River-crossing – A Perspective
Officially opened on 20 August 1874, Windsor Bridge was designed by the Department of Public Works and constructed by noted engineers, Andrew Turnbull and William Dixon. It was officially opened by the Hon. John Sutherland, Minister for Works.
The opening was a grand affair, with the bridge decorated with flags, local fruits and flowers. Sutherland stated:
‘I hope that the bridge will last longer than the life of the youngest child who passes over it today.’
The building of the bridge ensured that Thompson Square remained locally relevant in the emergent transport network following the opening of the railway line to Windsor in 1864. The bridge was increasingly important in the transportation of local produce to the Windsor rail head for shipment to Sydney markets. The ability to reliably transport goods by cart across the river was critical.
However, the bridge’s low height restricted river traffic and caught flood debris. In 1897, the bridge was raised by 8 feet, or 2.5 metres, by placing iron cylinders on top of the original piers. In 1922, the timber superstructure was replaced with reinforced concrete. Looking directly across the river, you can see a section of the original Windsor Bridge that has been retained as a viewing platform. The remainder of the bridge was decommissioned and demolished in 2020.