellency Vice-Admiral Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson, K.C.B., Governor of New South Wales. 
Powered by electricity from the Ultimo Powerhouse, the swing bridge could be opened and closed in 45 seconds. Percy Allan, PWD Engineer-in-Chief of bridge design, designed over 550 bridges in NSW. 

In 1981 the Wran Government ordered the bridge to be demolished, but later revoked this decision. The bridge was restored and incorporated as a pedestrian bridge in the redevelopment of Darling Harbour, in the late 1980s.
 
The first Pyrmont Bridge was a low wooden structure with a manually operated centre span, opened in 1857. The current Pyrmont Bridge (1902) was once the main route west out of Sydney. Designed by Percy Allan, it is a truss bridge with a central opening span which still pivots horizontally to allow ships to pass through. Weighing 800 tons, the central span can open and close within 44 seconds at the touch of a button. The bridge was closed to motor traffic in 1981.

Former Rail Line and Goods Yard, now Darling Harbour Complex

The Darling Harbour goods yards became important in the 1870s with the growth of the wool industry and the construction of many
woolstores on the peninsula. Other industries would take advantage of this intersection between rail and shipping, both for exporting and importing, and by 1918 there were sidings all the way to the end of the Pyrmont peninsula, as well as a rail loop (now the Sydney Light Rail). The growth of road freight meant that by the early 1980s the great woolstores emptied, the goods yards fell into disuse, and businesses in the area languished. Massive redevelopment of the area since the 1980s created Sydney’s Darling Harbour which includes the Chinese Gardens, Harbourside Shopping Complex and the Australian National Maritime Museum.
 
The old Pyrmont Bridge (1857) crossing Darling Harbour was purchased by the Government in 1884 for £49,600, after the tolls were abolished. In 1891 competitive designs were invited for a new bridge on the south side of the old structure, but due to the economic depression no further action was taken until 1894, when, after prolonged inquiry and the consideration of about twenty six schemes, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works decided in favour of a design for a steel bridge with a swing span of 54 feet, affording two 70-foot clear fairways, submitted by the Public Works Department (PWD). The foundations stone of the new bridge was laid by the Hon. E.W. O’Sullivan, State Minister for Works, on 6 September, 1899; and the bridge opened for traffic on 28 June 1902, by his Excellency Vice-Admiral Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson, K.C.B., Governor of New South Wales. Powered by electricity from the Ultimo Powerhouse, the swing bridge could be opened and closed in 45 seconds. Percy Allan, PWD Engineer-in-Chief of bridge design, designed over 550 bridges in NSW. In 1981 the bridge was permanently closed to traffic and the Government ordered the bridge to be demolished, but later revoked this decision. In 1984 the Darling Harbour Authority was formed with the task of redeveloping Darling Harbour. The Pyrmont Bridge was restored, with the swingspan in full working order, and incorporated as a pedestrian bridge in the redevelopment of Darling Harbour. A section of the Monorail was built across the bridge at this time. The Pyrmont Bridge was re-opened to pedestrian traffic in 1988.
Pyrmont Bridge, an essential link between the city and the inner western suburbs, is closely associated with the economic and social development of Sydney at the end of the 19th century. Pyrmont Bridge is closely associated with Percy Allan, PWD Engineer-in-Chief of bridge design, with the assistance of JJ Bradfield and Gordon Edgell. Percy Allen was responsible for the introducion of American timber bridge practice to NSW, and designed over 500 bridges in NSW.
 

 

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