Old Logan (Maclean) Bridge
Maclean Bridge, or Old Logan Bridge as it was known at the time, was the preferred crossing point of the Logan River for travellers and transport. The original low-level bridge at this point is thought to have been the first bridge built over the Logan River. Ferries were the preferred means of crossing in Waterford and Beenleigh. The steep banks leading down to the low-level crossing were treacherous and the bridges flooded easily.
“A new high level bridge was built in Maclean late in 1876. This amazing feat of engineering was built from local timber and negated the need for travellers to negotiate the steep grade to the bed of the river to the old low level bridge. The new bridge was seventy feet above low water level. The longest span was ninety-seven feet. It was cable stayed with wrought iron rods radiating from the 88 foot high timber towers.” (Mary Howells, Logan Ridges)
In 1887, the river’s highest recorded flood completely covered the bridge. The Telegraph gave this report of how it held up:
“The bridge is intrinsically unhurt. A large portion of handrail and both approaches
are swept away it is true, but the level of the deck has not shifted the fraction of an inch. This speaks volumes for the design and construction, and the bridge may fairly be appealed to as a model of structures of the same sort.
Our statement of the depth of the water in the river is also fully confirmed. The water completely covered the tops of the uprights to which the suspending rods are attached; thus it is quite safe to say that the depth of the flood water was fully 90 feet.”
Teviot Junction. (1887, January 28). The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), p. 4. Retrieved May 22, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article175121733
By 1913 however, the bridge had deteriorated to the point of a public warning being issued by council. A proposal was presented to council for the replacement of the bridge in 1914 giving the options of a new low-level bridge for a total of £3,535 or a new high-level bridge for £9,190. No decision was made on a new bridge but by 1921 it was finally decided to repair the old timber bridge.
In 1929, the bridge was again deemed unsafe and the RACQ released statements to its members warning them that the bridge was again under repair.
In 1932, The Brisbane Courier featured the bridge and its historical significance to the area.
Maclean Bridge over the Logan River (about 25 miles from Brisbane) is being increasingly patronised by motorists as a picnic resort. The bridge is one of the highest in Queensland, and the wide banks and grassy slopes make ideal conditions for family parties. One of the attractions is the old-time low-level bridge used by the bullock teams and travellers in the very early days. The approaches to this old bridge wind round under the present structure (which is over 50 years old) and it is a tribute to the quality of Queensland timber that much of the old logging is still intact
The piles and girders of the old bridge remain in position, and with very little expenditure it could be made to do duty again. About a mile and a half below the bridge is the old rafting ground, from which pine logs were rafted to the mills in
Brisbane in the early days.
An Old-time Bridge. (1932, February 16). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), p. 10. Retrieved May 22, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article21781372
Though the argument had often been made for it, it wasn’t until 1939 that a new high-level steel and concrete bridge was finally approved. It was opened in April 1940.
The old timber high-level bridge that had withstood so much, finally succumbed to the forces of the river when it “collapsed with a roar” during the flood of 1947 - the river’s second highest recorded flood.