The Swing Bridge, located over the Latrobe River approximately 5 km south of Sale on the South Gippsland Highway, was erected in 1880-1883 by Peter Platt, contractor, and designed by John Grainger, architect and civil engineer, who later designed Princes Bridge in Melbourne (1886) and was the father of Percy Grainger, the famous Australian composer. Prior to the construction of the Swing Bridge, a punt provided a means of crossing here from 1842, and a timber bridge was constructed on the site in 1857. However, the construction of the Sale Canal upstream (completed in 1888) necessitated the construction of the Swing Bridge, to enable river transport to proceed to the Port of Sale.
The bridge is an elegant wrought iron trussed structure, supporting a timber decked roadway. It is approximately 61 metres in overall length, with a balanced swing span of approximately 45 metres, revolving on a central pier through a hand operated winding mechanism. The central swing span, when in the open position, provided two openings 19.2 metres clear for river traffic. Brick abutments support the fixed approach timber decking.
The Bridge facilitated development of the Port of Sale and a regular steamer service operated up the canal for many years (1885-1920) with connections to Melbourne and the Gippsland Lakes. The Bridge was re-decked in 1933 and the structure strengthened in 1953.
How is it significant?
The Swing Bridge is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Swing Bridge is historically significant as possibly the oldest bridge of its type in Australia. Its construction was pivotal in the development and expansion of road and river transport in Gippsland, and confirmed the Port of Sale's place as the centre of shipping activity in the region. The Bridge was designed and built entirely in Victoria and made an important contribution to development of engineering in the state.
The Swing Bridge is architecturally significant as the only bridge of its type in Victoria, with few others of this type and degree of sophistication elsewhere in Australia.
Designed by John Grainger and built in 1880-3, this wrought iron hand-operated swing bridge made river transport to the Port of Sale possible and was essential to the development of road and river transport in Gippsland.
General Conditions: 1. All exempted alterations are to be planned and carried out in a manner which prevents damage to the fabric of the registered place or object.
General Conditions: 2. Should it become apparent during further inspection or the carrying out of alterations that original or previously hidden or inaccessible details of the place or object are revealed which relate to the significance of the place or object, then the exemption covering such alteration shall cease and the Executive Director shall be notified as soon as possible.
General Conditions: 3. If there is a conservation policy and planall works shall be in accordance with it. Note:A Conservation Management Plan or a Heritage Action Planprovides guidance for the management of the heritage values associated with the site. It may not be necessary to obtain a heritage permit for certain works specified in the management plan.
General Conditions: 4. Nothing in this declaration prevents the Executive Director from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions.
General Conditions: 5. Nothing in this declaration exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the responsible authority where applicable.
Repairs and maintenance which replace like with like.