Tucked away from sight in far East Gippsland, Australia is a relic of a forgotten time. A time when trains traversed the nation moving people and goods across this huge land that we live in. Twenty kilometres East of Lakes Entrance on the Princess Highway you may notice a sign that says “Historic Trestle Bridge”. Three Kilometres of unsealed gravel road takes you deep into the Colquhoun State Forest. Here you will find The Stony Creek Trestle Bridge. The Stony Creek Trestle Bridge was built in the early part of the 20th century in 1916.
The bridge was constructed when the existing rail line from Melbourne to Bairnsdale extended to Orbost. This 97km Bairnsdale to Orbost extension made its way through the rugged terrain of East Gippsland. This section of railway was to have been the most difficult rail project undertaken in Victoria due to the surrounding dense bushland. The bridge serviced the line for over 60 years until damaged by bushfire in 1980. The bridge was repaired and the services resumed.
Stony Creek Trestle Bridge is a hidden Gem
Due to high infrastructure costs and low passenger numbers, the last train crossed the bridge in 1988. At 247 Meters long and 20 meters high, it is the largest standing bridge of its kind in the State of Victoria. The bridge is listed on the Register of Historic Sites. Building materials for the bridge included red ironbark and grey box timber. Stony Creek Trestle Bridge is a prime example of the early engineering. Using skills and practises that utilised the resources and materials found on the site.
Hidden in the forest of East Gippsland
You will find viewing platforms at either end of the bridge. You can also walk down and view the bridge from underneath. The view from underneath gives you the sense of the scale and height of this relic of yesteryear. Willow and Marley expressed their disappointment that you could not walk over the bridge. You cannot walk on the bridge anymore as its top decking is in a state of disrepair and there are no guard rails on the sides. The top deck is actually fenced off to stop people getting out onto the bridge.
There is car parking available at either end of the bridge. Toilets are on site and there is a picnic table located just off to the side of the car park. The Stony Creek Trestle Bridge is one of those finds that only happen when you take the chance to turn off the highway, to ask yourself why don’t we follow that little sign on the side of the road? Gippsland is full of little treasures like this waiting to be discovered by you!