The historic Queens Bridge over the Yarra River that connects Market Street and William Street on the north bank to Queensbridge Street to the south was built in 1889, replacing an earlier timber bridge of 1860 known as Falls Bridge. Originally there was a rocky waterfall at this place which prevented further navigation. Underneath the Bridge is Enterprize Landing Memorial where the first European settlers of Melbourne moored their schooner. One reason for disembarking there was the difficulty to go further upstream due to the waterfall.
The Bridge was designed by Frederick M Hynes and the chief construction contractor was David Munro who was also the contractor for nearby Princes Bridge. The five span structure Queens Bridge is built in a very flat arch style over iron cylinders filled with concrete. iron cylinders that support the bridge are architecturally important as an unusual and innovative method of bridge construction.
Below is a news item from Illustrated News and Musical Times published on Thursday 1st May 1890.
Illustrated Australian News and Musical Times (Melbourne, Vic.: 1889 – 1890) Thu 1 May 1890
OPENING OF THE QUEENS-BRIDGE
The new bridge over the Yarra at the site of the falls reef was formally opened for traffic on 18th April. The bridge was decorated with flags, and all traces of preliminary operations had been removed from the bridge and approaches, with the result that the work presented a very neat and well finished appearance.
Barriers had been placed at each end of the bridge to form an official enclosure and outside the fences crowds of spectators assembled to the number of about 700 or 800. Within the enclosure were a number of prominent citizens. Mr. D.M. Davies, Minister of Public Works, was the host and among those present were the Mayor of Melbourne, Cr M. Lang; Mr. Thornley, M.L.C, the promoter of the old Falls Bridge Sir James MacBain, President of the Legislative Council; Mr. Patterson, Minister of Customs; unofficial representatives of the Melbourne, South Melbourne, and Port Melbourne City Councils and of both Houses of Parliament, some municipal officers and heads of civil service departments. Punctually at noon his Excellency the Governor arrived to perform the ceremony. He was met by the gentlemen assembled, and was received with military honours by a guard of honour from the Victorian Artillery under -Lieutenant Christie.
The bridge is 99 feet wide between the parapets of this space 70 feet will be used as tram and the carriageway, and the remaining 29 feet will be divided into 2 footpaths, each 14 feet 6 inches wide, the length of the bridge is 314 feet covered by 5 spans, the end spans being 54 feet each and the three central spans 68 feet 8 incites each from the centre of the bearings. The contract price was £43,989.