The Malmsbury Viaduct


Since moving to Central Victoria, I have come to admire the local railway structures. In the 1850s and 60s, wool and gold were bringing wealth to the colony of Victoria. Fine public buildings were being built in Melbourne and the regional cities.  Attention was being turned to modern means of transport which, in the 1800s, meant railways.  A railway line was constructed from Melbourne to Sandhurst (Bendigo) and the port of Echuca on the Murray River between the late 1850s and early 60s.

The Malmsbury Viaduct was one of the bridges built as part of this enterprise. Construction  began in October 1859 and was completed in October 1860. The brick and stone masonry arch bridge spans the Coliban River. It is over 100 metres long with 5 arches standing about 25 metres high. It was the largest structure of its kind in Victoria at the time.


The viaduct is a dominant feature of the township of Malmsbury. I took the top photograph from the grounds of the Birthday Villa Winery in September 2014. The other photos were taken from the Malmsbury Botanic Gardens this week, on Wednesday, the 16th of March.

In my eyes, the viaduct is a thing of beauty and there has been great pride taken in its construction.

The bridge is still in active use and I regret I was not organised enough to photograph one of the trains crossing it.




I like the way the arches frame the countryside beyond.


It was very pleasant sitting in the shade and making this charcoal drawing of a view through one of the arches.



6 Responses

  1. I grew up next to the railroads, so I am always fascinated with train travel. This viaduct is beautiful… and I love your sketches! What a treat it would be to watch a train cross this wonderful structure!

    • Yes, Lori, It is gratifying the viaduct is still in use with modern trains passing over it. I am sure current railway infrastructure would become obsolete if high speed train travel was introduced. However, given the railway serves local towns taking commuters and other travellers to and from Melbourne, this is unlikely to happen. Besides, in Australia, high speed train travel such as exists in Japan is unheard of.

  2. Loved your sketches and your photographs, I love railways so particularly enjoyed this post.

    • Hi Susan, I agree travelling by rail is a special experience which cannot be replicated by road travel. I plan to publish further posts about the Bendigo railway in the future.

  3. How lovely to have such an old, beautiful and still functional structure . I can see why you like it. I love your sketches. Thank you for researching it. I must admit this is the only viaduct I have heard about in Australia.

    • Jane, There is another viaduct to come. The tiny township of Taradale also has an impressive railway bridge. Looking down from the viaduct when on a train is an awesome experience.

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