Bridge by day

The Bridge Over the
River Clyde

Batemans Bay, NSW, Australia

The coastal resort town of Batemans Bay and its surrounding area, on the NSW south coast, are blessed with one of the most beautiful, natural environments in all of Australia. Situated on the mouth of the famous Clyde River, the spectacular combination of picturesque coastline, pristine waterways and lushly forested mountains provide a popular place to live or visit.

Whilst most of the fame of the area is based on its environment, one particular man made icon of Batemans Bay is also well loved and respected by locals and visitors alike. The bridge over the Clyde River is particularly interesting as it is a rare lifting span type and, when operating to allow for vessels to pass beneath, is a fascinating marvel of engineering to witness.

This page offers you a glimpse of the history and detail of the very important Clyde River Bridge at Batemans Bay.


Batemans Bay
Looking east from upstream with Clyde River Bridge in centre.

The Clyde River Bridge Today
The Bridge today is held in high esteem by locals who appreciate its importance to the town and coastal communities beyond. With tourism the number industry in the area, the bridge is a vital link for vehicles and pedestrians. Visitors to the area are quickly charmed by its iconic presence and its fascinating operation.

From south over the CBD of Batemans Bay with Pigeon House Mountain in background. Photo ©Geoff Payne Photo Art
In the years since the construction of the bridge, land to the north of the Clyde has been increasingly popular for residential use and Batemans Bay has grown as a resort whilst retaining its precious environmental spendour.
The Clyde River bridge carries thousands of vehicles a day. Roadway clearance on the bridge is 5.1 metres. Clearance for shipping is 20 metres above high water level. The span is lifted on demand, an average of 1000 times annually. To arrange for the Bridge to be raised contact Mike at Batemans Bay Power and Sail on (02)4472 7263. An absolute minimum of one hour's notice is required.

Views from the bridge are extensive and breathtaking. Looking west over Budd Island and on up the Clyde, as she winds through native forests on way to Nelligen and beyond, is a peaceful and evocative vista in any conditions.
To the east, ponder the view of fishing, sailing and charter boats, the Batemans Bay central business district, Snapper and the Tollgate Islands and eventually the meeting of the Clyde and the Pacific.

Bridge by night
Sunset over bridge
Sunsets upstream, and sunrises downstream, from the bridge are truly spectacular.
At night the various lights of the bridge reflect in the waters of the Clyde adding a touch of romance to this majestic structure.

The anniversary of the opening of the bridge in November 1956 is celebrated annually by the Clyde River Carnival held on the first full weekend of November.

Truss Bridges
A beam, or girder, bridge is limited in span by the strength of its girders. This limitation is overcome by assembling a system of supporting members in triangles above the horizontal span girders to form trusses. Leonardo da Vinci sketched truss bridges, and the Italian architect Andrea Palladio probably built several. Two truss bridges were built in Switzerland about 1760. Truss-bridge construction, however, did not develop on a large scale until after 1840. In the United States the use of wooden trusses with iron tie-rods led to a combination cast- and wrought-iron construction about 1850 and, later, to steel trusses.

Opening Bridges
Where provision must be made for the passage of shipping under the bridge and where it is impracticable to build the bridge high enough for complete clearance, a movable span is constructed.
The oldest type is the 'bascule' bridge, on the principle of the drawbridge. The Clyde River bridge is of a less common type - the 'vertical lift'. A girder is lifted by counter-weighted cables suspended from the two towers.

  • The place names mentioned in this website differ today to those quoted in the articles from the Department of Main Roads Journals. The Geographic Names Board has since dropped apostrophes from place names. Thus Bateman's Bay became Batemans Bay and the Prince's Highway became the Princes Highway.
  • The NSW Department of Main Roads is now known as the Roads & Traffic Authority.
  • All images and text on this site are copyright.

  • Links
    Clyde River Bridge: History
    Related sites:
    Clyde River
    Batemans Bay
    Other Local History Articles
    Batemans Bay OnLine - Boating

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