One of Queensland’s unique pieces of rail infrastructure will celebrate its 125th anniversary this Saturday (17 September).
The heritage-listed Dickabram Bridge, which crosses the Mary River at Miva, north-west of Gympie, is the oldest combined road and rail crossing left in Queensland and also the oldest surviving complete steel truss bridge in the state.
The community is invited to join in the celebration marking the milestone, with free entertainment on offer at the bridge site including a band, poet’s breakfast, and the official anniversary ceremony.
Queensland Rail historian, Greg Hallam, said the bridge had survived some of Queensland’s biggest natural disasters, including the catastrophic floods of 1893 and 2011.
“Although completed in January 1886, the floods of 2011 meant that the 125th anniversary has had to wait a little while,” Mr Hallam said.
“The Miva Crossing, or Dickabram Bridge as it is generally known, has been in use for 125 years without substantial modification. It was built at a high level where less substantial bridges had been washed away.
“The bridge was originally part of the Kilkivan branch, which was initially built to service the mineral wealth of the area. Over the next 30 years, the railway extended to Kingaroy, then Tarong, Nanango, and Proston.
“Trains crossing the bridge have transported a huge variety of goods over the years including timber, cream, peanuts, cattle, potatoes, as well as, of course, people.”
Queensland Rail has remained active in its management of the bridge.
”In 2008, work was undertaken to replace and repair decking and other material on the bridge,” Mr Hallam said.
“A heritage-listed place requires special care and, when replacement material was required, then like-for-like material was used.
“It’s always a challenge to maintain a structure that was built in anticipation of road and rail traffic that has changed completely since its completion in the mid 1880s, and maintain those qualities that have made it an attraction to locals and visitors to the area.”
Mr Hallam contributed his knowledge of the story of the railways and the local area in the updating of the Dickabram centenary book. The updated and revised 125th anniversary publication by authors Kathy Dakin and Jennifer Nahrung, details the history of the bridge and the local community. It will be on sale throughout the day.
The event has been funded by the Queensland Government’s Building Rural Communities Fund (Blueprint for the Bush) and the Gympie Regional Council.