Story Bridge Brisbane Facts

The Story Bridge in Brisbane, Australia, spans the Brisbane River and connects Fortitude Valley to Kangaroo Point. Opened on July 6, 1940, it is the longest cantilever bridge in Australia.

The bridge has two carriageways with a pedestrian walkway and bicycle path on each side of the bridge deck. It is a popular spot for visitors and locals to take in stunning views of the cityscape at either end of its 918-meter span.

Story Bridge Brisbane Facts for Kids

  • The Story Bridge is in Brisbane, Australia.
  • It connects Fortitude Valley & Kangaroo Point.
  • It’s a steel cantilever bridge.
  • It was opened in 1940.
  • It’s 80 meters above the Brisbane River.
  • You can climb the bridge for a scenic view.

History of the Bridge

Envisioning a bridge connecting Kangaroo Point and the Brisbane CBD goes back centuries.

In 1865, the people of Brisbane were already asking for the Victoria Bridge, which would eventually connect North and South Brisbane, to be built, with hundreds having signed a petition requesting that it link the Customs House with Kangaroo Point.

These efforts would culminate in an official meeting at the Brisbane Town Hall in 1888. Here, local citizens suggested that any ensuing damage to the City Botanic Gardens be repaid by removing the Government House from its current location.

George Street, Albert Street, and Edward Street were all viewed as potential sites for this second bridge.

Planning for the New Bridge

Constructing a bridge downstream of the Victoria Bridge was a strategic move by Professor Roger Hawken to divert traffic away from Brisbane’s Central Business District.

Initially, plans included a transporter bridge at New Farm, but in 1926 Kangaroo Point was suggested as an alternative site.

This led to the William Jolly Bridge becoming the first structure of Hawken’s proposed ‘Cross-River Plan’ and beginning works during the economic crisis of The Great Depression.

With the approved budget staying clear of £1.6 million, techniques like steel reinforcement were used sparingly, and the final build cost came in at less than half of initial estimates.

Sitting nearly 800m downriver from Victoria Bridge, this engineering feat connects two main thoroughfares via six lanes across over 500m, making it one of Brisbane’s most recognizable landmarks.

Construction of The Bridge

On December 15, 1933, John Bradfield was commissioned by the Queensland Government to design a bridge in Brisbane.

His recommendation of a steel cantilever bridge was approved in June 1934, heavily inspired by the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal.

A consortium of two local companies won the bid for construction on April 30, 1935, with a cost of £1,150,000, and work began five days later.

Components were made in Rocklea, and there are 1.25 million rivets used to hold it together. The primary challenge was due to southern foundations needing to reach 40 meters deep -impossible to dig as water would seep in quickly.

So a pneumatic caisson technique had to be employed where workers were subjected to air pressures four times higher than normal, necessitating almost two hours of decompression after each shift or risk getting “the bends.”

The gap between both sides was closed on October 28, 1939, and lighting and painting were added afterward. Three men tragically died during its construction; Hans James Zimmerman, Alfred William Jackson, and Arthur McKay (Max) Wharton, while saving another worker from falling off the bridge 18 months earlier.

What is the Story Bridge?

The Story Bridge is a steel cantilever bridge spanning the Brisbane River in Queensland, Australia. It was opened in 1940 and was named after John Douglas Story, a senior government official who had been a strong advocate for its construction.

The bridge carries an average of 97,000 vehicles each day, with three lanes of traffic traveling in either direction and flanking pedestrians and cycleways

At one point, it featured tolls, but these were removed by 1947.

What is its role in contemporary Brisbane?

The Story Bridge has become an important cultural landmark in modern Brisbane, featuring prominently in the annual Riverfire display and often illuminated at night.

The bridge has attracted thousands of visitors to experience special occasions, including anniversaries, as well as food, drink, and entertainment offerings when the bridge closes to vehicle traffic.