As the third Nowra Bridge takes shape before our eyes, a local antiques collector has shared some delicate items that speak of a time when the original Nowra Bridge was the iconic landmark for visitors to the Shoalhaven.
From the 1920s onwards, holiday makers in Nowra could take home a china dish, jug or vase bearing a painting of the bridge as a souvenir of their visit.
Local collector Adam Manly has about 60 such pieces of Shoalhaven "souvenir ware" in his collection, but his links to the Nowra Bridge don't stop there.
Working as an asset officer for Shoalhaven City Council, Adam is one of the many hundreds of people working to create the new river crossing, and admits he loves bridges almost as much as he loves collecting.
"I like to collect items from Nowra and the Shoalhaven," Adam said.
"It's ironic that I work with bridges. Most of the older souvenirs I've collected feature the Nowra Bridge, but I've also found a few items with pictures of Fitzroy Falls and the Hampden Bridge.
"Back in those days, bridges were real tourist attractions and were appreciated as engineering marvels," he said.
"A lot of people came to Nowra then went down the river to Crookhaven Heads or St Georges Basin. People would stay overnight in a hotel in Nowra then go down the coast."
Because they were purchased as souvenirs and gifts, the items in Adam's collection have been gathered from far flung places all over the country.
Adam is also an avid bottle collector and says once you get the collecting bug, it becomes a lifelong passion.
"I've collected things in dribs and drabs since I was a boy. I remember being with mum on a field day digging in some old ruins in the Hunter Valley, when she found a sydney marble bottle. That tweaked my interest, and I've been collecting marble bottles ever since."
Among his vast collection of bottles are many that were dredged from the deep, with Adam saying he spends quite a bit of his spare time "mud treading" in creeks and rivers around the Shoalhaven.
"It's the thrill of the hunt," he said.
Adam also collects "hotel-ware" from around Nowra, plates, cups and ashtrays from local hotels and cafes, though he says these items are quite rare.
"Stuff from the early cafes and hotels is hard to get - I have about eight pieces from the Prince of Wales hotel, and some items from Nowra's Spot Cafe."
The early Nowra Bridge souvenirs were made in England by Shelley, a company world famous for the quality of its bone china.
Some of these pieces bear an inscription stating they were commissioned from Shelley by PW Young & Son, one of the very early jewellers of Nowra.
But whether Mr Young sold them in his shop or on-sold them to other tourist outlets is a mystery.
Brian Forrester, who wrote a book about the early retail history of Nowra, said he remembers PW Young's well, which along with Lionel Seyfer's, was one of two jeweller shops in the town.
A young Brian purchased his very first watch from Mr Young, saying it cost "an arm and a leg".
Brian said Mr Young must have been doing well out of the jewellery business as he remembers him driving around in a big American car at a time when most people in Nowra rode a push bike or walked.
When Adam Manly posted pictures of some of his souvenir ware on the facebook site "Shoalhaven in the 20th Century", the post sent readers hunting through cupboards to see if they had any of these unusual pieces.
"It's mind boggling how many variations there are from Shelley; trinket dishes, pin dishes, ashtrays, display cups and saucers and trio sets," Adam said.
Given the rapidly changing view of the Shoalhaven River Crossing, these items with their delicate paintings of the old bridge will no doubt become more precious than ever as time goes on.
And as for the old bridge itself, Adam says; "I hope they will keep the bridge there. It's the only type of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere."
Adam Manly can be contacted via his facebook page.