The building of the original Jervois swing bridge began in 1875, adjacent to the old Port bridge, the first bridge to span the Port river, connecting Port Adelaide and Lefevre Peninsula.
The official opening of the Jervois Bridge, the first of its type in Australia, on 6 February 1878 was attended by Governor William F. D. Jervois, after whom the bridge was named.
From a central position on the bridge known as the ‘bridge keeper’s gallery’, the operator was able to view the river and roadways and could pivot the bridge to allow sea vessels to pass through. Opening the bridge created a gap that could accommodate vessels up to 14m wide with no height restrictions.
The original bridge was replaced with a newer fixed span bridge in 1969, and the ‘control tower’, consisting of the bridge keeper’s gallery and signal box, was moved to the Port Adelaide Corporation yards, to be restored by the Port Adelaide Council. It was placed near the Council car park in 1987. After the construction of new Government office buildings in Nile Street, the control tower was moved to our Kilburn Depot for repairs and maintenance.
Soon, this remnant of the original Jervois Bridge will be moved to a prominent and permanent home on the waterfront, near Hart’s Mill. This site was chosen in consultation with the Port Adelaide Historical Society, the Port Adelaide National Trust, Renewal SA and Mulloway Studio and approved by Council at its July meeting.