The Hiawatha A Frame Bridge was built in 1933 to a standard design by the Country Roads Board (CRB). It is situated at the foot of the Strezlecki Ranges in south Gippsland, on a tributary of the Albert River, in what is now the Shire of Wellington. The bridge was part of the Developmental Roads Scheme, a scheme for constructing roads and bridges suitable for motorised transport in remote areas to facilitate closer settlement. Whilst the scheme was funded by the State, maintenance of the bridges rested in perpetuity with the local municipality.
The A frame design was a solution to situations which had previously required two stringer spans with a centre-stream pile pier. Flood prone streams carrying debris and floating logs could damage or destroy centre piers, so the suspended A Frame design was a solution for numerous fast flowing Gippsland streams. This bridge has a clear span of approximately 18m. The design was developed during the Depression years of the early 1930s, possibly following an early example on the Great Ocean Road, and a full prototype built for £470 on Merriman's Creek in the former Shire of Alberton. The cost was about half that of a traditional truss bridge.
The bridge is formed by a pair of A frames on each side of the deck constructed form two large logs, joined at the apex and with their bases encased in concrete on each bank of the stream. The frames are also braced with cross stays. A heavy steel rod hanger is suspended from the apex of each A frame, and these rods carry a large steel joist. The steel joist, suspended over the centre of the stream, carries the ends of the substantial timber stringers, on which the standard 1930s CRB motor deck is carried.
How is it significant?
The Hiawatha A Frame Bridge is of scientific (technical) and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Hiawatha A Frame Bridge is of historical significance as the last surviving example of an innovative type of timber bridge which were particularly numerous in Gippsland. The design was never used on main roads and highways, and therefore has close historical associations with the Developmental Roads Scheme, which helped open up remote areas to settlement. It is also historically significant as an economic design response to the exigencies of the Depression years of the early 1930s.
The Hiawatha A Frame Bridge is of scientific (technical) significance as an innovative engineering solution to the need for bridges in remote locations which were more economical compared to traditional solutions yet could clear large spans. Although of more limited application, the A Frame suspension principle was promoted by the CRB as a successor to the traditional timber truss designs of the 1920s.
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 works 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 works shall cease and the Executive Director shall be notified as soon as possible. Note: All archaeological places have the potential to contain significant sub-surface artefacts and other remains. In most cases it will be necessary to obtain approval from Heritage Victoria before the undertaking any works that have a significant sub-surface component.General Conditions: 3. If there is a conservation policy and plan approved by the Executive Director, all works shall be in accordance with it. Note: The existence of a Conservation Management Plan or a Heritage Action Plan endorsed by Heritage Victoria provides 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 authorities where applicable.Public Safety and Security : The following public safety and security activities are permit exempt under section 66 of the Heritage Act 1995, a) public safety and security activities provided the works do not involve the removal or destruction of any significant above-ground structures or sub-surface archaeological artefacts or deposits; b) the erection of temporary security fencing, scaffolding, hoardings or surveillance systems to prevent unauthorised access or secure public safety which will not adversely affect significant fabric of the place including archaeological features; c) development including emergency stabilisation necessary to secure safety where a site feature has been irreparably damaged or destabilised and represents a safety risk to its users or the public. Note: Urgent or emergency site works are to be undertaken by an appropriately qualified specialist such as a structural engineer, or other heritage professional.Minor Works : Note: Any Minor Works that in the opinion of the Executive Director will not adversely affect the heritage significance of the place may be exempt from the permit requirements of the Heritage Act. A person proposing to undertake minor works may submit a proposal to the Executive Director. If the Executive Director is satisfied that the proposed works will not adversely affect the heritage values of the site, the applicant may be exempted from the requirement to obtain a heritage permit. If an applicant is uncertain whether a heritage permit is required, it is recommended that the permits co-ordinator be contacted.