Tabulam Bridge
Tabulam Bridge Mick Stewart

Final plea to save historic bridge

WITH the new Tabulam bridge nearing completion, the fight to save the original structure continues.

Despite multiple objections from the community, this 120-year-old single-span timber bridge, the longest in the southern hemisphere, is expected to be demolished once the new one is opened later this year.

"The RMS have said they're not going to pull it down until 2021 but they won't say which month," bridge supporter John Ibbotson said.

"We have so many people in favour of keeping the bridge given its historical and cultural significance, but the RMS just say, 'too bad'. They're determined to get rid of it."

Last year Tabulam grazier John Cousins started two petitions to stop the original Tabulam bridge from being removed, with over 1,000 signatures gathered, including 250 from the Tabulam Aboriginal Corporation, Jubal and Jubullum Community.

The historic Tabulam Bridge crossing of the Clarence River from helicopter.
The historic Tabulam Bridge crossing of the Clarence River from helicopter. John Ibbotson

However, it did little to change the decision to demolish the historic structure.

Mr Ibbotson said that even support from multiple political leaders over the past 12 months has fallen on deaf ears.

"We have letters from (Federal Member for Page) Kevin Hogan, (Member for Lismore) Janelle Saffin, the mayor of Tabulam and mayor of Tenterfield all in support of keeping the bridge, but it has only delayed plans to demolish it," he said.

Now, Mr Ibbotson says supporters are making a final plea to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in the hopes she can grant a stay of execution.

"It's got to the point where the only way we can save the bridge is if the Premier says, 'save the bridge'," he said.

"After losing Sportsmans Creek Bridge at Lawrence, it's disappointing that we're about to lose another piece of local history."



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