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ZAR Road Bridge over the Spekboom River (Steenkamp Bridge)
Mashishing (Lydenburg) district, Mpumalanga

Mattheus Carel August MEISCHKE: Contractor



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25°00'33.72" S 30°30'00.73" E Alt: 1336m

Previously a National Monument now a declared Provincial Heritage Site, Mpumalanga Province.

11km from Lydenburg on the R36 North.

The Bridge is located on the farm 'Potloodspruit'. Its original construction comprised an steel arched structure with steel deck spanning 30m with a passage width of 7m. The sub-structure was built of hard 'blue-stone'. The bridge over the Spekboom river was taken into use on 27 June 1897 and was used until 1965 when it was replaced by the new road bridge. Two stone pillars originally supported the steel deck. The bridge was named after Helgard P. Steenkamp, member of the Executive Committee of the Volksraad and Commander of the Lydenburg Commando.

During the Second War of Independence (1899-1902) part of the steel deck was deliberately damaged by the Boer Commandos under General Ben Viljoen to hinder the British who had occupied Lydenburg in 1900, particularly in them reaching Pilgrims Rest where he had his headquarters. In 1903 the steel deck was replaced with stone arches by the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT of the TRANSVAAL COLONY and renamed the Spekboom Bridge, the foundation stone bearing the date of its reconstruction, inscribed with the letters E. R. I [Edward Rex Imperator] which stand for the then reigning British monarch, Edward VII. Sections of the original bridge found their way into the town of Lydenburg where for a while the railings served as barriers on the De Clerque Street Bridge, as well as barriers at the road closure of Viljoen Street, and some as part of a cattle crush on the farm 'Potloodspruit' where it stands.

In 1973 was declared a national monument under its original - and historically correct name, Steenkamp's Bridge.

[Information supplied by the Lydenburg Museum]

Writings about this entry

Bakker, Karel A, Clarke, Nicholas J & Fisher, Roger C. 2014. Eclectic ZA Wilhelmiens : A shared Dutch built heritage in South Africa. Pretoria: Visual Books. pg 104
Erasmus, Koos and Friebus, Hein. 2008. Vergete padbrûe van die ZAR : 'n oorsig van die padbrûe wat gebou en beplan is tydens die regering van die Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek. Centurion: Koos Erasmus and Hein Friebus: . pg 52-54
Richardson, Deirdré. 2001. Historic Sites of South Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. pg 254