12 February 2015
The Lower Hotham fire has claimed an historic victim by burning an important crossing on the Bibbulmun Track - the historic Long Gully Bridge.
Considered an outstanding example of an early rail trestle bridge, the 128 metre long bridge was a great example of the technical design skill of the Western Australian Government Railways. The bridge was built for the WA Government Railways in 1949. The rail network was integral for the timber industry from the Serpentine-Jarrahdale area to Dwellingup region. When the Dwellingup Mill was burned down in 1961, the track ceased operation. The Bridge met sections of land that rise steeply above Murray River valleys and it provided the only viable crossing point for walkers on the Bibbulmun Track.
As many of you know, the Foundation was raising funds for its restoration. We will need to decide if these funds go towards restoring our other major timber bridge - River Road - or if they go towards a solution to replace Long Gully. It won't be easy due to the long span. Another timber bridge is out of the question.
Once the dust and ash settles we will investigate how we can create a new crossing for walkers.
As can be seen from the images, Parks and Wildlife Fire crews did all they could to help save the bridge. The bridge was doused with water and before the fire hit it was also sprayed with a fire retarder. We thank them for their efforts.