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Church Street Bridge, Melbourne, Australia

Location: Church St, South Yarra VIC
Year built: 1923
Architect: Harold Desbrowe-Annear

Opened in 1923, Church Street Bridge is an historic road arch bridge that extends over the Yarra River and Monash Freeway in Melbourne, Australia.

The structure comprises three segmental arches, which span over the river topped by an array of semi-circular arched openings. The two piers that separate the arches are ornamented with a detailed, foliated cement decoration. Eight embellished pillars span the length of the bridge, reflective of Harold Desbrowe-Annear’s classical revival style during the 1920s. Each of these pillars supports a Victorian-style glass and cast iron lantern.

The bridge is of historical interest among Melburnians, being the second bridge to cross the Yarra River, following the original iron bridge constructed in 1856-1857.

The expansive structure is currently listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and was rehabilitated in 2007 with waterproof resurfacing of the concrete deck and replacement of tram tracks.

Harold Desbrowe-Annear

Harold Desbrowe-Annear was a prominent Australian architect who spearheaded the country’s Arts and Crafts Movement. Born in 1865 in Bendigo, Victoria, Desbrowe-Annear moved to Melbourne with his family in 1875 and attended Hawthorn Grammar School.

The influential designer found his interest in architecture in 1883, when he was articled to Melbourne architect William Salway. Desbrowe-Annear opened his practice in 1889, and grew to strongly support the Arts and Crafts movement, establishing the T-Square Club and promoting collaborative work. Much of Desbrowe-Annear’s work is underpinned by the ‘democratic architecture’ theory, which suggests that Australian architecture should be accessible by the average person, and that citizens should be involved in the planning process.

Notable works by Desbrowe-Annear include Federation Arch in Melbourne, Chadwick Houses in Eaglemont, Springthorpe Memorial in Kew and Inglesby in South Yarra.

The Church Street Bridge has one of the best, average views of the city. It doesn’t try too hard and knows it doesn’t have city views like a flashy apartment in a sky-rise building. It’s as if the bridge itself says, “I don’t need to try to show you how beautiful Melbourne can be, it just is. – Emily Hatty