Fitzroy Bridge

The Fitzroy Bridge was a suspension bridge that spanned the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia from 1881 until it was demolished in 1956.[1][2]

Fitzroy Bridge
Queensland State Archives 2257 Fitzroy Bridge Rockhampton c 1894.png
Coordinates23°22′30″S 150°30′53″E / 23.375061°S 150.514850°E / -23.375061; 150.514850
CarriesBruce Highway
CrossesFitzroy River
Total length336.5 metres (1,104 ft)
Width6.1 metres (20 ft)
Longest span70.7 metres (232 ft)
No. of spans6
Piers in water5
DesignerFrederick John Byerley
Construction startMarch 1877
Construction cost£54,000
Collapsed25 January 1956
Replaced byFitzroy Bridge 1952

Construction work on the bridge commenced in March 1877.[1]

The bridge consisted of both timber and iron with a Gothic appearance.[1] Most noticeably, the tops of its piers were designed as turrets, giving the structure an ornamental appearance.[1]

The bridge was 1104 ft (336m) in length, with the roadway situated 20 ft (6m) above the high water mark.[1] Construction of the bridge cost £54,000.[1]

Officially opened on 1 January 1881, the Fitzroy Bridge was Rockhampton's first bridge and until the Alexandra Railway Bridge was opened in 1899, it was the only bridge crossing the river. Prior to it being built, residents were ferried across the river on a steam ferryboat.[3]

The official ceremony consisted of a procession walking across the bridge, the planting of memorial trees at the northern end and the bridge's designer, Frederick Byerley breaking a bottle of champagne on one of the pedestals at the southern end of the bridge where he "baptised" the structure, the Fitzroy Bridge.[4]

Following the official opening, a large crowd gathered at the Criterion Hotel who proceeding to drink a number of toasts in honour of Rockhampton's new bridge.[5]

Byerley was presented with a walnut writing desk along with a gold pen and pencil as a token of the respect the bridge workers had for him during construction of the bridge.[6]

The bridge remained in service until a new bridge, also called the Fitzroy Bridge, was officially opened alongside the old bridge on 27 September 1952.[7][8]

After standing for 75 years, the original Fitzroy Bridge was demolished on 25 January 1956.[2][9]

A commemorative plaque was erected on the riverbank near to where the bridge was once accessed from the south opposite the Criterion Hotel on 27 August 1988. The plaque commemorates both the first Fitzroy Bridge and the pioneering work of its designer Frederick John Byerley.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "The Fitzroy Bridge". The Brisbane Courier. XXXV (4, 257). Queensland, Australia. 12 January 1881. p. 5.
  2. ^ a b "SPECTACULAR FALL BRIDGE PIERS DOWN WITH A SPLASH". The Central Queensland Herald. 22 (1954). Queensland, Australia. 26 January 1956. p. 22.
  3. ^ "THE FITZROY BRIDGE". The Capricornian. 7 (2). Queensland, Australia. 8 January 1881. p. 7.
  4. ^ "Notes on the Week". The Capricornian. 7 (2). Queensland, Australia. 8 January 1881. p. 1.
  5. ^ "Rockhampton". The Brisbane Courier. XXXV (4, 249). Queensland, Australia. 3 January 1881. p. 2.
  6. ^ "PRESENTATION TO FREDERICK J. BY ERLEY ESQ". The Capricornian. 7 (3). Queensland, Australia. 15 January 1881. p. 7.
  7. ^ "CITY'S GREATEST HISTORIC DOUBLE". Morning Bulletin (29, 102). Queensland, Australia. 29 September 1952. p. 1.
  8. ^ "Untitled". Morning Bulletin (29, 103). Queensland, Australia. 30 September 1952. p. 1.
  9. ^ "The Old Bridge Now A Memory". The Central Queensland Herald. 22 (1955). Queensland, Australia. 2 February 1956. p. 9.
  10. ^ (27 August 1988); In The Steps Of Our Forefathers, Commemorative Plaque erected by ISA Rockhampton Town Group in association with Rockhampton and District Historical Society, Riverside Precinct, Quay Street, Rockhampton. Accessed 7 May 2018.