Again we gathered at the foot of the bridge that is a daily reminder to the survivors of the horror of that October day in 1970 when 35 comrades lost their lives.
Victorian ETU Secretary, Dean Mighell, delivered the commemorative address.
This year, Henry Owens, brother of Joe, the 36th man to be killed on the West Gate, joined family members who had travelled from Ireland and Canada to remind us of the deep connections between Australia and Ireland.‘We gave you Ned Kelly….and Joe Owens,’ he told the crowd.
Memorial Committee Chairman, Danny Gardiner spoke of the one positive that came out of this disaster: OH&S legislation that helps protect today’s workers and the generations to come.
But it was survivor Bob Setka’s (left) recollections that were a chill reminder of the suffering that for many, began on that day. Bob rode the crumbling bridge into the Stony Creek mud below. He survived without a broken bone and eventually returned to see the bridge’s completion.
The committee received an email from Wayne Hindshaw, son of Jack Hindshaw, the engineer who too late recognised that the futile repair to span 10-11 was doomed and paid with his life.‘As a deeply Christian man I know that he would ask for forgiveness that he was unable to prevent the accident,’ Mr Hindshaw wrote.