Author(s): CHAMBERS DON
This book is at once a narrative of timber bridges history, an exploration of the development of road and rail transport, a showcase of Australian design ingenuity, and a regional Victorian tour guide. While showcasing the ingenuity of Australian design and workmanship and the amazing durability of native hardwoods, it also captures something of the beauty of simple structures that have been hewn from their landscape. This book tells the story of familiar structures that still, perhaps, remain a characteristic part of Victoria's cultural landscape. It looks at the pioneering role and progress of Victoria's regional pathways, from the mountain forest, of Gippsland to the western goldfields and the mighty Murray River, and includes a look at footbridges and flumes.Finally, it briefly reflects on some of the threats responsible for the recent decline of timber bridges, as well as ways in which local communities and agencies have worked for their preservation. While it will not be possible to preserve all of these vernacular structures, this book will stand as a tribute to their unassuming but considerable contribution to Australia's economic and social history.
"Wooden Wonders" is a labour of love both by noted historian Dr Don Chambers, who undertook his research for the National Trust's Timber Bridge Study; and also by the Trust's Timber Bridges Committee, which has spent years working to protect and promote the bridges. It is richly illustrated both in colour and dramatic black-and-white, and includes many historical photographs not previously published.
From fords and punts to timber bridges; Specs and spans -- demystifying the technology; Opening the West by road and rail; Linking mines and markets in the golden triangle; The Goulburn -- riverboats to irrigation; The Murray -- bridging the colonies; By rail through Gippsland's swamps and forests; Railways and tall timbers in the Upper Murray; Gippsland and the CRB; Epilogue; Index.