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Former workers that built the Harwood Bridge caught up at the anniversary celebrations on Saturday. L-R Brian and Tiggy McGrath, Kevin Betterridge, Frank (Ned) Williams, Ross Marsh, Milton Lewis, John Harvey, (sitting) John Young and Harry Loy. Image: Lynne Mowbray.

Harwood Bridge celebrates 50 years

Former workers that built the Harwood Bridge caught up at the anniversary celebrations on Saturday. L-R Brian and Tiggy McGrath, Kevin Betterridge, Frank (Ned) Williams, Ross Marsh, Milton Lewis, John Harvey, (sitting) John Young and Harry Loy. Image: Lynne Mowbray.
Former workers that built the Harwood Bridge caught up at the anniversary celebrations on Saturday. L-R Brian and Tiggy McGrath, Kevin Betterridge, Frank (Ned) Williams, Ross Marsh, Milton Lewis, John Harvey, (sitting) John Young and Harry Loy. Image: Lynne Mowbray.

 

A constant stream of visitors viewed memorabilia which was on display at the Harwood Hotel on Saturday, at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the opening of the Harwood Bridge.
It was a time of reflection for several men who worked on the building of the bridge.
One of these former workers Rex Wiseman, had memorabilia which he had saved from the event including a formal invitation to the official opening of the bridge, from the Commissioner of Main Roads.
Mr Wiseman said that he was an invited guest to the opening, as he was the president of the Maclean Apex Club, at the time.
“I lived in Harwood all of my early life,” said Mr Wiseman.
“I remember the traffic that would queue up on both sides of the river, waiting for the ferry, before the bridge was opened.
“The longest queue saw traffic banked back to the Maclean Fishermans Co-Op on the south side of the river and on the north side of the river, stretched up to the Chatsworth Island turn off.
“I think that was when the queen visited Lismore,” he said.
Brian and Jean Everson from Maclean remember the bridge opening well.
“We were a young married couple when the bridge opened and our baby was only six-weeks-old,” said Mrs Everson.
“We enjoyed not having to line up for the ferry anymore,” she said.
Frank (Ned) Williams said that he lived at the Harwood Hotel during the construction of the bridge and operated the floating crane.
“We use to lift over 60 ton,” he said.
“Windy days were really bad, trying to control it.”
Occasionally workers would fall into the river during the bridges construction and Mr Williams remembers having to jump in on one occasion and save someone.
Mr Williams only worked on the bridge for two and a half years and missed the opening as he had moved on to Ingham in Queensland chasing work on drilling rigs and in the mines.
“That was the way it was in those days,” said Mr Williams.
“Back then, you’d travel all over the place, wherever the work was you followed it.”

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