March 29th – Bridgeception II

Bridgeception II

This photo is the underside of the Ryde Bridge (northbound lanes). In truth I was hoping to take a picture of the gap between the north and southbound bridges, but a great big bush stood in the way of the perfect angle.

The Meadowbank wharf area has some great views of both the Ryde Bridge and the rail bridge, all of them with their own history reflecting Sydney’s early industrial heritage.

The Ryde Bridge was built almost 80 years ago and allowed for the unloading of timber via a mechanism in the middle – now removed. The road initially carried a toll to cross, which was repealed when the bridge had paid for itself, just 13 years later.

Prior to the bridge traffic would traverse the river via punt, which operated between Meadowbank ferry wharf, and a berth (still existing) just to the east of the rail bridge.

It is also documented that the keel of the HMAS Stuart, a naval Destroyer, lies beneath the river floor under the bridge. I’m not sure how or why it’s there (it’s beggars belief the Stuart tried to navigate the Parramatta River), all I can find on the topic is numerous other websites that have quoted the exact same paragraph from Wikipedia!

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4 thoughts on “March 29th – Bridgeception II

  1. Hi, HMAS Stuart had all her guns and weapons removed by the Navy at Neutral Bay in the late 1940’s. She was then sold to a contractor who intended to break her up at Balmain. However she was taken to Drummoyne Shipyard and gutted internally. Her empty hull was towed to Ryde and beached to be cut up. Her keel appears to have sunk in the mud. There are photos of her on the muddy beach at Ryde. However it wasn’t under the Ryde bridge, yet nearby. The area is now a foreshore park.
    Her stripped hull would have easily been transported here. She was comparable in size to the coal ships that regularly supplied Mortlake Gas Works.

    • Hi Dave … Thanks for your awesome contribution! Sounds like a photographic adventure in the making.

      There is of course the Rhodes/Homebush Bay ship breaking-yard as well which would have played a role I’m guessing.

  2. Hi, At Kissing Point Ryde there is a plaque where HMAS Stuart was broken up with photo. Also this area was long associated with ship building and breaking. Ships broken up there include the 275 foot iron hulled clipper “Fortuna”, the HMAS Stuart, the Dutch WW2 submarine K12, HMAS Tarakan. Vessels built there include the sailing ship “Susan” (first vessel to enter the Clarence River and settle the Grafton area), The massive wooden ships Burnside and Brayside built there yet at 250 feet long deemed faulty. One was towed off the Heads and burnt. The other burn’t on the Kissing Point slipway. Two large American wooden ships of over 250 feet were slipped and burn’t there after WW1. From the 1850’s to around 1957 much use of the foreshore there. Last week I was there with a metal detector and a geologist mate of mine. Although now parkland, it simply screams of metal everywhere from former use. This area was used before Homebush Bay was utilised for similar operations. I have many historic photos. Remnants of slipways and wharves still visible although in a bad state of decay. I could send old photos yet not sure how to do so to you’re site.

    Cheers, Dave

    • Thanks Dave for the awesome reply.

      Essentially in 15 months of blogging I have realised how much local history we’re sitting on. Places like Ryde, Hunters Hill, Gladesville, Cockatoo Island – all extremely significant roles in early white settlement in this country through until the war eras with manufacturing and farming.

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