Stone Bridge

Normanby Road, Normanby

  • Stone Bridge.
    Copyright: Timaru District Council. Date: 10/03/2008.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 2005 Date Entered 23rd June 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Legal Road, Canterbury Land District and the structure known as Stone Bridge thereon. Refer to extent map tabled at Heritage New Zealand Board meeting on 26 June 2014.

City/District Council

Timaru District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Legal Road, Canterbury Land District

Location description

Adjacent to 139 Normanby Road. The GPS coordinates are 5075766.6894 1460009.2486.


Built in circa 1875, the Stone Bridge on Normanby Road, Normanby, just north of Kingsdown, is one of a number of stone arch bridges built of local bluestone basalt rock stone in South Canterbury that are an enduring reminder of early engineering design and have high level of craftsmanship. Constructed by the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works the Stone Bridge has historical, archaeological and architectural value.

Between the 1865 and the 1880s, a number of bluestone bridges and culverts were constructed on the Timaru downlands, between Washdyke Creek and the Pareora River. They were mainly built over ephemeral streams which flow only in wetter periods, and in some cases replaced earlier timber bridges. One of these stone bridges built was on Normanby Road, probably around 1875 but possibly later.

The Stone Bridge sits over Normanby Creek, located on what is now a farm access road but which was originally the main road but now State Highway 1 by-passes to the west. The Stone Bridge has a span of approximately 4.2 metres. The road width is 9 metres and the depth of the crown of the arch to creek is approximately 2 metres. The materials are squared bluestone brought to course, with a limestone layer at the top of the arch and limestone cover two courses above this. In his 1958 publication, South Canterbury – A Record of Settlement, Oliver A Gillespie records the construction of these early bridges as follows: ‘Before building a stone bridge, a wooden framework was erected to support the weight as the prepared stones were placed in position. Cement was used only for foundations and to smooth over interstices between the stones after these had been filled with chips. Stones, shaped at an angle to give an arch, were packed as tightly as possible. Those last to be placed in position were the wedge-shaped keystones which locked the whole structure and gave it strength. Once they were placed, the framework was removed and the bridge was ready to take the weight of traffic.’

The bridge made the headlines in January 1913 when a car accident there resulted in the death of well-known businessman, Charles Herbert Guthrie. According to the Timaru Herald, Mr J MacFarlane of Redcliff, was driving his new Cadillac car with Guthrie as a front passenger and his two daughters and Mr E R Harrison in the back. When crossing the little stone bridge at Normanby Creek, one of the front tyres burst, causing the car to crash and Mr Guthrie was killed.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1875 -

Completion Date

4th December 2017

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Information Sources

Stone Bridges of South Canterbury

Fougere, J R, Stone Bridges of South Canterbury, Timaru, 1993 (unpublished).

South Canterbury: A record of settlement, 1958

Gillespie, Oliver A, South Canterbury: A record of settlement, 1958 (second edition 1971)

Timaru District Built Heritage Inventory: From Mesopotamia to Pareora River

Opus International Consultants, Timaru District Built Heritage Inventory: From Mesopotamia to Pareora River, July 2004

Historic Stone Arch Bridges

Waugh, John, ‘Historic Stone Arch Bridges’, New Zealand Historic Places, No. 47, May 1994, pp. 20-21.

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Southern Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand