DESTRUCTION OF VICTORIA BRIDGE
“…it is our painful duty to record the fact that the structure has been completely wrecked. The disaster took place about 4am yesterday [6 February], at which time there was a crowd gathered on the dry land at the bridge approaches. Gallantly as the structure had resisted the enormous weight of water rushing against it all day, when the first inroad was made it soon succumbed. The first portion to go was the second or third span, where the flood waters had probably been running the strongest. There was one loud crash, which shook the very earth, and made the surrounding buildings shake to their foundations; one convulsive heave, and the wrecked portion went down the river. Soon other pieces followed it, until before half an hour had elapsed fully one-half of the bridge had disappeared.”.
Brisbane Courier, 7 February 1893, p.2
February 6 marks the anniversary of the destruction of Brisbane’s Victoria Bridge in the early days of the “Great Flood of 1893”. The bridge was a vital artery connecting North and South Brisbane. The previous day, February 5th, saw the destruction of the Indooroopilly Railway Bridge. The extensive and historic photograph collection of the State Library of Queensland contains a number of images documenting this shocking event.
Views from North Quay of the Victoria Bridge, Brisbane, during the 1893 flood, show the water almost over-running the bridge. An unidentified ship is moored at South Brisbane. A large crowd has gathered in the foreground. If you compare these photos with the one above you can see how high the Brisbane River had risen.
Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland