After leaving Bowen we travelled north to Ayr the weather getting warmer the further north we travelled. We crossed the Burdekin River by the Silver Link Bridge, a joint rail and road bridge, and found our way to BIG4 Ayr Silver Link caravan village, an attractive pleasant site full of bird song and within waking distance of the town centre. Carol welcomed us and gave us lots of information about the area.
The Burdeken area is a major sugar cane growing area and the harvest was in full swing with trains full of harvested cane on their way to the sugar mills for processing. Some of the fields of green cane are burnt before harvesting to remove excess leaves and it is an amazing sight to see a whole field on fire, especially in the evening when the glow lights up the sky.
Just south of Ayr before you reach the Burdekin River is the town of Home Hill where there are some interesting places to visit. We called in at the Silver Link Interpretive Centre where a display of photographs, a short video and various posters depict the history of the Burdekin area and why and how the bridge was built. There are some wonderful old photographs on display of flooding in the area including one showing a steam train crossing the river on the old wooden bridge ploughing through the flood waters!
The Burdekin River can rise more than 11 metres in the wet season which caused major disruption to transport links to the north and south east coast of Queensland, so a high level road and rail bridge was built to overcome these problems. The bridge measures 1103 meters long and is the only bridge in Australia to be built on a sand base as there is an absence of rock in the river bed. The bridge took 10 years to build and was officially opened in 1957. When the bridge was originally built it was finished with Red Oxide Paint then later painted silver, hence the name ‘Silver Link Bridge’, but we wondered if it was called ‘Red Link Bridge” when it was first built!
We also visited the Ashworth ‘Treasures of the Earth‘ display and rockshop, where there is the most amazing display of rocks, gems, minerals and fossils from all over the world, many of them have been cut and polished to show their beautiful colours shimmering under the lights. Lots of the rocks are for sale as well as a large range of jewellery.
Before leaving Ayr we stopped for coffee and cake at Dal Santo’s continental deli, an Aladdin’s cave of Italian food products and a wonderful delicatessen counter where you can buy all you need to make the perfect sandwich!
Article source: http://blog.queensland.com/2011/07/19/silver-link-to-ayr/