Thursday, November 8, 2012

Venus Bath Bridge - Part 1

Venus Baths

Gavin Rose who flew to Canada to attend our DSWAC 'Festival of Stone' last month to build the double arched dry stone bridge near Montreal had just completed a bridge of his own back in Australia. Gavin remained in Ontario to help me on a few other dry stone projects. I was fascinated to hear the story of his bridge and to see photos of the various stages of construction. I asked him to write a short piece about the process which will be posted here in three parts.
The Grampians National Park in the southern state of Victoria in Australia experienced catastrophic flooding in January of 2011. 

Many trails including the park's very popular Venus Baths walk had to be closed as they had been rendered unsafe due to the extensive damage. 
The power of the flood was so great that it diverted around one of the path's bridges and created a new channel. The Park's managers deemed it prudent to let nature take its course and allow the stream to remain on its new alignment. I was asked to install a concrete culvert over the new channel in order to reopen the trail but fortunately, after some persuasion, the managers were talked into the idea of constructing an aesthetically more pleasing drystone arched bridge. 


The first task was to divert the stream with an excavator so that construction of the foundations could commence.  Once this was done very large stones were placed in the deep trench dug by the excavator followed by the footings for the arch and pitching stones between the two footings. 

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