By Reg A. Watson
COMING from Geilston Bay and heading towards the Bowen Bridge on the East Derwent Highway, one will pass a little, but very historical bridge.
As one of the earliest bridges in Tasmania, not many people know it is there and is easy to miss.
Situated not far from the Risdon Cove settlement (1803), the bridge shows how historically significant the Eastern Shore is.
The Aborigines had been visiting the site prior to settlement for thousands of years, making the area a real Tasmanian gem.
It is a small, convict built, sandstone bridge that dates from 1838, and is hard to see
It is said that the bridge was the model for the red bridge that spans Elizabeth River at Campbell Town.
It is well preserved and is of a single arch bridging Risdon Creek.
However, it is hard to find due to it being covered with foliage including blackberries, and few would know of its existence or history – a great shame.
The constant traffic flow also makes it quite dangerous to inspect.
The bridge is not far from the Saracen Inn, which is located on the corner of the Tasman Highway and the Risdon Roundabout.
In colonial times, the area serviced those travelling to Richmond.
For people travelling past, it is next to what appears to be a small hydro sub-station of red brick, but it is a very busy area and it is dangerous to stop and check the bridge out.
Sadly, taking away from the bridge’s visual impact is a large pipe that is supported by concrete posts cut across the bridge’s arch.
Nonetheless, it is a very interesting and forgotten piece of colonial history that should be recognised.