Monday, September 14, 2015

Crossings over Gawler River

Early settlers to the area, had to navigate their own way across rivers.  At time of heavy rain, rivers could be flooded and dangerous to cross.  Movement of produce for market could be tricky and hazardous.  It was no wonder one a permanent structure across a river would be an important asset to the local community.

After the gold rush era as prospectors began returning home, there was more time and money to invest in ensuring reliable river crossings, rather than the fords. 

For some considerable time, three district councils (Mudla Wirra East, Mudla Wirra West and Munno Para) maintained several crossings on private land over the Gawler River.  In a short distance around Angle Vale there were several crossings.
·       Wingate’s crossing became Crispe’s crossing (between Virginia and Gawler bridge section 92)

·       Wood’s crossing (section 50)

·       Burford’s crossing (Esau owned section 7588, 7587, Alfred, John Bastow storekeeper at Angle Vale owned 7589) Angle vale bridge built on 7589 and 89 Mudla Wirra

·       McCord crossing .  Samuel Dawkins junior brought McCord’s property in 1876
When funds became available to build a more permanent structure, there was much contention amongst the locals as to where it should be built.  Each landowner wanted it as close to their property as possible.

Many wanted to build a bridge at Peter Rowe’s property, others wanted it closer to Gawler at Wingate’s crossing.  Burford’s initially was the preferred location, as it was more central, convenient and could be constructed cheaper than if it was at Crispe’s.
At a community meeting convened at Mr Cripe’s farm at Angle Vale held in 7 August 1874, there was lively discussion on to where a bridge should be constructed. The 140 people attending voted on their preferred location, a show of hands showed those in favour of a bridge at Day’s (3), Wood’s (3), Crispe’s (30), and Burfords (46). 

A deputation a year later presented a memorial to the Commissioner for Public Works for the erection of a bridge over the Gawler River.  The memorial gave Crispe’s (section 92) as the preferred location.  The site was the only place on the river where cross roads lead in all directions. It would be convenient for those on the north side of the river could easily reach the Smithfield Railway station with their produce.  They pointed out that Wingate’s was their preferred site, but in order to meet the wishes of those in favour of Burford’s crossing they would support one at Crispe’s.  The Angle Vale Bridge was constructed at Burford’s crossing.

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