A TROUBLESOME CREEK PART 2
The first bridge over the Bungambrawatha Creek was in Dean Street, built by Mr John Pool for £95, completed in August 1863. The bridge survived until November 2, 1870, when the Border Post reported: “the Dean Street Bridge, from the constant floods of late, has been undermined and is now prostrate.” Council was forced to act. On November 30, 1870, they called for plans to turn the creek through Mr Wilcox’s paddock to Dean Street and around the Gardens Reserve to the river.
In March 1871, Mr Daniel Driscoll was contracted to carry out earthworks and construct two bridges in Dean Street. On completion in January 1872, he was paid £245/4.
The capacity of the new channel was woefully inadequate but at least we have a starting point of council realigning and enlarging a canal which today drains thousands of hectares from the Black Range to the river.
In 1874, Mr R Wilcox subdivided Lots 8, 9 and 10 (see map) into 83 allotments, introducing Wilcox Street and Swift Street west. He also provided five right-of-ways, giving rear access to most lots.
Trouble remained. By filling the original creek bed across Dean Street, a cul-de-sac was formed, creating a fetid, stagnant swamp, back to where the new diversion had been cut. For years it became a tip, the only plus was its central locality.
On the night of October 17, 1879, a cloudburst caused major problems. Two dams on the Black Range burst, sending a wall of water down the creek, flooding everything in its path, from Western Hill to half way up Dean Street. The overflow of the putrid tip left a fearful mess.
Driscoll’s timber bridge was superseded in 1883 when Messrs Jackson, Hudson and Brooksbank constructed a buckleplate bridge, still in service today, although it was widened in 1929 and a concrete deck added in 1989. As development increased, new streets appeared.
In 1885 Mr DJ Abercrombie subdivided Lot 2 and set aside land for a street named Stanley Street. Elizabeth Street was a little more complex but government gave permission to fill the creek and form that street in 1887. Creek Street came after Public Baths were built in 1888.
Englehardt, Victoria, Mitchell, Carrington streets etc came after further subdivision. Ten cultivation blocks have now turned into hundreds of homes, businesses, clubs and recreation facilities. After 100 years, 12 bridges, much sweat and enormous input of council funds, our city has learned to live with a creek unnoticed, running pretty much through its centre.
Joe Wooding, Albury & District Historical Society