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07 - Stirling Bridge East Fremantle

Stirling Bridge East Fremantle

Built to connect East Fremantle with North Fremantle over the Swan River, the 415 metre Stirling Bridge was completed in 1974.

Although the need for a bridge connecting the north side of Fremantle with that of the Fremantle Port had existed since the colony was first settled in 1829 and despite two timber bridges eventually being constructed (with one being demolished in 1947), it was a long time before a bridge on this scale could be constructed. This was largely a result of the lack of "technical and financial resources" available at the time.

It was the third major bridge to be built post-war in Perth, after the Causeway and Narrow bridges. Stirling Bridge was designed (and supervised) by Maunsell Posford from London, as a "seven span twin post tensioned segmental spine bridge".

    Guy Anson Maunsell was 73 years of age when he decided to set up his own civil engineering practice in 1957

as Maunsell & Partners. (It appears that this information is Australian-based, as some international sources depict

him as nearly 70 years of age and starting the practice in 1955 - making him actually 71).
  The decision to break free was made after he dissolved his partnership with Maunsell, Posford & Pavy in London.

Within five years, he was able to establish his practice as, "one of the best in the world in prestressed concrete

bridge designs," which included designing the Narrows Bridge in 1957. Although historical reports and references

appear to credit Maunsell himself for designing and supervising the Stirling Bridge project, he died in June 1961.

     The name of the practice was changed to Maunsell McIntyre Pty Ltd in around 1970 (Eoas, 2010). By the late 1990s,

Maunsell & Partners were recognised as the "third largest civil engineering consultancy for transportation in the world"

and became part of AECOM in May 2000 (Treloars, 2023).

Maunsell had been contracted the Stirling Bridge project by Main Roads WA.

(The Main Roads Board was established in July 1926. As a result of the Great Depression, the board was dissolved

in 1929. A year later, the Main Roads Department was created, re-establishing the board.)

Tenders were advertised in early 1972, with J.O. Clough & Son Pty Ltd submitting the lowest bid of $2,560,000 which was accepted on 12 June. The contract required the bridge to be completed by 14 July 1974, giving them 762 days to do so.

Harold Clough was born in 1926 and graduated from the University of Western Australia with a first class honours

degree in Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering. He followed this up with a Masters of Science degree at the

University of California, remaining in the United States to work before returning to Perth to join his father's building

construction firm J.O.Clough & Son Pty Ltd. It later became the Clough Engineering Group and they had

also won the tender to build the Narrows Bridge, teaming up with the international engineering firm Christiani and Nielsen A/S, Copenhagen.


On 17 May 1974, Stirling Bridge was officially opened by the Premier, Hon Sir Charles Court (1874-1982). At the time of the bridge being completed, "it was the longest public bridge in Western Australia" (inherit, 2021) at a precise distance of 414.8 metres.

Information and quotes not referenced have largely been sourced from:

     Nomination of Stirling Bridge for an Engineering Heritage Australia Heritage Recognition Award. 2014. Engineers Australia, Western Australia Division.

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