To the original Wurundjeri people, the river was Birrarung, River of mists and shadows
In 1850, the government built a single span structure of brick and stone, opened it on 15 November, called it Princes Bridge, and made it available to the public for free. Little did they know that within a year, gold would be discovered in country Victoria, there would be a population explosion, Melbourne would become recognised as, Marvellous Melbourne and the narrow carriageway on this fine bridge would become inadequate for such a bustling city.
Come 1888 and our second International Exhibition, Melbourne had designed and built the third bridge on the site and the one that we know today. By that time the Yarra River had been heavily modified both upstream and downstream and the major floods of the early years were becoming less common. In the best Melbourne tradition, the bridge is built on solid bluestone bulwarks, none of your flimsy Sydney sandstone here, with plenty of cast iron. Solid yet elegant, befitting the style of the city which had forced itself onto the international map.