Sale Swing Bridge News

April 2007

Filming for the movie The Tender Hook took place at The Swing Bridge during April. The Tender Hook features Aussie stars Hugo Weaving and Rose Byrne.

A film crew of 70 stayed in Sale during shooting of scenes at the bridge providing a financial boost to the city. Sale locals believe the event will provide a boost to the area, giving positive exposure and promoting tourism in the region.

Although the movie is based on the Sydney underworld in the 1920s, it is being filmed entirely in Melbourne and Gippsland.

19 Feb 2006
The restored Swing Bridge was officially opened on the 19th of February 2006.

Sale Swing Bridge 2006
The Sale Swing Bridge - during restoration (2005)

23 September 2003
Restoration Works to begin on the Historic Bridge.

The swing bridge bypass project was completed in April 2002, diverting traffic to Longford from the Swing Bridge over two newly constructed bridges. Restoration works on the Swing Bridge are set to begin in October 2003. Bridge construction specialists Jarvis Norwood of Swan Reach received a $330,000 contract to complete stage one of the works. Stage one of the restoration involves rebuilding the foundation of the bridge which has moved forward over the years blocking the swing mechanism. Work is expected to be completed by the end of the year. After this work has been completed, it is anticipated that further works will take place to restore the swing mechanism, deck and railings.

The Port of Sale Boat Club have proposed an alternative to the restoration that will still enable boat traffic to access the Port of Sale. Rather than re-opening the bridge, they would like to see the Sale Canal extended and routed around the Swing Bridge. They propose the bridge be available only to pedestrian and cycling traffic wishing to gain access to a proposed spiral viewing tower overlooking the wetlands. The Port of Sale Boat Club believe this would be a better alternative for boat traffic giving permanent access and eliminating the need to open the bridge every time a large vehicle needed to pass.

June 1999
$10.5M Funding Announced

A $10.5M State Government initiative announced in June 1999 includes restoration of the Swing Bridge. In addition two new bridges will be built over the Latrobe and Thomson Rivers. Although $3.5M has been allocated this financial year, work is not expected to begin for two or three years.

The Swing Bridge will be left in it's current location and refurbished and supported by the "Friends of the Swing Bridge" Group. State Roads and Ports Minister Geoff Craige stated that the bridge should stay where it is and not be relocated as a tourist attraction. Also stated by Mr Craige: "The Swing Bridge is a wonderful piece of history but is no longer adequate as a link on this major traffic route". Better access via the two new bridges will cut delays and allow easy access to the area by trucks.

Restoration of the bridge will bring it back to full working order - including the operation of the swing mechanism.


 The Historic Swing Bridge

The Swing (Latrobe) Bridge, built in 1883 by the Victorian government, was the first movable bridge built in Victoria. Designed by John Grainger (the father of famous Australian pianist and composer Percy Grainger) this bridge opened by pivoting horizontally on a set of central piers. The bridge keeper would be summoned, day or night, to open the bridge by the whistle of ships travelling along the Latrobe River.

When the bridge was built, the ships could only go as far as McArdell's Gap, leaving a distance of one mile to the town. This prompted the building of a canal enabling shipping to travel right into town so that the load could be transferred to train at the nearby railway station.

The Sale Canal was built in three stages, beginning in 1886. Much of the work was done by hand, with pick and shovel. Technology did however come to the rescue eventually, involving the use of Chesney's patent automatic earth scoop and William Forbes' traction engine. 1890 became the year of the birth of the Port of Sale.

Historic Swing Bridge in the open position.