Bellingen High team are top bridge builders

The Bellingeneers: Emily Ruming, Summer Storm  and Paloma Birch.
The Bellingeneers: Emily Ruming, Summer Storm and Paloma Birch.

A balsa and cardboard bridge built by three Bellingen High girls has survived destruction testing at the Aurecon Bridge Building Competition in Sydney, placing the team of budding engineers in the top ten per cent of entrants.

The ‘Bellingeneers’ -  Emily Ruming, Summer Storm and Paloma Birch - constructed an elegant 178 gram bridge that held over 33 kgs during structural testing.

That’s 190 times its own weight.

They were also one of only four teams who took part in the digital component, designing a bridge using the 3D CAD software program Sketchup. 

“It was exciting seeing our design up on the big screen in front of hundreds of people.”

“It was exciting seeing our design up on the big screen in front of hundreds of people.”

Normally tested to destruction, their bridge maintained its integrity and is still in one piece, with only minor damage to one beam.

On the first night of the excursion, the team completed the BridgeClimb (1400 steps on the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge), learned about the building of the historic marvel, and most importantly, observed the placing of structural beams, which informed the final stage of their model bridge.

Monday saw the team exploring Sydney architecture and design: Barangaroo, Frank Gehry’s UTS ‘paper bag’ building and the conversion of the Finger Wharves studios and QVB.

They also attended the Powerhouse Museum’s Sherlock Holmes interactive exhibition, putting their hand to ballistics analysis, chemistry and other forensic crime-solving methods.

The Aurecon competition, held this year at the Art Gallery of NSW, was also an opportunity for students to hear about the many different types of engineering, meet engineers and gain insights into the way other students and schools approach problem solving.

The team were fantastic ambassadors for the Bellingen community and Bellingen High School.