The Macquarie River Rises

The Macquarie River (Indigenous palawa kani: tinamarakunah) rises in the Tiers to the east of Ross flowing north-west through the village before reaching its confluence with the South Esk River near Longford. The river is prone to flooding and such instances have been historically well-reported. In fact, it was these repeated events that caused the original Ross bridge (constructed of timber in 1821) to be replaced with the current sandstone bridge which was completed in 1836.

Past this point, flooding continued to cause transportation issues in the region. Midland Highway road-closures were commonplace and damage to the Main Line Railway occurred occasionally. One such flooding event reported in 1905 details the issues:

‘This is the fifth day of almost incessant rain, and the floods everywhere are the worst for many years. Railway traffic between Hobart and Launceston has been blocked, several chains of the line having been washed away. Repairs cannot be effected until the floods subside… Passengers by the express from Hobart and Launceston this morning have been returned from Ross to Paratah.’ – The Bendigo Independent, Friday 2nd June 1905, page 3.

Prior to the bypassing of Ross, the Midland Highway was often closed during major floods, causing the north and south to be cut off from each-other. To alleviate road-closures a timber viaduct was built through Ross in 1933:

‘A start has been made with the erection of the viaduct alongside the Main Road at Ross, which is being constructed in order to provide a traffic way along the road at that place during times when the Macquarie River is in flood and the road otherwise impassable.’ – The Mercury, Hobart, Thursday 27 Apr 1933.

When the village of Ross was by-passed in 1972, together with the towns of Tunbridge and Oatlands, the viaduct was no longer required and was subsequently removed. The Macquarie River continues to rise during periods of high rainfall without significant impact, thanks to the northern access point.