contemplari1940 has added a photo to the pool:
Opening of The Albert Bridge
The handsome new bridge which spans the river Torrens near the site of the old Frome, Bridge, and has been named after the late Prince Albert, was formally opened at noon on Wednesday May 7, by the Mayoress (Mrs Buik), in the presence of a large assemblage of leading citizens.
The bridge is an iron erection with the exception of the abutments, which are of stone, the lower part from the ground line to the plinth course being from Mr Bundey's quarry at Teatree Gully, while the piers, panels, and coping composing the superstructure are of Sydney freestone. The bridge has a total length of 120 feet between the abutments, and is composed of three spans—that in the centre being 60 feet, and those at the ends 30 feet each. The total width is 42 feet between the handrails, divided into a carriageway of 30 feet and two footpaths of six feet. The bridge has the appearance of an arched structure, but in reality it consists of continuous girders throughout, of which those over the central opening balance the side spans, which act as cantilevers. By this arrangement no weight is thrown upon the abutments, as would have been the case had an ordinary form of construction been adopted.
The piers in the river, which bear the whole weight of the bridge, are each formed of three cast-iron cylinders, the outer being 4½ feet diameter decreasing to 3 feet, and the inner 6 feet diameter decreasing to 4½ feet. These are provided at the bottom with a cutting edge, and are carried down to a depth of from 12 to 15 feet below the bed of the river, passing through a strong gravel and resting upon the_ gravel or upon an indurated clay which underlies it. The first cylinder was sunk dry, pumps having been used to keep down the water which flowed in from the gravel through which the cylinder passed. The power required to keep down the water was, however, so great that the contractors determined to sink the cylinders by means of a diver working under water, and the remaining cylinders have been sunk by this method. The diver excavated the gravel round the edge of the cylinders, which were heavily weighted by being loaded at the top with large blocks of cast iron and the bracing links from the old City Bridge, and as the gravel was removed by the diver the cylinder sunk by its own weight. When the cylinders had been sunk to the required depth they were filled up with concrete, and upon this bed stones were laid after the cylinders had been raised to the height of the under side of the girders. The cylinders are provided with ornamental bases and caps.
The height of the girders at the springing of the piers is 7¼ feet, and at the abutments 6½ feet, the radius of the curve of the under side of the girders for the side and centre spans being 28 feet and 106½ feet respectively. The girders are of wrought iron, and have a web 3/8 inch thick throughout, the flange-plates being of the same thickness. These are two feet wide and increase in number from a single plate at the ends to three at the piers. There are three girders, which are spaced 15 feet apart, and are securely braced together over the piers: these run the whole length of the bridge, and upon them cross girders are fixed 1¼ feet deep and 6 feet apart: the latter project 6½ feet beyond the girders and form cantilevers for carrying the footpath and parapet.
The roadway is carried by 3-inch jarrah planking resting upon joists of the same material, and which are borne by the cross girders. The footway is covered with timber planking two inches thick. The ends of the cross girders support a moulded cornice with corbels, to which are attached the brackets which secure the handrail and the openwork panels under it. Over the caps of the river piers half-columns with fluted sides are carried up, covering the junctions of the springing of the curves of the girders, and giving the spectator just the idea of the extra strength required at these points to support pilasters of iron, which relieve the monotony of the handrail and are ornamented with panels on each side, the one facing the roadway being filled in with the arms of the Corporation of Adelaide. A lamp of graceful design upon each of these pilasters completes the bridge, which is a handsome one, though of massive proportions and, perhaps, a trifle heavy in appearance. The panels and lamps are, however, not yet erected as in consequence of the large amount of minute work upon them they were not ready for shipment with the rest of the ironwork. They are expected to arrive in a few days.
The bridge has been erected under the superintendence of Mr Langdon, the City Surveyor, by the contractors, Messrs Davies & Wishart, the contract price being £7,550. There have been some extras, however, which have brought the actual cost of the bridge up to £9,000. The design was chosen by the City Council in an open competition, the successful competitor being Mr John H Grainger, who is to be complimented upon the handsome bridge which is now completed.
The opening ceremony was a very simple affair. The bridge was gaily decorated with flags and banners, and a couple of arches of evergreen spanned the roadway. In the centre of the structure a temporary platform had been erected, and here the Mayor and Mayoress, members of the Government, and the City Corporation stood while the bridge was being formally named and declared open for traffic. The Mayor arrived in his carriage immediately after the time given had indicated the hour, and he was soon afterwards followed by a string of vehicles containing most of those who were anxious to see the ceremony. Among these were the Chief Secretary, Hon W Morgan, the Commissioner of Public Works (Hon G C Hawker), the Commissioner of Crown Lands (Hon T Playford), Messrs Townsend, Fowler, and Fraser MP's, Colonel Downes and Major Godwin, Mr R C Patterson, Assistant Engineer: the members of the Corporation: Mr Langdon, the City Surveyor: and several ex-members of the Corporation and other gentlemen interested in the erection of a third bridge between North and South Adelaide. The Mayor announced that his wife had been asked to formally open the bridge. Mrs Buik then stepped forward, and after breaking the bottle of wine in the orthodox fashion, formally named the structure "The Albert Bridge”, and declared it open for traffic.
The Mayor then came forward and said that he had been desired by his wife to say on her behalf that she felt highly honoured at being asked to perform the ceremony of opening this beautiful bridge. He believed it was universally admitted that though the bridge was smaller than the City Bridge it was better in many respects, at any rate it was much more beautiful. It was called the "Albert Bridge" after the illustrious husband of our beloved Queen.
The cost of the bridge was about £9,000 altogether, the contract price was £8,100, the extra cost being incurred principally through it having been found necessary to deepen the foundations. He felt sure the citizens would admit that the contractors had fairly and properly done their work, and that the bridge would be an ornament to the city as well as a great convenience to the eastern end of the town.
Ref: Evening Journal (Adelaide SA) 7 May 1879.