Bundaberg’s Kennedy Bridge has been awarded an Engineering Heritage Marker under the Heritage Recognition Program of Engineers Australia.Many locals may not realise that by using the Kennedy Bridge, they are driving across an incredible achievement in Australian engineering as it has remained in service for 124 years. It was built to replace the dilapidated timber bridge built on the same site in 1878. The previous bridge consisted of three timber spans, the centre span having been reinforced with iron rods.
Engineers Australia is the peak body for the engineering profession in Australia and is committed to preserving Australia's engineering heritage. The Heritage Recognition Program recognises historical engineering achievements across Australia to raise the profile and understanding of the work of past engineers across the country.
To receive this recognition, the Kennedy Bridge was assessed against several criteria including historical significance, historical individual association, creative and technical achievement, research potential, social, rarity, integrity and intactness.
Kennedy Bridge was assessed against several criteria including historical significance, creative and technical achievement, rarity, integrity and intactness.
It was built to replace the dilapidated timber bridge built on the same site in 1878. The previous bridge consisted of three timber spans, the centre span having been reinforced with iron rods.
Modelled on the Victoria Bridge in Brisbane, the Kennedy Bridge is now the oldest example of this type of steel bridge design in Queensland since the Victoria Bridge was demolished.
Constructed by John McCormick and Son, the total cost of the bridge’s construction was just under £7000.
During construction, many problems were encountered including the loss of imported steel from Glasgow, Scotland due to the tragic shipwreck of the Loch Fergus. The shipwreck occurred off the coast of Belfast, causing delays in the construction of the bridge.
The bridge was formally opened on 26 November 1899 by former Minister for Railways and Works, the Honourable J. Murray, who described the bridge as “one of the finest works of its kind he had seen in Queensland”.
It is symbolic of the development of Bundaberg and the strengthening of its connection to the outside world.
Today, it is a working bridge and remains a key part of the transport network of Bundaberg. As the present owners of the asset, the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has maintained the bridge throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries.
The photo was taken during the 1942 flood in the Burnett River.