The 1933 Denham Suspension Bridge into Guyana’s Hinterland

The 1933 Denham Suspension Bridge into Guyana’s Hinterland

By Dmitri Allicock

Denham Suspension Bridge

Set like gems in the crown of South America, nestled on the North-Eastern shoulder, defying the raging Atlantic Ocean, Guyana’s many waterways reflect the source of its name “The Land of Many Waters”.  These waterways are natural highways which link all the regions of Guyana including the mineral and forestry rich highlands.

In November 1933 a bridge was constructed over the Garraway Stream, linking Mahdia to Bartica by trail. This cable suspension bridge was named “Denham Bridge” after the then Colonial Governor Sir Edward Denham. The Denham Suspension Bridge, which is also called the Garraway Stream Bridge, served as a vital access to the early Gold and Diamond fields of Guyana. 

The bridge was erected directly over the Potaro River at an area referred to as Garraway Stream.  It was constructed by Scotsman John Aldi, a civil engineer and general contractor who was interred at Bartica’s Sorrow Hill Cemetery where he joined many of the early settlers in making Guyana their permanent home.    Read more –  1933 DENHAM BRIDGE

Also read related story published earlier:



The once popular and well known 1897 Demerara to Essequibo railway symbolized Upper Demerara and served as a cornerstone in its development before Bauxite dominated. This railway provided valuable and safe transportation for commuters and cargo between Essequibo and Demerara. It was Guyana’s first inland railroad    [more]

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  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 06/09/2012 at 5:27 pm

    Dmitri, thanks for that interesting bit of Guyana’s history that was ignorant about. Beautiful photos.

  • DMITRI ALLICOCK  On 06/10/2012 at 12:36 pm

    You are most welcome Rosaliene.
    The article brought back so much memories of the Pork Knocker.
    I am looking around for a superb “letter from a Gold Digger “to a woman. He was trying to win her love with very colorful words and adjectives.
    The legendary Pork Knocker left us a wealth of stories and a rich cultural heritage.
    Best regards,

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 06/10/2012 at 6:57 pm

    Look forward to reading that letter when you find it.

  • Lenox Boston  On 06/11/2012 at 1:40 pm

    Lovely pictures, this bridge is still in everyday use. I work in Mahdia, but i am not a Pork Knocker

  • Marco Basir  On 06/11/2012 at 10:12 pm

    I guess everyone really love my pictures, for they have been appearing all over in the net and print this week. I like your article and keep it up. I just came back from the Shell Beach and if you wish to do an article you know how to get me.
    Great work, cheers.

  • DMITRI ALLICOCK  On 06/12/2012 at 12:50 am

    Hi Lenox,
    How are you? Are you still in Mahdia? The bridge appears to be fairly well maintained from the pictures. I know that mini bus uses it frequently. Are they using it for timber transport?
    Many of my late and current relatives used the bridge for various purposes. You might know some with names like, Fiedtkou, Bremner, Reece, Allicock and Van Lange to name some.
    Best regards

  • DMITRI ALLICOCK  On 06/12/2012 at 1:10 pm

    Hi Marco,
    You are so right. The pictures of the bridge were “superb” and drove me to write this article.
    John Aldi, the contractor who built the bridge, was hard of hearing and there was a funny story goes with it.
    One of the workers had asked him for” TEN DOLLARS” by speaking into one of his ears, Aldi turned to him and told him he didn’t hear him and he should speak into the other ear.
    The worker then asked for “TWENTY DOLLARS”. Aldi then told him “to go back to the TEN DOLLAR ear”

    My email is DNALLICOCK@GMAIL.COM. I would love to see the pictures of Shell beach and do an article with full credit to you for the pictures.
    If you have any more of that nature, I would love to see them and assist by promoting and documenting Guyana’s hinterland and wonderful heritage.
    Thanks for the great pictures and the great job you did.
    God Bless,

    • Marco Basir  On 06/15/2012 at 3:20 pm

      Hey Mr Allicock,
      Due to my location and speed of internet here I am unable to send you Photos directly to the email, but i am on at this link with great resolutions
      But if you are interested in more Photos of a particular location feel free to email me.
      Photos of Shell Beach are on Panoramio also.

      • Clyde Duncan  On 03/25/2013 at 1:56 pm

        Great photographs of Guyana hinterland, Marco. I am a city boy who is very afraid of the jungle, but I adore your photos of life and developments in the country. Some of the photos are identified as “Untitled” or there is a title and no reference to a location. I assumed that the Google map on the left of the photos identified the location. Perhaps, it would be helpful to add the location to the title, if it is not included in the title. Otherwise, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to you and Dmitri and everyone who is willing to share some positive things of Guyana with the rest of us. The good outweighs the bad, I believe!

  • DMITRI ALLICOCK  On 06/15/2012 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Marco,
    Thank you once again for photographically documenting the wonders and great beauty of Guyana and making it available for all to see, “a Guyana truly yours to discover.”
    Thanks for the link.
    Best regards,

  • francis Jackson  On 09/08/2012 at 1:26 pm

    A bit of history that I did not know nor can I remember. Those who know ought to tell and teach the rest of us. Vital information that can be referrenced and share with others. Good picture. Thanks for sharing Dmitri. very good.

    • Dmitri Allicock  On 09/09/2012 at 12:29 am

      Thanks you Francis and much appreciated Dmitri

  • mohamed shaw  On 01/13/2013 at 2:50 am

    i was fortunate to have seen this bridge and was very impressed.thanks for the info. I did some research about its history but did not learn much. Even the late Godfrey Chin did not know about John Aldi and all that. Great job Dmitri…would love to see an article on the Tumatumari hydro falls, which was supposedly constructed to provide power for a dredge in a nearby river…remains of this dredge can still be seen..

  • Dmitri Allicock  On 05/14/2013 at 1:48 pm

  • Dmitri Allicock  On 05/20/2013 at 12:45 pm

  • Dmitri Allicock  On 07/26/2013 at 8:35 pm

  • Althea  On 12/16/2016 at 1:10 am

    Wow did not know about this

  • demerwater  On 12/17/2016 at 3:47 am

    I once read of two other possible origins of the term “Pork-Knocker”. Salt pork is the common thread.
    Prospectors would cook rice with a chunk of salt pork tied on a piece of string for easy retrieval. When a taste indicated that enough flavor had been imparted to the rice, they would pull out the piece of pork, “knock” it on the side of the pot to clear away any rice grains; and carefully store it for another use. The intense flavor of salt pork; and the penury of the prospector lends credibility to this origin.
    A second suggestion was the observation that prospectors would discern and be drawn to any site where gold had been discovered – the “gold rush”; in the similar manner of large roaches that would cluster on the outside of the store of salt pork, enclosed in a jute bag, hanging from a roof rafter.
    Those large roaches that gathered to feast on the salt were called “Knockers”. I believe that I read this in a publication of the RACS but I cannot find any mention of it.
    There was a detailed model of the “Denham Suspension Bridge across Garraway Stream” in the lobby of the Museum. I was told that the bridge was quite a sight in the pristine surroundings then (1950). Apparently there was a resident caretaker whose full time job was to keep the bridge repaired and painted.
    Why do I get the deja vu feeling that I have written this here previously?

  • dhanpaul narine  On 02/23/2018 at 4:16 am

    I crossed this bridge many times in the seventies when we were doing research work in the area. It’s a marvelous work of engineering. The view from the bridge is absolutely stunning.

  • Stanley Greaves  On 01/10/2020 at 11:24 am

    Camped there overnight with the Saints Camping Group in 1954 on the way to Kaieteur. Travelled on a govt: goods truck, had to sit on bags and cardboard cartons. Had a rare sighting of a black jaguar crossing the road.

  • Stan Matthias  On 03/23/2021 at 3:55 pm

    Some years ago I had the privilege of visiting the bridge with the help of Rogan Wilke. This man is a legend.We came across some obstacles on the way and while I was getting stressed this man was cool.I documented the trip from Mahdia to the bridge,it was the highlight of my visit to Guyana from the UK. Visiting some places twice is not for me but I would make an exception for Denham Bridge.

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