RESERVE REPORT by Greg Warburton

Published on Wednesday, 24 June 2020 at 2:10:00 PM

Recently, two important historical sites in Toodyay have seen improvements completed which have added value and interest to our rich heritage.

Most people would have glimpsed Ringa Railway Bridge as they travel along the main road but perhaps are not all are aware of its significance. The bridge was originally constructed in 1887 on the Clackline – Newcastle (Toodyay) Railway which was a spur line off the Eastern Railway to Kalgoorlie and part of the State’s narrow gauge system. A railway siding was located near the bridge and also derived its name from the Ringa locality.

For the district this rail line was a major infrastructure project that enabled the expansion of agriculture and other economic developments.

Refurbished in 1950 then decommissioned in 1968 Ringa Bridge was handed over to the Toodyay Shire Council by the then Western Australian Government Railways. In 1998 it was classified by the National Trust Western Australia due to its historical importance.

The bridge stands on Shire of Toodyay Reserve and the original railway formation is designated as Crown land which can be traced from Coorinja Winery south to the original junction at Clackline.

Ringa Bridge is one of the largest wooden railway bridges in Western Australia and a significant historical landmark. The site makes a wonderful place to visit. Not only is the structure imposing but it straddles the picturesque Harper Brook.

The Shire has installed new safety barriers and signage along with bollards and a picnic table. An interpretive plaque has been installed that tells the story of Ringa Bridge along with its fascinating connection to the famous convict William Sykes (1826 – 1891). Access to the bridge is via the Coorinja Winery during opening times or by arrangement by phoning Michael Wood 0417989559

Another site of great historical significance is Syred Cottage in Bejoording. This building dates back to the 1850’s and bounds onto shire reserve 6847 which was an historical watering place for livestock and part of the original Bejoording Farm. The cottage featured a distinctive double post and rail fence known as a “Harper Fence”. This style of construction is named after Toodyay’s famous pioneer, explorer, pastoralist, politician and newspaper proprietor Charles Harper. Over the years the fence had collapsed but thanks to the extraordinary efforts of a descendant of William Syred, Bob Sutcliffe it has been beautifully restored thus preserving an important example of this pioneer ingenuity.
Photo’s by Bob Sutcliffe



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