The Historic Dickabram Bridge

Dickabrambridge2The Historic Dickabram Bridge stands 23m (70 feet) above the winding Mary River at Miva. This famous bridge, built by Mc Dermott and Owen, was completed on June 1, 1886. The bridge is just over 200m in length and is as far as we know the only rail and road bridge built to its design in Queensland. McDermott and Owen had the contract to build the railway line from Kilkivan Junction, now Theebine, to Kilkivan, and no doubt spanning the Mary River was a formidable challenge.

The word Dickabram is Aboriginal for a type of yam that grew along the river flats there.   The cost of the bridge was $28,165.83 and a railway engineer says that it would cost several million dollars to replace. It took 4 and a half years to build and a lot of men must have been employed for its construction.  Three hotels and a General Store were built to cope with their requirements.

Dickabram bridgeThere were at least three tragedies, the most sensational was the one when a man wheeling a barrow load of cement to tip into one of the four big steel cylinders must have wheeled his barrow over the edge, and he and his barrow fell into the wet cement. No one actually saw it happen, but as neither he nor his barrow were ever seen again, it seems that is what occured. No doubt other barrow loads were quickly tipped on top of him. There were at least two other deaths for two graves of unknown persons were found on a property near the bridge.

The 1893 flood is the only one that has risen over the decking. The bridge went a metre (3foot) under. In 1955, when the river rose more than 22.6m (68feet) , water was splashing through the decking. The bridge has had to stand up to many floods, for up until a few years ago, three or four floods occured annually.

 

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