Walter Taylor Bridge | Environment, land and water | Queensland Government

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Walter Taylor Bridge

  • 600181
  • Coonan Street, Indooroopilly


Also known as
Indooroopilly Toll Bridge
State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Transport—road: Bridge—road
5.5 Moving goods, people and information: Using motor vehicles
6.4 Building settlements, towns, cities and dwellings: Dwellings
Steinman, DB
Taylor, Walter
Construction period
1932–1936, Walter Taylor Bridge (1932 - 1936)
Historical period
1919–1930s Interwar period


Coonan Street, Indooroopilly
Brisbane City Council
-27.50645531, 152.97331481


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Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

The Walter Taylor Bridge at Indooroopilly is significant for its integral role in Brisbane suburban development from Chelmer to Oxley, and as an historically important link between Ipswich and Brisbane.

Criterion BThe place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

It is a rare Florianópolis-type bridge, and the only one of its kind in Australia. It also has rarity value as Australia's longest span suspension bridge, and is significant for its unusual incorporation of residential accommodation into the bridge structure.

Criterion DThe place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

It is a rare Florianópolis-type bridge, and the only one of its kind in Australia.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

The Walter Taylor Bridge has landmark quality and makes a strong aesthetic contribution to the riverscape along the Indooroopilly and Chelmer reaches of the Brisbane River.

Criterion FThe place is important in demonstrating a high degree of creative or technical achievement at a particular period.

It is significant for its innovations in design and implementation, as a major example of the design skills of engineers WJ Doak and RJ McWilliam, and as a tribute to the vision and energy of contractor Walter Taylor.

Criterion HThe place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.

It is significant for its innovations in design and implementation, as a major example of the design skills of engineers WJ Doak and RJ McWilliam, and as a tribute to the vision and energy of contractor Walter Taylor.


This steel and concrete suspension bridge was constructed by Indooroopilly Toll Bridge Ltd in 1932-36, as a private enterprise. It remains the longest span suspension bridge in Australia.

It was erected at a cost of approximately £85,000 by Brisbane contractor Walter Taylor. Taylor was the inspiration behind the project, the originator of the design concept, a director and secretary of Indooroopilly Toll Bridge Ltd, and the principal fund raiser.

Taylor had produced plans for a river bridge at Indooroopilly as early as 1924, but had failed to gain government support. In 1929 he presented a new proposal to the Brisbane City Council for a privately funded bridge, utilising the steel tie-back cables which had been employed in the cantilever erection of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

State Government approval was sought in July 1931. Under the subsequent Tolls on Privately Constructed Road Traffic Facilities Act of 1931, Taylor obtained a franchise in November 1931. This permitted collection of tolls for 35 years from the opening date or until paid for, plus retention of ten percent interest per year and working costs.

Design details for the steel superstructure were prepared by Queensland railway engineer Walter J Doak, and those for the reinforced concrete pylons and anchorages by Brisbane engineer Russell John McWilliam. In the 1920s McWilliam had been involved in the preparation of working drawings for Brisbane's new City Hall.

The bridge was erected in stages over four years as the finance became available, with work commencing on the Indooroopilly pylon in 1932 when the first £10,000 had been raised. Each stage was checked by the Main Roads Commission.

The residential accommodation provided in each of the towers remains unique in Australia. The apartments in the northern tower were occupied by the tollkeeper and those in the southern tower were occupied by the bridge supervisor. The southern pylon also housed a kiosk and boathouse beneath road level, catering for summer visitors to the then popular Chelmer sands.

The construction provided much needed employment for Brisbane workers at a time of economic depression. Most of the steelwork was completed in workshops erected on site, and with the exception of the ropes and cables, all the materials were procured or manufactured in Australia.

On 4 January 1936, Walter Taylor drove the first vehicle across the bridge, which was opened officially on 14 February 1936. It remained a toll bridge until handed over to the Brisbane City Council in 1965.

The bridge stimulated suburban development from Chelmer to Oxley and facilitated communication between Ipswich and Brisbane. It remains the only river traffic bridge between Chelmer and Indooroopilly.

Taylor died in 1955, and on 5 April 1956 the bridge was renamed officially as the Walter Taylor Bridge.


The Walter Taylor Bridge spans the Brisbane River from Indooroopilly to Chelmer, at the junction of the Chelmer and Indooroopilly reaches.

The deck is suspended from two sets of steel cables, each comprising twelve wire ropes, saddled on concrete towers at either end, and anchored in rock and concrete. Each of the mild steel saddles is positioned 35.6 m above high water mark, and the span between the towers is 183 m. The total weight of cable suspended across the river is 145.5 tonnes.

The design is of a rare type developed by American engineer D B Steinman and used first at Florianópolis, Brazil in 1926. The upper chords of the steel stiffening trusses slope upwards to join the cables at the quarter points, where they are clamped to the cables. In the centre half of the span the cables act as the upper chords, forming part of the stiffening trusses. There are no hangers in the side spans, the structure having straight back-stays.

A dual carriage road is carried on transverse timber decking supported by steel stringers and cross girders. Originally the bridge carried a 6.1 m roadway and a 1.7 m footpath, but this has been modified.

The pylons are constructed of steel-reinforced concrete. On the Indooroopilly side, the pylon rises 26.5 m above the foundations, which are formed on solid ground. The Chelmer pylon rises 38.4 m above pileheads at the water edge, which were driven at an average depth of 14.6 m into rock, and reinforced with concrete slabs and ties.

Both towers contain residential accommodation, with walls up to 1.7 m thick.

The northern approach is at ground level, but the southern approach is elevated, with three deck-type steel plate girder spans. The anchorages form part of the road approaches.

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Location of Walter Taylor Bridge within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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