During the mid-1800s the road through the picturesque Monkerai Valley provided the main road link between the villages of Dungog and Gloucester. The need for a bridge spanning the Karuah River at Monkerai, to eliminate the existing ford and the associated delays experienced during times of flood, was finally met when, in 1877, a magnificent timber truss bridge was opened. Built to an 'old Public Works Department' design, it has three spans, featuring flat sloping end diagonals and extra timber midspan on the upper chord.
The oldest timber truss bridge in New South Wales
This design was superseded by trusses developed in 1886 and 1893. Abundant supplies of hardwood timber in New South Wales led to more than three hundred and fifty timber truss bridges being built between 1865 and 1915-far more than in any other state. Today, very few of these remain and Monkerai Bridge, classified as a Historic Bridge, is the oldest remaining timber truss bridge in New South Wales. Other timber bridges can still be seen throughout this area, and they stand as a lasting tribute and memorial to the courage and workmanship of those bridge builders of times gone by. Sadly, these old bridges are gradually being replaced by modern steel and concrete, but, hopefully, with just a little bit of tender, loving care, Monkerai Bridge will still be standing for many more years.