Backward Glance: spider bridges the lifeline in the Sunshine Coast hinterland
  • Wednesday 26 August 2015
Spider Bridge

Spider bridges are made from solid, rough-hewn timber logs and look like a large spider propped across a river bed.

Traversing a spider bridge might be a nerve wracking experience but they were seen as a luxury and a lifeline by those who needed to cross the many waterways in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

There are no spider bridges left today and very few timber bridges remain as they were washed away during the wet season when dry creek and river beds flooded. Rushing torrents would fill with logs that were thrown about like match sticks as they washed downstream, often crashing into and damaging other timber bridges.

Early Sunshine Coast locals were adept at improvising during flooding and there are many stories and images that demonstrate their ingenuity.

One such story is of the Elaman Creek Bridge near Conondale.

It was washed away during heavy rain in 1946 leading to a pregnant lady, who was on her way to Maleny hospital, being caught on the wrong side of the flooded creek.

The gentlemen with her cut down saplings, roped together a ladder and carried the woman across the flooded creek. They carried her up the range and over a landslide where they were met by the ambulance and safely driven to the hospital.

Mother and baby were both fine.

Learn more about the Coast’s unique history by reading our Backward Glance series. There’s a new story every Wednesday.