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A Family Friendly Bike Ride
    
 
Have a BBQ lunch on the bank of the Goulburn River
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

CREMONA BRIDGE

The Cremona Bridge is at Cathkin. Ride towards Molesworth for 600 m to Ridds
Road on the left. Ride down to Cremona and enter on the left, and take a track through the Cremona property to the Cremona Bridge. (Don’t try to continue down Ridds Road as the road has been washed away.)
The Cremona Bridge spans the Goulburn River at Cathkin, once providing access to the then Cathkin Estate (also called Cremona Estate). The estate was a large parcel of land located around Cathkin and Cremona that was divided into allotments for purchase. Unfortunately many of the allotments suffered from isolation from the main Cathkin area and railway link. To remedy this, a bridge was proposed to give access into the Cremona allotments and given to tender in 1912.
The tender called for a five span steel re-enforced concrete bridge with, three support girders and bluestone rock abutments, for an agreed cost of just over £1860 pounds. The contract to build the bridge was awarded to John Monash by the end of 1913.
During construction, plans changed due to cost overruns. The abutments were built of lesser lighter rock instead of the bluestone that the tender originally called for. This change to the construction method was approved by the then Shire Engineer Cecil Short, who at the time took public pride in his involvement in the bridge. By 1913, the bridge had been constructed and passed all testing.
Timber, wool, fresh vegetables, cattle and sheep were sent to the city from Cremona and surrounding farms and businesses on both sides of the river, and Cathkin railway returned all the necessary farm and business requirements. This was before road transport was available.
However the Cremona Estate was never successful and the bridge turned out to be a costly white elephant. This was mostly due to one land owner managing to take possession of the several of the allotments by late 1919. Constant flooding of the river before, during and after the Sugarloaf Dam project at Eildon was completed, weakened the bridge’s two abutments. Costly repairs to the bridge were never undertaken, due to a lack of financial incentive for the Alexandra Shire, when any money spent would only benefit a small number or people.
During the November 1934 major flood event - the first of the bridge ends collapsed. It is unknown when the second collapsed, however it is believed to have collapsed by 1940. The Cremona bridge now stands as a permanent testimony to the failure of design and maintenance by the Alexandra Shire.
The above was provided by Artworkz who say the bridge is of historical significance, however is dangerous and all care should be taken around this structure. Accessing of the river and bridge as at your own risk. ARTWORKZ TOURISM WEBSITE Updated: 28 October 2014 Brochure 068  Disclaimer: The authors have taken care to ensure this publication is correct, though  please be aware that errors and omissions do occur.
The bridge is an isolated, but accessible, cache on the banks of the Goulburn River showcasing a historical bridge built by Sir John Monash in 1913. Its abutments failed, rendering the bridge unusable by 1940.
 
Structurally, the Cremona bridge now stands as a permanent testimony to the failure of design and maintenance by the Alexandra Shire. The greatest responsibility is with Shire Engineer Cecil Short for approving the design changes to the abutments which ended up leading to its short life. While the bridge was based on a sound engineering technique, the damage that constant flooding could cause to abutments was not sufficiently accounted for.
The failure of the Closer Settlement should have been foreseen and could have avoided such a large and expensive project from ever going ahead. The construction of the bridge generated a huge financial burned on ratepayers and for some older residents, it is still seen as evidence of a misuse of shire funds.
Technically, the inner spans of the bridge were 11.4 metres from centre to centre. The outside spans were around 11 metres to the base of the abutment. The bridge was the third longest of its kind in Victoria and the spans were the longest used any of the numerous bridges built by John Monash (later Sir John Monash).
On 15 August 2014, a Geocache by geocacher Texmax2 was hidden at the site, creating a natural increase in visits by those unaware of the historic site and the importance to our District's heritage.
Calendar:
1899 A soldier settlement scheme was established for Cathkin, with expressions of interest called for a bridge.
1912 A tender was put out for the construction of a steel reinforced bridge at Cremona.
1913 The design of the abutments was changed with permission from the Shire Engineer Cecil Short.
1913 The Cremona Bridge was completed and opened.
7 December 1917 in the council minutes for that month, Cr Edwards said Mr McNabb had spoken to him about the Cremona Bridge. If something were not done, the bridge would be cut off from the approaches. (Friday 7 December 1917).
1919 By 1919, the Estate was a white elephant, with only one landowner taking possession of the seven allotments.
1934 During the great flood of November 1934, one abutment was completely compromised and that section of the bridge collapsed into the river.
2010 Artworkz published their first 'Historic Times' heritage newspaper, which included a piece on the Cremona Bridge. And  Artworkz make the Cremona Bridge a part of their Tourism Platform, due to its appeal to heritage based tourism.
2012 Artworkz commenced work on this factsheet.
August 2014 A Geocacher (Texmax2) hid the first geocache ever hidden at or near this historic site. It was hidden to attract visitors to this remarkable historic site.
26 October 2016 With permission, the Alexandra & Yea Standard published an article based on our factsheet and using photographs from our publication, highlighting this amazing bridge.
 
It is hard these days to understand why the bridge was built.
But in those days, before cars and trucks, people rode horses or travelled in sulkies pulled by horses, and freight was pulled by draught horses on drays.  All of the produce produced in this area had to be sent out, and the railway was the only effective way. Also everything in shops had to be brought in by rail. So the railway was the only way. The railway had been constructed to Cathkin in 1890, and Cathkin was the closest railway terminus for Alexandra and surrounding districts. So a bridge allowing access to Cathkin was in great need, as well as for local farms.  The Cremona Bridge went to tender 1912 and was constructed by 1914, and continued to be used for 20 years as an access to the railway.
But during those 20 years there were many changes. The railway to Alexandra was completed in 1909, so Alexandra became the terminus instead of Cathkin. Also cars started to become available instead of horses, and trucks became available instead of draught horses with drays. When the south side of the bridge was damaged by the 1934 flood, it was partly fixed, but when the north side was flood damaged, repair of the bridge was not considered cost worthy. The Cremona Bridge now stands as a monument to those times before motor vehicles, and a monument to a major civil engineer, Sir John Monash.
John born 1865 in Melbourne, educated at Scotch College and University of Melbourne became a Civil Engineer in 1884 for railway, road, bridge and water. From 1887 onwards he held various ranks in the Australian citizen’s military forces. At the outbreak of WW1 he was chief sensor for Australia. He served at Gallipoli, and was honoured by the naming of Monash Valley after him. He participated in the defence of the Suez Canal and was transferred to France as commander of the Third Australian Division. In 1918 he was named lieutenant general, and commanded the Australian Army Corps. At the close of the war, he was in charge of repatriation and demobilisation of the Australian Imperial Forces in Europe, Africa and Asia. He received numerous decorations for his military services. During the 1920’s he held a number of positions including the chairmanship of the State Electricity Commission and the presidency of the Australian Association for the advancement of Science. In 1930 he retired from the Australian army with the rank of general. He died 8 October 1931.
The Cremona Bridge is a monument to not only people before the advent of the motor vehicle, but also to a very great Australian.
 
You have ridden along the Rail Trail, which was such an important trail when the Cremona Bridge was built, exporting all of the produce from this area and importing all of the produce for our area. Welcome to Cremona.