And so begins the Southern Swing! This weekend we’ve come to Melbourne, a city that has a special place in my heart.
Pictured is the Princes Bridge, right beside two of Melbourne’s icons – Flinders Street railway station and Federation Square. It connects Swanston St to St Kilda Rd across the Yarra River. On the left edge of the photo you can see the spires of St Paul’s Cathedral.
The first Yarra River crossing was built in 1840 by Melbournian businesspeople – a wooden bridge with tolls connecting the commercial centre with the dirt track that was St Kilda Rd on the other side. By 1844 a more permanent wooden trestle construction was built, then replaced in 1851 with a government funded granite arch span – Lennox’s Bridge.
Remembering Melbourne’s history, gold was found a short time later and the city of Melbourne grew rapidly. A large bridge was required for traffic both over, and under along the Yarra River.
The present day bridge was opened in 1888, using solid bluestone, a feature in much of Melbourne’s architecture. The ornate ironwork is also a feature of that era. The bridge was renamed after Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII).
More importantly, the bridge marks the start/end of the inner city free tram zone.