Bridges old and new in Gordonton

‘Tis the season to build bridges.  Cows have to get to the dairy shed some how…

Dairy farmer John Riddell sent in these pics of bridge constuction recently completed on his Gordonton farm.  The operation was done and dusted within days and a fine new bridge installed.

Farm bridge Waikato photo

Farm bridge photo

Number 8 Network was especially tickled to receive these because about 25 years ago National Farming News  happened by just after the previous bridge was replaced and ran the following article.

Photo of David Riddell Annette Taylor
Looking for trolls…

Here’s what editor Philippa Stevenson said :

THERE is one way to ensure the Railways gets you there on time – use the chassis from a freight wagon for a bridge.

David Riddell and Annette Taylor, above, have followed what has become a family tradition in using old flat deck freight wagons for bridges on their Gordonton, Waikato, farm.

The $800 wagon was lifted into place two months ago and replaces the original bridge which was put in during the Depression on a job creation scheme, recalls David’s father Jack Riddell.

The wagons are solid and cheaper to put in, says David who followed the example of his Uncle Walter who put in a “railways bridge” last year and who in turn copied his brother arthur who has had one for about eight years.

Walter Riddell says the idea has been popular with farmers in-the-know for many years.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

2 thoughts on “Bridges old and new in Gordonton

  • January 20, 2015 at 10:55 am

    I don’t doubt Jack and Walter were Number Eight Wire experts and superb bridge builders. I remember them more clearly as fine lawn bowlers.

  • January 20, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    That awakens a memory of about 40 years ago, when what I call the RIDDDELL cousins [#1] plus help including the Gordonton Farm Labour Scheme, replaced the farm bridge that gave [Gt] Aunty Rene RIDDELL’S cows on WOODLANDS access to their cowshed, on the Gordonton Road, opposite the BALLARD’S. Only a bridge, or two, down the Komakorau stream.

    Joe, and son, Des TUCKER were the sharemilkers.

    Up to those times farm streams were most often crossed using native, or Australian durable wood stringers, with a timber deck. What better than when you have old home grown ones, with a history to tell, and a timely warning about inherent dangers when felling old trees with chain saws.

    Me thinks another local story in the making, whenever I can find the time among all the other history research I’ve got on the go. May even be some photos, but where to search to find them would be the question.

    #1. [Lex, Arthur, Walter, Jack & Ron SHARP and possibly Rex & June HAULTAIN,]

    Regards all.

    Alan SHARP.


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