Across the black soil plains
A friend and fellow architect, Don Watson, who does vast amounts of historical research, gave me a grizzly photocopy from an old photograph of an early railway bridge over Jimbour Creek past Dalby. I drove out across the black soil plains with heat mirages shimmering on the horizon, tilted power poles and an enormous sky but the bridge had long since gone.
It was what supplemented the old image that Don had given me that was fascinating — the painting specification (below) for the bridge when it was constructed, which suggested such a powerful presence on the plains.
....Tarring and painting: all timber not specified to be tarred (except the wrought timber) is to be painted with three coats of red oxide or other approved paint...the ends of all headstocks, wales, braces, cleats, and other timbers to have three coats of best white lead and oil. All wrought timber in handrailing and posts shall be knotted, primed and stopped, and shall receive three coats of approved oil paint, the first coat being copper coloured and the last two white. All timber intended to be covered up- the whole of the deck planking and that of the portion of the piles below lowest water level (excepting in tidal water) shall receive three coats of best Stockhalm tar, well boiled and laid on hot, the last coat on top of deck to be well sprinkled with a layer of clean sharp sand and lime...(McMahon 1905, 61)
hand coloured 500x300mm edition of 40 $490