The Bridges to Paradise

This week Sepia Saturday suggested bridges as our theme and my header above shows the bridge over the Barham River just as it flows into the ocean on the outskirts of the township of Apollo Bay in south-western Victoria.   The Barham River rises in the Otway Ranges 16 km , i.e. less than 10 miles away from Apollo Bay.  After coming down through narrow valleys it  begins to widen as it passes through farmland then  meanders through a flood plain before flowing into the sea.

But this final crossing of the river is not one that we would normally use, instead we would head west from the town along the Barham River Road, skirt the flood plain and follow the road between farms. A short distance out of town you come to the first river crossing.

Barham River First crossing 4

Norma-Barbara c1936 Apollo Bay

This picture was  taken at one of the Barham River bridges  about 1936.  On the right is my father’s youngest sister Norma Fricke.  Born in 1926 she died earlier this year

The road continues between farming land until it passes between what used to be the Fricke and Garrett farms and comes to a second bridge.

Barham River Secomd crossing b


Seated on bridge rail – Alan Fricke, Tom Hodgins (son in law), The father Charles Fricke Snr. Standing – Charles Fricke Jr, A friend, Hazel Fricke, the mother Julia Fricke And at the front, the youngest in the family, Norma Fricke

This photo on one of the local bridges was taken in the early 1930s.  Counting the photographer, who was possibly Tom’s wife Enid,  there are nine people so they wouldn’t have all fitted in the family car, an Essex of about the 1930 vintage.

Entertainment was strictly of the home-made kind and a daytime walk was sometimes taken across this second Barham River bridge, following the road further upstream into the valley.  In this Google Earth photo you can see the right hand road following the stream.  Though the hills are cleared  a narrow strip  of bush remains along the river bank.

Barham River valley aerial

barham river ferns


After crossing this second bridge a little further up the  road is an area along the river called Paradise, and  on a hot day in summer this gully really is Paradise  – a cool  paradise of lush tree ferns and other local trees and plants , lichens and mosses, and home to a variety of birds.  It is a magical place.  With its special aroma and the music of the water over the pebbles every leaf has the potential to have a fairy peeping out from underneath.

Paradise 1When you leave the road and walk along the river you can cross over on fallen trees or on stepping stones in shallow parts of the narrow river. . The bottom  is  pebbled and the water is fresh and clear.

Paradise 4

More bridges from around the world can be found through

this week’s Sepia Saturday contributions.

15 thoughts on “The Bridges to Paradise

  1. jofeath

    Interesting that the family would choose to pose in the middle of a road bridge. I know Apollo Bay but must visit Paradise one day soon. You don’t tell us about who is in those two sepia photographs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. boundforoz Post author

      Well at the time of the photos there wasn’t much traffic on the road and what there was chugged along at about 30 mph. Re the last two sepia photos, I can’t be sure but the first one, going by the hat, could be my mother, and the second one possibly her sister-in-law, Hazel Fricke

      Liked by 1 person

  2. alanburnett1

    Lovely old pictures. As soon as one reaches the centre of a bridge there is always this urge to stop and take photographs of the party. I did it recently in Prague and indeed do it whenever I cross a bridge.


  3. luvviealex

    So many lovely photos…i found the Google Earth one particularly interesting…it looked like some valley in England rather than dry old Australia. Paradise does indeed look like paradise on earth. Thank you for sharing such peace inducing pictures.


  4. Tattered and Lost

    I’m fascinated at the name Barham. I lived on Barham Blvd. In Los Angeles and had no reason to believe it was anything than a local name. Since then I’ve found quite a few Barham streets and now a bridge. So, who was Barham and why did they get so many things named for them?


    1. boundforoz Post author

      The river’s name is derived from the Aboriginal words Barrum or Burrum, meaning “river” or “junction of two rivers”. Apart from what I was writing about there is a smaller second branch feeds in near the second bridge. The name of the river was first recorded by European surveyor George Smythe, with the name Burrum believed to mean a “stony river bed”.


      1. Tattered and Lost

        That’s interesting. I have to wonder where other Barham names come from. It’s never been a name that I’ve seen other than a road in Los Angeles and one nearby where I live now. I doubt they all derive from the same place as yours, but who knows. Thanks for the update.


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