The drive into Kibbenjelok winds around the side of the hill and through the forest, crossing at one point a small, mostly dry creek. A beautiful timber built bridge is the only way across. Although covered in moss and obviously quite old, we had faith in the supporting beams that were so big you couldn’t wrap your arms around them. After all, the bridge had probably been there for 100 years, traversed by cars, trucks, tractors – maybe even horse and cart. Occasionally we would get out, stamp firmly on the deck, nod wisely and say “it’ll last another 100 years”. We were so sure of its integrity I didn’t even bother to take a photo – it would still be there tomorrow.
Coming back from town one day, a water truck was stopped at the end of the road. He was looking for us – a dry summer meant we were running low on water and we had ordered some in. I directed him up our windy road, giving him a head start to keep out of his dust. He was soon out of sight. As we approached the faithful bridge, I slowed, puzzled. Something didn’t look right. I pulled up, hopped out and walked up to the bridge. It was completely snapped in two (ignore the excavator…these photos were taken after we started to fix it)!
The water truck was nowhere to be seen – luckily he had managed to accelerate off the bridge when he heard it cracking leaving himself stranded on the wrong side (he eventually got out through a paddock – lucky it was dry!). Equally luckily we were able to find a local contractor who, even though he was on holiday in Darwin (it was Christmas after all), lent us his excavator so we could construct a temporary bridge. After 10 hours of digging and dozing we had a brand new temporary bridge. We knew we would have to put in a culvert to allow any water that did happen to come down the mostly dry creek to escape. But hey. It was summer. And a dry one. Surely that could wait a while??
Two weeks later Tasmania had the heaviest downpour in 98 years. It seemed the whole of southern Tasmania was under water. And our dry creek became a raging torrent. And that raging torrent washed our new bridge away…….
Two bridges in as many weeks. Right now we still don’t have a bridge – the storms have kept the contractors busy fixing other things. But that’s OK, as long as it goes in before winter…….