Media releases

Restoring a 135-year-old Melbourne icon  

24 February 2024

Melbourne’s iconic Princes Bridge is undergoing a major facelift – with restoration works to protect and enhance its distinctive historic features.    

The bridge is one of the city’s busiest and most prominent gateways, linking the CBD with a range of popular cultural, historic, sporting and entertainment attractions. 

Restoration works are being carried out in sections, including cleaning, repairing and replacing bluestone blocks and restoring heritage features.  

Princes Bridge was built in 1888 to accommodate Melbourne’s booming population following the gold rush period. It replaced a single-span bluestone and granite arch bridge (1850-1884) and the wooden trestle bridge (1844-1852) that came before it.   

Over the years, the bridge has evolved with the city – accommodating electric trams after being reinforced in 1924, removing lead-based paint from the ironwork in 2006 and becoming more pedestrian-friendly with the introduction of single lanes in each direction in 2013.   

It is one of the oldest river crossings in the CBD and has undergone minimal repairs in its 135-year lifetime – until now.  

Detailed restoration work has begun on site and will be completed in stages over the next three years. 

The restoration project is one of the first to display artwork around the site as part of Council’s Creative Hoardings project – with a thought-provoking work to be installed, titled Remembering by Yorta Yorta and man, historian, cultural educator and artist John Patten.  

Access under and along the bridge will be maintained throughout most of the works. Melburnians and visitors will be notified of any short-term closures and diversions.    

For more information about the Princes Bridge Restoration project, visit City of Melbourne

Quotes attributable to Acting Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece 

“Princes Bridge is an iconic Melbourne gateway – connecting the heart of our city to some of our most loved precincts and attractions.” 

“Princes Bridge began life as the first timber bridge across the Yarra in 1845, it has been rebuilt twice since then and features in many paintings and pictures of early Melbourne. 

“We’re restoring this 135-year-old landmark to its full glory – bringing its heritage features back to life and ensuring it can continue to connect residents, workers and visitors for years to come.” 

“We’re doing everything we can minimise disruption to our community while we undertake these important works and thank everyone for their patience.” 
Quotes attributable to City Transport, Infrastructure and Operations deputy portfolio lead Councillor Davydd Griffiths 

“As one of Melbourne’s busiest gateways and at more than a century old, it’s time for us to give Princes Bridge a much-needed facelift.”  

“It will mean restoring the features that make it a key part of Melbourne’s heritage – its stunning bluestone blocks, iron façades, lighting and more.”  

Quotes attributable to Creative Melbourne portfolio lead Councillor Jamal Hakim   

“The work site will also receive a very Melbourne touch – showcasing a stunning temporary artwork to start conversations and add more colour and creativity to our great city.” 

“As a long-term project and one of the first to display our Creative Hoardings artwork, it will be a prime example of how we’re transforming construction sites into vibrant and appealing spaces.”  

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24 February 2024

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