Tag Archives: bridge

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.

Fred and the Incident of the Flooded River

Here is a picture of three men on horseback.  The one on the right is Frederick William Fricke  (1870-1949). and towards the end of this post he will have a little trouble with a flooded river.  I will just call him Fred.  Why is he on horseback ?  Let me tell you something about him.

1913 on horseback in Gippsland.  Fred is on the right.

1913 on horseback in Gippsland.    Fred is on the right.

Fred was brought up on a farm in Central Victoria.  Whereas two older brothers stayed on the land he went into the Victorian Public Service and started off on the bottom rung,  Then in 1913 he and two others were appointed by the Government to be the initial members of the Country Roads Board.  This had been set up to identify the arterial roads in Victoria, to plan their construction and maintenance, a strong central authority to  ensure consistent standards across the state.

Inspecting the remote Dargo Road in a chauffeur driven car, also in 1913.

Inspecting the remote Dargo Road in a chauffeur driven car, also in 1913.

So off they set, by horseback and by car, to inspect Victoria.  The three of them gradually endorsed construction contracts and by 1917 had produced a map of Victoria identifying  what they considered to be the necessary arterial and main roads.

Athe 1917 Coutry Roads Board Map of Victoria identifying the shires, the main roads and the railways.

The 1917 Country Roads Board Map of Victoria identifying the shires, the main roads and the railways.

As time went on there were few changes in the membership of the board.  Originally Calder, McCormack and Fricke in 1913,  by 1935 McCormack had become the Chairman with members Fricke and Calloway.  Fricke was to become Chairman in 1938.

So at the beginning of May in 1935 it was raining.  At Warburton the Yarra River was rising rapidly,  isolating the small township, flooding houses and driving the residents to higher ground.  The river rose 10 feet in 12 hours and washed away two bridges above the town. .  Downstream through Melbourne the river had been rising at 4 inches per hour.and in East Kew the river was nearly a mile wide.

So what were the three CRB members doing in Warbuton.  Two days after the flooding started they were in Warburton to inspect the damage done to roads and bridges. Fred, Chairman McCormack  and two locals were crossing the river on a temporary punt at Hazelwood Road, between Warburton and East Warburton.  The rope which was used to pull the punt back and forwards became slack and suddenly the floodwaters poured over the upstream side of the punt, drenching the occupants. The punt was bouyed with empty oil drums and fortunately the rope didn’t break so that they were able to recover and pull the punt to the far side, with nothing worse than a fright and a soaking.  A walk back towards Warburton brought our bedraggled men to a footbridge over the river and they were able to make their way to the comfort of the Warburton Chalet where they spent the night before returning home the next day.

Warburton Chalet

Warburton Chalet

Q:  Were they initially expecting to spend the night and so had a suitcase with a change of clothes or did they have to spend the night wrapped up in towels while their clothes dried.  And would a man in 1935 pack a spare suit in his suitcase if he was only going away for the night.  Quite puzzling  !

And before you wander off to view some other flood stories on Sepia Saturday, a few pictures of and early Warbuton,  overlooked by the Donna Buang Range.  There is a pause button, lower central, on each photo, if you want to inspect any photo more closely.

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A Dog sitting on a Tuckerbox

On a road trip from Melbourne to Sydney in the Christmas holidays of 1957 we passed by this monument 5 miles from the town of Gundagai which is on the Murrumbidgee River in New South Wales.

The Dog on the Tuckerbox five miles from Gundgai

The Dog on the Tuckerbox five miles from Gundgai

Originally set up in 1932 as a money raiser for the Gundagai hospital and as a memorial to the European pioneers who settled the district, it shows a typical working dog sitting on his master’s tuckerbox, a box for storing food supplies. This faithful dog would guard the  tuckerbox until his master returned, no matter how long it took. The idea was based on a song about Bullocky Bill which had been around since the 1850s and ended with.

     And the dog sat on the tuckerbox nine miles from Gundagai.

Then in 1922 Jack O’Hagan came out with the song The Road to Gundagai which doesn’t actually mention a distance..  Since the original song about Bullocky Bill there have been many incarnations of the story in song, and with different distances,so there was plenty of motivation for Gundagai to build its own dog on a tuckerbox.

But as well as its original intention to be a tribute to Gundagai the monument  has acquired an aura all of its own  It can be regarded as  a national icon and  just like that loyal dog it represents all people  who stand and wait for for the return of those who are away from home, whether it be peacetime or wartime.

1932 tuckerbox dogThere were no railings around the monument in the early days as this photo from the Gundagai Shire Council shows us.

But now there is a nearby Food Court with KFC, Subway, McCafe, BP service station and Tuckerbox restaurant.  How  tacky  !!!!!

So to deviate a little, what did a tourist do in Sydney in 1957,  a Sydney which was yet to get its landmark Opera House ?  To begin with there is the Sydney Harbour Bridge.   Here is our tan Chevrolet – Chevie – Chev at the base of the Bridge, the same bridge where Paul Hogan used to work as a painter before other interests took over.

The tan coloured chevie at the base of the Syndey Harbour Bridge

The tan coloured chevie at the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

  • At that time it was illegal to climb the Bridge but there was a cattery of beautiful white cats to be patted at the top of the bridge pylon. as in the slide show below.
  • From the top of the pylon you could watch the liner Oronsay passing underneath.
  • And there was time to sit on part of the prow of the original HMAS Sydney, built into a wall under the Bridge.  It was launched in 1911 and de-commissioned in 1928.  It saw service in World War I.
  • There were friends to enjoy time with on Bondi Beach
  • And a surf carnival to visit at North Steyne
  • Finally a peep in the gates of Kirribilli House, the residence of the Prime Minister when visiting Sydney

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So, would you like to do some listening ?  Here is Peter Dawson  (1882 – 1961), Australia’s own bass baritone  singing  Along the Road to Gundagai in 1931.

Or if you prefer a more  country music rendition  then  listen to Slim Dusty  singing the chorus from   The Road to Gundagai.


You might even be brave and listen to both.

Words and Lyrics by Jack O’Hagan, 1922 – Along the Road to Gundagai

There’s a scene that lingers in my memory –
Of an old bush home and friends I long to see –
That’s why I am yearning
Just to be returning
Along the road to Gundagai –

There’s a track winding back
To an old-fashioned shack
Along the road to Gundagai –
Where the blue gums are growing
And the Murrumbidgee’s flowing
Beneath that sunny sky –
Where my daddy and mother
Are waiting for me
And the pals of my childhood
Once more I will see.
Then no more will I roam,
When I’m heading right for home
Along the road to Gundagai.

When I get back there I’ll be a kid again –
Oh! I’ll never have a thought of grief or pain –
Once more I’ll be playing
Where the gums are swaying
Along the road to Gundagai –

This post has been a contribution to Sepia Saturday for it’s theme of Monuments..  There are many other monuments to visit from other contributors by following the links on Sepia Saturday.