Fergusson River Railway Bridge and Boiler

Historical Sites and Heritage Locations

The Fergusson River Bridge and Boiler are a major feature of the local landscape and are significant as remnants of the North Australia Railway (NAR) and for their engineering achievement, particularly in such a remote location. The NAR and its associated infrastructure were critical to the settlement and development of the Territory and proved to be vital transport infrastructure during WWII for the defence of Northern Australia.

The bridge was built from 1914-1918 and used until the NAR closed in 1976.

The consortium involved in the construction of the new standard gauge Alice Springs to Darwin rail link agreed that the bridge was suitable for re-use. This is the only NAR bridge used on the new railway, which was completed in January 2004.

The steam boiler beside the bridge was probably used to power steam driven equipment during construction. Historical photographs of bridge construction at the Katherine River clearly show equipment powered by steam boilers. Why the boiler was left on the river bank is uncertain but it may have developed faults that were too costly for repair.

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