View of the High Street bridge across the Merri Creek, Clifton Hill, November 1892. Photograph taken by Thomas Beckett, probably from the railway embankment on the south side of Merri Creek.

Part of a collection of glass plate negatives taken by Dr Thomas George Beckett, doctor, pioneering radiologist and amateur photographer between 1891 and 1910. The collection is primarily of Beckett's family, friends, homes, and towns and suburbs where Beckett and his family lived, including Charlton in central Victoria and Northcote & South Yarra, suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria.

The bridge across Merri Creek at the southern end of High Street was built for the recently created Shire of Jika Jika in 1875 to a design by T.E. Rawlinson, Road Engineer in the Department of Roads and Bridges, although contributions to its design have also been attributed to the Jika Jika Shire Engineer, Evander McIver. The bridge was constructed of Malmsbury bluestone (basalt) and bricks from local brickworks in Northcote. The bridge was widened in 1890 to allow for the extension of the Clifton Hill cable tram route up High Street. The widening was executed in a similar style to the original design and was supervised by George Duncan, Engineer to the Melbourne Tramways & Omnibus Company. The widening can be seen in the photograph by the lighter section of brickwork and masonry under the arch on the side closest to the photographer.

Description of Content

West side view of the brick and bluestone masonry arch bridge which carries High Street over the Merri Creek between Clifton Hill and Northcote. The bridge design comprises two 20 metre segmented arch spans built in English bond brickwork, supported on a central pier of quarry-faced bluestone ashlar masonry with similar bluestone abutments. Above the centre pier and each abutment are coupled squared ashlar bluestone Doric pilasters. A bluestone Doric entablature with ornamental cornice brackets extends across the entire length of the bridge at the level of the road surface and is topped by brick parapet walls which curve outwards at either end to follow the wingwalls. The pilasters extend through the parapets and are capped by stone plinths providing bases for six cast iron gas lamp standards. Reticulated gas mains were first extended across Merri Creek to Northcote over the High Street Bridge following its completion in 1875. The watercourse running beneath the bridge is carrying only a small flow of water and is strewn with rough basalt boulders across the creek bed. There is a wooden picket fence running along the creek bank in the foreground and a double-storied brick terrace house can be seen on the far side of the creek behind the bridge, along with the roofs of other houses.

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