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Paterson River history

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Belmore Bridge

The first Belmore Bridge across the Hunter River at Maitland opened in 1869 (three years after the Pitnacree Bridge a few kilometres downstream). It was named after the then Governor of New South Wales, the Earl of Belmore.

The tidal limit at the time of European settlement was at a gravel bar west of the present Belmore Bridge at a location called the Falls (just behind the Maitland Courthouse). It was here that teamsters and the settlers of Bolwarra and the Paterson Valley had to cross to travel to their farms. The Falls remained an important crossing until the Belmore Bridge opened in 1869.[1]

The present Belmore Bridge opened in 1964 and the first one was demolished. The aerial photo at the bottom of the screen shows the different alignments of the two bridges. The first bridge joined onto St Andrews Street so people coming off the bridge entered Maitland between the Belmore and Imperial Hotels.

the old Belmore Bridge

The old Belmore Bridge photographed from Lorn (Athel D'Ombrain collection, University of Newcastle).

floodwaters raging through the old Belmore Bridge at Maitland

Flood waters raging through the old Belmore Bridge during Maitland's 1955 flood.

construction of the new Belmore Bridge

An aerial photo of the old Belmore Bridge with the new Bridge being built alongside it. Note the difference in alignments between the old and new bridges. Note also the narrower, shallower part of the river at far right on the Lorn side. This is probably the Falls where people crossed before the first bridge was built.


1. Brian Walsh and Cameron Archer. Maitland on the Hunter, 2nd edit 2007.