‘Brooklyn Leap’ is an original oil painting created in Ballard’s unique style of Fragmatism. A fragmented landscape inspired by the bridge that once ran over the Brooklyn River. Now called the ‘Hawkesbury River railway bridge’ it is a heritage-listed railway bridge in New South Wales, Australia that carries the Main North railway line across the Hawkesbury River.
The title is commentary to the great bridge builders who constructed the original bridge. The Union Bridge Company of New York was awarded the contract to construct the bridge in January 1886. Bridge workers were brought out from New York to build the bridge. Many of them would sleep in tents on the surrounding islands such as Dangar Island but the construction was an engineering feat in its time.
The piers consisted of concrete below water with sandstone masonry above. The spans were assembled on Dangar Island and floated 1,500 metres (4,921 ft) or so across to the bridge site on barges. The bridge had seven spans of 127 metres each for a total length of 887 metres. Five of the piers were sunk to then record depths of between 46 and 49 metres (150 and 160 ft) below high water. The bridge officially opened on 1 May 1889. A leap in many forms of construction and creating transportation links up the coast.
FROM THE ‘DEERUBBIN’ SERIES
The history of the Hawkesbury River runs deep and wide. Named the ‘Deerubbin’ by the traditional Aboriginal owners of the region, the Darag people, it still retains a sense of awe and wonder amidst much of its rugged terrain. It defiantly remains untamed in beauty and spirit. Like much of the Australian landscape, its rebellious nature and it’s unwillingness to be domesticated, is what makes this region one of New South Wales most captivating waterways. This work was inspired by the untamed landscape of the Hawkesbury River.