Laying claim to some of Australia’s most treasured and fascinating bridges. 

The modern-day love affair played out on the big screen by Clint Eastwood and Merryl Streep in 1995, was famously set against the backdrop the unique and beautiful bridges of the namesake county. 

Here in the Goldfields and Macedon Ranges, we lay claim to some of Australia’s most treasured and fascinating bridges. The engineering feats, longevity and beauty of our local bridges deserves to be recognised and celebrated.

A spectacular autumn day trip, meandering across the region and taking in our spectacular bridges, not only pays homage to the survival of the humble bridge but showcases their importance to the region’s history.

The Malmsbury Viaduct is an engineering masterpiece constructed in 1862 using 132,000 cubic feet of Malmsbury bluestone. Taking over a year to build, it was constructed as part of the nationally significant Melbourne-Mount Alexander and Murray River Railway. It remains the largest masonry bridge in Victoria.

With five arched spans reaching 152 metres, this incredible man-made creation has been featured in many local and international film and television productions, and is a popular backdrop for wedding photos.

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Jubilee Lake Bridge. Photo by MDP Photography & Video

Before marveling at this iconic beauty, pick up some fresh, local produce from the Malmsbury Farmers’ Market (third Sunday of the month), then head down to the historic Malmsbury Botanic Gardens, where you can access the viaduct via a walking track. Make sure you stop and appreciate the Malmsbury Forrest Road Bridge as you continue your journey. This underplayed piece of regional history features beautiful brickwork and is deserving of a slight detour off the main road.

Located in the heart of the Macedon Ranges, Woodend attracted Victoria’s elite in the early 19th Century, and was famed for its elegant guesthouses and private homes. The Woodend Historic Bridge is a unique attraction. The single-span bluestone bridge features a flat segmental arch with prominent voussoirs and a string course at pavement level. The bridge was built in 1862 on the route to the Goldfields. Over the course of time, it has been widened to cater for the growing population but remains sympathetic to the original structure.

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Historic Macedon Bridge Woodend. Photo by MDP Photography & Video

The bridge crosses the Five Mile Creek with a three-kilometre walking track where you can fully appreciate the historic workmanship. Woodend offers fabulous bakeries, takeaway options, cafes and restaurants. If your bridge sighting adventure kicks off here, then a perfect breakfast to start the day is at the renowned Bourkies Bakehouse a short stroll from the bridge in High Street. For 30 years the bakehouse has never wavered from offering traditional bakehouse fare (just when you thought Long John cakes were a thing of the past) and numerous awards for its meat pies and vanilla slices has kept thousands of visitors and locals treasuring this 30-year-old Woodend institution.

Near Romsey, the little village of Clarkefield is home to one of Australia’s oldest trestle bridges. The bridge was built 141 years ago on the Lancefield rail line crossing the Bolinda Creek. Spanning 64 metres long with 24 openings, the bridge was officially closed in 1956. While many locals value the bridge as a nod to years gone by, its crumbling and dilapidated formation also makes it a popular destination for photographers. The bridge is located on private land but can be glimpsed from the public road (we advise capturing an image via a drone as it’s not safe to stop on the road nearby). Grab a bite to eat at the Coach and Horses in Clarkefield but be careful of the ghosts.

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Malmsbury Viaduct. Photo by Chloe Smith Photography

Nestled on the scenic Loddon River, Warburtons Bridge in Glenluce was built in the mid-19th century and features local bluestone and timber from nearby forests. The bridge is located within the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park which is also home other goldrush relics and history. Warburtons Bridge stands within a small, pet friendly campground with sites perched next to the Loddon River. Set up camp after a day of bridge spotting and while there, head to the nearby Glenluce Mineral Spring and wander through the Vaughn Chinese Cemetery to really get a sense of our heritage.

A short drive away in the Hepburn Shire you’ll find a hidden treasure at Jubilee Lake in Daylesford. Unlike other bridges, this originally had two decks – the upper for the train line and the lower for passengers. While the last train crossed the tracks in 1953, the passenger bridge is a fascinating piece of local history.

Marveling in our beautiful bridges that we often take for granted is one way we can honour the great labor and accomplishments of those before us. Our local bridges are so much more than providing a passageway over an obstacle. They are valuable structures in our region’s history, providing a way to both connect and progress.

About the author

Narelle Groenhout
Narelle Groenhout
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Narelle is a proud tree-changer who only a year or so ago, with her family, swapped suburban Melbourne life and a corporate communications role to fulfil her dream to raise her children in the country and live in a connected and compassionate community. Narelle feels like she has found her community in Daylesford and the surrounding region. Moving from a quarter-acre block on a busy road to an old farmhouse on a two and half acre piece of paradise, bordered on one side by a spring fed creek and the other by majestic eucalypt forest, Narelle has found the life she was looking for, spending her days gardening, entertaining friends and family and writing stories about the remarkable people she has met in her new community, along with trawling the local op-shops, markets, second-hand and tip shops for new treasures.

MDP Photography Mitch Dunn
Photography by MDP Photography & Video
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Mitch is a photographer, filmmaker and photography educator based in Fryerstown and working across Victoria. Their work is people centred, often advocating for social change and visibility for diverse communities, particularly in Regional Victoria. They are currently also absorbed in a Master of Arts Photography at PSC, due to be completed at the end of 2022.