Cam­paspe Bridge spans 100 years

Campaspe News - - NEWS - By VIVI­ENNE DUCK

ROCHESTER’S Cam­paspe Bridge will turn 100 this month.

The bridge was of­fi­cially opened on Septem­ber 15, 1917 and was the largest of its sort in the state at the time.

Since its con­struc­tion, there have been var­i­ous up­grades in­clud­ing a ma­jor up­grade in 2000 that fo­cused on strength­en­ing and widen­ing the bridge to cope with the heavy B-dou­ble traf­fic.

In the early days, when Rochester was just a vil­lage east of the Cam­paspe Bridge, a cross­ing was erected at a ford to en­able peo­ple to cross.

But it wasn’t un­til 1873 that a ho­tel owner on the east paid 600 pounds for a wooden bridge.

Known as Mr T Ste­ward, the man built the bridge, north of the cur­rent bridge, so pa­trons on the west could utilise his pub.

The cur­rent bridge cost 8,000 pounds and was paid for by the Coun­try Roads Board and lo­cal­i­ties ben­e­fit­ing from the bridge.

The Rochester His­tor­i­cal and Pi­o­neer So­ci­ety hoped there would be enough com­mu­nity sup­port to do a re-en­act­ment of the orig­i­nal open­ing.

The so­ci­ety’s John Foster said it wasn’t pos­si­ble for the vol­un­teers to or­gan­ise it.

‘‘We just don’t have the man power to pull it off,’’ he said.

‘‘We would love to close the bridge down and have the com­mu­nity walk across it like in the photo of the open­ing but there is too much red tape for us to do.

‘‘But if any­one in the com­mu­nity wants to take it on that would be great.’’

At the mo­ment no cel­e­bra­tions are planned.

Crowds flocked to the open­ing in 1917.

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