Lake Macquarie History

Fennell Bay Bridge

Opening on 23rd of August 1902, the first Fennell Bay bridge was a wooden composite truss bridge that was in active use for 65 years. It was not until issues regarding width and traffic congestion that the second bridge was constructed in 1967.

photo: fennell bay bridge looking south to towards toronto

Before the construction of the first Fennell Bay bridge, the way in which people travelled to Toronto was via Fassifern and Blackalls Park. The bridge was first called for after the opening of Watkins Bridge, which spanned Cockle Creek at Teralba.

In 1901, the Public Works department approved the bridge and construction passed onto the Misters John Ahern and Son. Paid £3692 14s for the project, construction of the bridge began in July 1901.

Taking just on a year to complete, the bridge came in over budget at £3863 5s 8d. The bridge was not officially opened until August 23, 1902, and featured a large ceremony with numerous festivities. Travelling up from Sydney, the Minister for Works E. W. O'Sullivan, and other Parliamentary members gathered at Toronto for a luncheon before moving to the bridge. Following a number of speeches, the bridge was declared opened by Mrs. O’Sullivan.

The bridge was constructed from a mixture of timber and concrete, with the final length of the bridge spanning 375ft (114m) and 901ft (275m) including the embankments. In order not to disrupt water traffic, the height of the bridge was 16ft (4.8m) to allow passenger steamboats to pass under the bridge.

The first Fennell Bay bridge served the community for many years, and it was not until the need for a wider, two-lane bridge, that the bridge was replaced.

Reference

1902 'FENNELL BAY BRIDGE.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 23 August, p. 7. , viewed 14 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14493401

1911 'LAKE MACQUARIE SHIRE.', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 12 June, p. 3. , viewed 14 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137043164

1913 'LAKE MACQUARIE SHIRE.', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 18 March, p. 7. , viewed 14 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136830561

1924 'LAKE MACQUARIE SHIRE.', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 26 March, p. 9. , viewed 14 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139501542