west gate bridge construction, 1977
I made this picture during the second phase of construction of Melbourne’s iconic bridge following the calamitous collapse of one of its spans in 1970. Thirty five people died that horrible day in October due to the twin failures of poor initial design and dodgy construction methods.
As a lasting reminder of the consequences of poor engineering practice, parts of the twisted and smashed span are permanently mounted in the gardens adjacent to the Faculty of Engineering at Monash University.
Since its completion in 1978 the bridge has been an integral and essential part of Melbourne’s traffic flow and it is hard now to imagine getting around between the East and West of the city before it.
The real tragedy lies in the knowledge that, with due care, the cost in lives was avoidable.