An Important Bridge

Guest Blogger : Peachester History Committee

Sunshine Coast Region Series: Changing Landscapes

The Stanley River at Peachester is normally a quiet and unremarkable stream. Travelers who pass through the township would barely notice the river, and almost certainly take the bridge for granted. It is only during ‘severe weather events’, like the flooding rains in January 2011 and again in 2013, that everyone – local residents and visitors alike – remembers the importance of the Stanley River Bridge crossing.

Opening of the Stanley River Bridge, Peachester, October 1923. Mrs Elizabeth Grigor is cutting the ribbon. Collection of Peachester History Committee

Opening of the Stanley River Bridge, Peachester, October 1923. Mrs Elizabeth Grigor is cutting the ribbon. Collection of Peachester History Committee

The present bridge was re-constructed in 1968, with a higher concrete structure improving on the former timber bridge built 45 years earlier in 1923. The present bridge copes with most fluctuations in the river’s height; however during prolonged heavy rain the water sometimes rises higher than the bridge and flows strongly over the road on the western approach.

Fortunately, because of the proximity to the source, the river crossing at Peachester rises and falls quickly, so a flood at the bridge seldom lasts longer than a few hours. However for those hours the bridge and the road are dangerous and impassable; and we are reminded that the bridge is an important east-west transportation link to the Sunshine Coast region.
After decades of using makeshift river crossings, what an exciting event it must have been for the district when the first bridge was opened!
A newspaper article records the celebrations:-

PEACHESTER BRIDGE OPENED
” The Stanley River Bridge at Peachester was officially opened last Saturday by the Chairman of the Shire Council (Councillor John Tytherleigh). The bridge was gaily decked with flags and bunting, and the ceremony was witnessed by a large assemblage. Councillor Tytherleigh, in his speech, briefly outlined the history of the bridge, and stated that the original estimate was £759/14/-, and the cost to the ratepayers was a little over £800. Peachester residents could congratulate themselves on the fact that the solid timbers used in the building of the bridge were grown in the vicinity. Mr Owen Jones, A.M.I.C.E., Councillor Burgess, Mr F. Warwick, Councillor B. Bryce, and the Shire Clerk (Mr H. Layt) also addressed the meeting. The ceremony of declaring the bridge open was then performed by Mrs W. A. Grigor, Mrs F. Warwick, and Miss Ivy Bryce. Over 70 persons sat down to an ‘al fresco’ tea, and afterwards children’s, men’s, ladies’, and boys’ races were held.”  

Brisbane Courier, 17 October 1923.

Elizabeth’s husband, William Andrew Grigor was born in 1867. His family settled in the Glasshouse mountains area.

William Andrew Grigor, GL-52 Caloundra and Districts Photograph Albums, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

William Andrew Grigor

William A. Grigor’s activities were varied. He was a timber man, a sawmiller, a carpenter, a builder of dips, a dairy farmer and in 1912, when Landsborough Shire was gazetted, he and Owen Jones were elected as Councillors representing the Peachester division. William A. Grigor died in 1929. His wife Elizabeth died in 1952. (Description supplied with photograph)

Helen Page – Peachester History Committee

Postscript

It may interest readers to know that the Stanley River is the main tributary of the Brisbane River and flows westward into Lake Somerset. It crosses the D’Aguilar Hwy near Woodford, south of Peachester and is eventually impounded by the Somerset Dam, some 35 kilometres from its source in the Conondale Ranges, between Maleny and Peachester. The John Oxley Library has a digitised image of the Stanley River in flood,  just north of Woodford on the D’Aguilar Hwy. The image was taken in 1927. For more digitised images on the construction of the Somerset Dam visit State Library’s One Search  catalogue.

Stanley River in flood at Woodford, 1927. Accession number: 82-6-9 - John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Stanley River in flood at Woodford, 1927