Beams on way back to Castlemaine

A COMMUNITY group has prevailed in its bid to preserve 19th century beams from a Castlemaine bridge.

The steel beams were removed from the Skew Bridge at the Barker Street entrance to Castlemaine and were destined for the scrap heap.

But calls from local residents have ensured the beams will be returned to Castlemaine to be displayed as historical artefacts.

A V/Line spokesman said the beams – that are believed to be more than 150 years old – would be trucked back to Castlemaine.

“The beams are currently in Melbourne," he said.

"V/Line is talking with Mount Alexander Shire Council and local representatives to discuss an appropriate place the beams might be installed until the community decides what they want to do with them.”

The move follows a campaign to keep the beams and use them in a public display, such as a sculpture in the Botanic Gardens.

Mount Alexander Shire mayor Michael Redden said the public would be able to decide how to best use the beams.

Maldon Vintage Machinery Museum curator Peter Thompson said he would store them in his museum in the interim. 

"I think it needs to be brainstormed a bit more to decide what we do with them," he said. "They are of significant importance. They're well worth keeping."

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said the return of the beams was the best outcome for the community.

Ms Edwards launched a petition, along with local residents, to have the beams brought back to the town.

“It shows what passionate community members can achieve,” she said.

The beams were removed from the bridge as part of the construction of a new, taller bridge.

A V/Line spokesman said the main purpose of the redevelopment was to prevent large vehicles coming into contact with the bridge.

Works are expected to be finished by the end of January, allowing trains to resume their journey over the bridge. Larger vehicles will also be able to pass underneath the bridge.

The bulk of the works have been completed over summer while buses have replaced trains. 

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