Heading north again, up the east coast of Tasmania, we stopped at a spot outside the old town of Swansea, which sits on Great Oyster Bay. The road to Swansea is crossed by a deep gully, and the gully is in turn crossed by a bridge: the Spiky Bridge, also known as the Prisoners Bridge.
Constructed in 1843 of local fieldstones, the convict-built bridge was created almost entirely without mortar or concrete. In the book, I mention that there are more practical explanation for the rocky spikes along the bridge than the one I reported, and the most common of those practical reasons seems to be that it would prevent cattle from falling over the edge. I can imagine they’d accomplish that.
Swansea overlooks Freycinet National Park, one of Tasmania’s oldest national parks, but that park, along with the other colonial-period relics in Swansea, will have to wait for a return trip to Tasmania.
6 responses to “Spiky Bridge”
I remember this bridge. It gets less attention than the Richmond and Ross Bridges, but I though it was the most fascinating in a way. Love your photos.
Thanks. And where’s the Ross Bridge? I saw the Richmond Bridge, but I don’t remember a Ross Bridge. But then, one of the great disappointments in Tasmania was that the tour had been cut from 14 days to 9, so I know I missed a lot. I just need to come back.
LOL It’s in the town of Ross: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross,_Tasmania
I think it was a really pretty bridge. Ross in sort of east-centre – anyhow, there’s a map on the Wikipedia article.
It’s a grand looking bridge. Looks like it belongs on a really lovely estate somewhere in England.
This bridge feels of agony still. From Richmond and its lovely graceful bridge with sumnmer picnicers about lawn, the road North along the coast and low bushland is so comfortable. Then the Spiky Bridge appears and one can understand the irony of smooth rock fits to sharp edged mysery of the inmate told to build a crossing over the branch. Tasmania is a wonderful land. One only has to slurp an oyster to know there is mystery there.
Wonderfully and poetically expressed, Chris—and all true. Nice to “meet” someone else who thinks Tasmania is special.