Historical information

"The Melton Viaduct, opened in 1886, is of State heritage significance as a very large and visually distinctive wrought iron, lattice girder trestle bridge over the Werribee River (now Melton Reservoir). It comprises 18.3 and 9.1 metre spans, in a generally alternate arrangement, of total length 375 metres, and standing 38 metres over the Werribee River. Wrought iron small section iron was used to build tension trussed trestle legs, which supported four lines of rivetted wrought-iron deck-type double lattice trusses. It has bluestone abutments and pier bases of coursed rock-faced bluestone with drafted margins. The larger half-piers, now usually submerged in the Melton Reservoir have sharp tapered cutwaters and curved coping at the tops. While designed to carry two rail tracks it has only ever been used as a single track line. Despite several alterations to its deck structure, it remains an outstanding example of a lighter structural design employing open metal trestle supports and metal truss girders.

The direct Melbourne to Ballarat railway link of which the Melton viaduct was the major engineering work contributed significantly to the history and development of Victoria. This new link reflected Ballarat’s diversifying economy as well as the commercial and political influence of the metropolis. Construction of the bridge, and the associated large workers camp, were extensively photographed, documenting an important episode in local history. The railway enabled the development of new industries in the Melton area, notably the timber industry and a chaff industry of national importance, greatly facilitated the later transition of the Shire from a pastoral to a farming economy, and struck a major blow to Melton township’s era as a wayside town servicing Ballarat road (especially coach) traffic".

Physical description

Melton Railway Bridge being built across the Werribee River