Inspection of the Story Bridge construction by His Excellency, the State Governor Sir Leslie Orme Wilson and Dr John Bradfield
News of the Day

Telegraph, Thursday 7 July 1938, page 12

Governor Inspects Work On Story Bridge

The Governor (Sir Leslie Wilson) this afternoon inspected the Story Bridge works. He was accompanied by Dr. J. J. C. Bradfield, Mr. M. R. Hornibrook, and Mr. L. R. Wilson, who is supervising the erection of steel on the bridge.

His Excellency first visited the North side. The steel work over the river here is only two spans short of completion, and. already plans are afoot for the commencement of the task of getting steel over the river on the south side. The huge steel structure on the Bowen Terrace side is still being rivetted together and His Excellency watched with keen interest the tightening of the bolts of the steel plates.

There have been 40,000 rivets put into this work so far on the north side, and it is only two-thirds complete.

On the southern bank his Excellency saw the concrete piles that have been sunk 122 feet on to solid rock, a temporary expedient designed to hold the support of the steel which will span the big space between major pylons and the next big concrete buttress which supports the roadway.


The Governor learned to his surprise that something like 10,000 tons of concrete, valued at £50,000, had been used to date in the construction, all of which has come from Darra. He learned also that the work on the Bowen Terrace side of getting steel out over the river will be completed within three weeks, and preparations are already in hand for the commencement of a similar work on the south side. When the south side work has been completed steel will be stretching over the water on both sides, with a gap of about 300 feet in the centre, and construction will then be done simultaneously from both sides of the river.


The greatest building project undertaken in Queensland during the Great Depression, the Story Bridge was designed by Dr John Bradfield, a gifted engineer who was born in the Brisbane suburb of Sandgate. Evans-Deakin Hornibrook Constructions Limited was awarded the contract to construct what was at first referred to as the Jubilee Bridge in April 1935. Premier William Forgan Smith turned the first sod the following month and the 446-metre symmetrical cantilevered bridge was officially opened by Governor Sir Leslie Orme Wilson on 6 July 1940. The name of the bridge was altered to honour J.D. Story, an influential public servant who had been a powerful advocate for the bridge and served on the board to oversee its construction. The Story Bridge remains as an important link across the Brisbane River. Although John Bradfield spent much of his working life in New South Wales where he played an instrumental role in the construction of Sydney’s electric railway system and the design of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, in the late 1930s he also developed a grand scheme to divert water from major rivers in North Queensland for the irrigation of inland districts. For a number of reasons, not the least of which was the sheer cost of his proposed scheme, Bradfield’s vision did not become a reality. As a possible means of countering drought conditions, however, various forms of his concept have continued to be resurrected to the present day.


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