Call to save heritage

Bunjil Creek bridge and channel.

Macedon Ranges residents are petitioning Regional Roads Victoria to honour plans to save some of Gisborne’s oldest heritage in the Kilmore and Melbourne Roads intersection upgrade.

The $12.5 million state government upgrade to improve traffic flow and pedestrian crossings puts at risk a historic bluestone bridge and channel and significant trees.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council intervention last year saw RRV agree to protect the heritage bridge and channel. RRV revealed in June the the bridge over bridge solution was no longer viable.

“The two main issues that have persuaded RRV … were ground conditions and flood risks,” a report to council stated.

RRV intended to progress the work on the intersection upgrade with the aim to have works under way in early 2022. Both the council and community are seeking further options.

Gisborne and Mount Macedon Districts Historical Society president Frank Porter said it was important to explore other avenues.

“This 147-year-old bridge is a major part of the heritage of Gisborne and should remain,” he told the Express.

The historical society submitted a proposal to protect the bridge using a series of concrete encased pilings on which a steel structure could be built to support the road base to keep the bluestone structure intact.

“We at the society firmly believe that the heritage of the bluestone bridge including channel should remain intact as well as several of the 120-year-old oak trees which were part of the council’s application for heritage listing,” Mr Porter said.

“We are very keen that in three years we will be able to celebrate the 150th anniversary of our bluestone bridge.”

Last month MRSC voted to continue advocating for protection of the heritage fabric of the bluestone bridge and channel, and trees.
The could will also progress planning scheme amendment C143, which would offer formal heritage protection.

A petition to save Gisborne’s historic bridge and oak trees has already gained more than 300 signatures. It can be signed at:

Bunjil Creek bridge and channel

In 1874 a bluestone bridge was constructed over the now called Bunjil Creek at the entrance from Melbourne to Gisborne on the Mount Alexander Road, which is now Melbourne Road.

All traffic from Melbourne and Bendigo to Gisborne travelled over this bridge. In the days before the motor vehicle, it was used by horse and cart, wagons, and Cobb & Co.

With the increase of the motor vehicle the bluestone bridge was modified in 1927 to enable the passage of the ever-increasing vehicle and heavier traffic. This modification only had minor effect on the existing bridge structure.

– Gisborne and Mount Macedon Districts Historical Society