Sunday, 13 September 2015

Little Quoin Rivulet Bridge, Kempton

The bridge forms part of the historic route from Hobart to Launceston and is close to the historic town of Kempton. In 1822, when Green Ponds was barely a township, the journey to Hobart could take up to 4 days with a bullock and dray. To allow the economic expansion to occur, the colony needed an efficient road system for the many farmers & producers to get their produce to markets.

By 1840, the bulk of the road network had been developed, largely thanks to the efforts of convict labour. This little bridge is an excellent example of the high degree of skill involved in producing this network. A small bridge, it has a single stone arch span. It is very old for an Australian bridge. It has a good appearance with substantial, curved balustrade walls. It’s a small single span stone arch road bridge, with a span of 1.4m and an internal clear height of 2m, with substantial stone balustrades, carrying a stone with an inscription that is difficult to read, but which is reported as carrying the date, 1840.

It was built by Captain Frederick Forth, Director-General of Roads in 1840 and suggests that it was one of two that Forth referred to as "two at Cross Marsh erected without any assistance other than the convicts placed under my disposal." To build this bridge, Captain Forth used some of the highly skilled convicts known as the “Canadian Rebels” who were stationed at the nearby Green Ponds Probation station.

The bridge crosses over the Little Quoin Rivulet at the northern end of town. It is in excellent condition and original form. A beautiful structure and a wonderful reminder of the work that went into the development of the all important colonial road network.

Main Text & Information Sources – 
Australian Heritage Database
Interpretive Sign at the Site.