Home-Historical treasures of Millers Flat

The Horseshoe Bend Swing Bridge

The bridge was built to replace an old pulley chair that was then the only way for the children of Horseshoe Bend to cross the river to attend school. At that time Councillor Roderick McDonald created some amusement when he confessed at a Tuapeka Council meeting that the one and only time he used this chair to cross the river he had been so scared that he felt the need to recite "The Lords Prayer" continuously until his feet were safely back on the ground.

The suspension bridge was designed and built by John Edie [Jnr] Engineer to Tuapeka County Council and it was approved by the Public Works Department to ensure a government grant towards the cost and he built it in the narrowest part of the Clutha River, 8 kilometres away from Millers Flat.

The swing bridge is a main feature of the Millennium Track and is now a part of Department of Conservation [DoC]. It was built in 1913 during the gold mining and built so farmers could get their stock across the river. They used it to transport their cattle and sheep to Beaumont Station and then used it so children could get to school. It links up to the Lonely Graves and is the only remaining swing bridge on the Clutha River because the others were destroyed or fell to pieces. It was built using lots of wood and wire. The wood towers on both sides are 9.3 metres high and the bridge is 70.2 metres long and 75 metres above water. It is nationally recognised as a significant heritage engineering structure.

It is now an old bridge that tourists can visit and walk across to walk the track on the other side

BY Heather

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