Warburton Swing Bridge, Tennis Courts, Club House, and Rotunda
3365 Warburton Highway and Dammans Road WARBURTON, YARRA RANGES SHIREShow Place Maps and Streetview
Statement of Significance
This group of buildings has high local significance as an important component of a key site within Warburton township. The Swing Bridge is said to be one of only two like it across major Victorian rivers. The tennis courts date from 1912 and 1927-28, and the Tennis Club House, designed by Ron Walker, Captain of the Warburton Football Team was once also used for township dances. Only the top half of the old Rotunda remains. The bottom half, used to store fire equipment when the Rotunda was the fire brigade headquarters from 1914 to 1932, has now gone.
The swing bridge and nearby rotunda and tennis club are an interesting focal point in Warburton's main street and on the riverside walk through the town. The swing bridge, a tensile cable timber suspension bridge, is an important landmark. Its tall timber pylons stand high above the river bank, with the narrow footbridge suspended between, hung from heavy twisted steel cables. Timber side railings and timber posts and rails are braced with timber stays. The bridge is a simple lightweight construction using an economy of material to achieve a wide span. It is elegantly proportioned and provides an attractive element in this riverside setting.
There are only a few example of swing bridges in Victoria, with the pedestrian bridge over the Erskine River at Lorne being a well-known example that is similar in form and detailing, and the Amboyne Crossing Swing Bridge in northern Gippsland another (although originally not restricted to pedestrians) . Only the latter has heritage protection.
The bridge is an important link for the town which is divided by the Yarra River and crossed by three widely separated road bridges. On the south side of the river, adjoining the swing bridge, is Story Reserve. The Reserve is used in part for car parking with the balance set aside for picnics. The car parking area is surrounding by large eucalypts which are themselves an important element in the town centre and river landscape. The picnic area is dominated by the rotunda building and several large oak trees. The rotunda is the top section of a former bandstand (see history). It has a timber frame and posts, with evidence of some repairs to the posts to remove failed sections at the base. The simple timber brackets also appear original, as does the sheet metal roofing with rolled joins. The internal seats and roof lining appears recent, presumably associated with its removal to this location.
Next to Story Reserve, and close to the end of the bridge is the tennis club pavilion, a 1920s timber building. The tennis courts were lowered to the present level at around the same time. The pavilion is a gable-roofed building with two wings that projects towards the courts. Typical of the period are the half-timbered gable ends, the double-hung sash windows with 6 paned sashes, and exposed rafters at the eaves. The roof and the rear verandah/deck appear recent. The tennis club pavilion building is set on an angle to the courts, creating an attractive disposition of these elements. A rear deck looks out over the river.
Physical Conditions: Good
Integrity: Evidence of stages