Freeman Fox and Partners


Only yesterday they’d all laughed when they felt the span move. ‘She must be having growing pains’ someone said.

On the morning of 15 October, Ian Miller walked on to the span he and the men had just recently put in place on top of the huge 155ft concrete piers on the west side of the River Yarra. His colleague Jack Hindshaw was there. They waved a greeting to each other.

Jack, 42, the resident engineer for the bridge designers, Freeman Fox and Partners, had been sent out from London. Only a few weeks before, Ian and Jack had assured the men the bridge was safe after a similar bridge at Milford Haven, Wales, had collapsed and killed four men. Now this span was giving trouble.

The doomed repair

Work to correct a buckle on span 10-11 set in motion a chain of events that would end in tragedy.
Work commences to correct the error

On Wednesday 14 October, D Ward, M.I.C.E., Section Engineer, Freeman Fox and Partners, West Side, gave formal written instructions for work to be done (to straighten the buckle on span 10-11 ‘without further delay’). The instructions refer first to the necessity to complete the bolting of the No. 4 diaphragm; unbolting the 4-5 splice is to be done with the object of making possible the completion of the diaphragm connection.

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