The Bridge 1884
The windmill permitted the construction of the lake which began in December 1884 (49). Photographic and documentary evidence suggests that the lake, early bridge, lake fountain and the rockery-enclosed fountain at the south east entrance were all complete by 1886.
By 1913, the picturesque character of the bridge had been enhanced by rustic latticework applied to the balustrade and carefully chosen roots and branches applied to the lower central span.
The Lake and Bridge are key components of the Scoborio/Guilfoyle development period, the lake appearing to have altered little in shape and size since. The bridge, however, gained a stone-faced balustrade in 1942, replacing the earlier timber version. Now, both lake and bridge have developed the patina of age which adds to the intrinsic appeal of the water, coupled with the attraction of water birds and aquatic plants. The lake is possibly the most popular single feature of the Gardens, being enjoyed by all age groups.
A portion of the stone base appears from photographic evidence to be part of the original structure. Amongst the gardens compared, the bridge at Warrnambool is significant in that other bridges have been demolished or completely reconstructed.
Lake works at Warrnambool commenced in 1884 and turn-of-the-century photographs indicate a graded and grassed edge and a picturesque planting treatment of the islands and bridge approaches. The first photographs of the bridge (c. 1900-1909) indicate a simple timber structure with a double-railed balustrade. By 1913 a rustic timber lattice had been applied to the inner side of the rails and the underside of the central span featured rustic embellishments of twisted bark and branches, probably local tea-tree. The existing stone bridge built in 1942, retains the scale and form of the earlier structure. The lake fountain (now demolished) consisted of a rustic stone base supporting a simple 3-tiered central nozzle.
A tranquil environment, emphasising a domesticated "nature" was presented to the lake visitor. Its many generations of water birds have been fed by countless small children.