From the Newsroom

A local man is wondering what happened to more than 50 padlocks which used to hang near one of the walkways on the old Grafton Bridge. Image: Emma Pritchard

Bridging the gap to unlock the mystery

Emma Pritchard|

The mystery surrounding the disappearance of around 50 padlocks which had been secured onto a wire fence leading up to one of the walkways on the old Grafton Bridge has been unlocked.

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for Transport for NSW revealed they are in the process of replacing some of the chain wire mesh on the shared user pathways which has deteriorated over time.

“About 200m of the chain wire mesh has been replaced on the upstream side of the bridge, and some on the downstream side is due to be replaced shortly,” the spokesperson confirmed.

“Unfortunately, Transport for NSW has had to remove the old chain wire mesh with the padlocks connected.”

Questions regarding their absence were raised a few weeks ago after local man David Gilbert noticed they were missing on one of his weekly walks and contacted the Clarence Valley Independent.

It created a colourful discussion, online and throughout the local community.

Several people commented they were glad the padlocks had been removed as they didn’t belong there and made the location look untidy, while others expressed their sadness at their removal.

One Clarence Valley resident, who did not wish to be identified, said they were disheartened when they discovered the padlocks had gone.

“I know a lot of people didn’t like them, but they meant a lot of things to the people who put them there, so I was upset when I saw they’d been taken away,” they said.

“I don’t think they were causing a problem.

“Maybe there should be a post or memorial erected somewhere nearby so people can leave a reminder or a memory of a loved one or something precious to them on that instead, and then it could stay there permanently.”

The Transport for NSW spokesperson said while the agency recognises these “love locks” are a tradition people have used for decades to symbolise their everlasting love, placing locks on bridges is strongly discouraged.

“They tend to corrode, rust the metal and place additional weight on the bridge, both of which can create safety concerns,” the spokesperson said.

Transport for NSW was not able to identify the owners of the padlocks on the old Grafton Bridge.