The Bridgewater Jerry makes its annual return to herald winter chill

Mike Kerr
By Mike Kerr
Derwent Valley Gazette
09 Jul 2024
Bridgewater Jerry envelopes the new bridge


THE Bridgewater Jerry forms at night-time in autumn and winter when cold air drains down the mountains towards the long and winding path of the river. This particular fog bank can be more than 200 kilometres long.

That moisture and low temperature, pushed downhill by what’s called a katabatic (or gravity-driven) wind, is what enables this type of fog to form.

And as things warm in the morning, the cold air heats and the Bridgewater Jerry dissipates.

Sound panels pay tribute to the fog event called the Bridgewater Jerry
Sound panels near the new Bridgewaster Bridge site pay homage to the winter fog phenomenon known as the Bridgewater Jerry.

The likely origin of the name is it travelled with convicts from London, where it was used by thieves as a slang term for fog, a condition we can assume is ideal for thieves to do what they do.  

Locally, it’s reported that the first official notation of this particular  condition was in 1821. Apparently, Governor Macquarie was staying at Austins Ferry and couldn’t travel to Hobart until 12.30 pm due to a thick fog, the Jerry.

Matthew Bissett’s photo of a recent Jerry swallowing the new Bridgewater Bridge had me thinking: Is there a clause or condition relating to weather in the bridge construction contract?


State Growth says McConnell Dowell were informed of the local weather conditions during the tender phase, including the prevalence of the Jerry and other localised weather like high winds and rain.

They’re considered part of the natural environment.

Picture: The famous Bridgewater Jerry envelopes the new bridge. MATTHEW BISSETT

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