Royal Commission

The Royal Commission

A Royal Commission into the tragedy sat for six months. Its findings blamed the design, the construction method and the foolhardy attempts to rectify a construction failure.
Failure of design. Failure of process. Failure of duty of care.

The Royal Commission into the Failure of the West Gate Bridge, chaired by Mr Justice Barber, commenced on 28 October 1970 and concluded on 14 July 1971. The Commission completed collecting the evidence from 52 witnesses in May 1971, It had sat for 73 days - broken only for Christmas and Easter - and had listened to more than two million words of evidence.

The Commissioners took little more than a month to complete their weighty 300-page, 8000 word report, and it was released in the Victorian Parliament on 3 August 1971.

The point of no return

A decision to get workers off the bridge comes too late...
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At about 11:00 am, Ward tried to contact Hindshaw, telling him that things were not going according to plan and that he should come over to the west side as soon as possible. In fact, Peter Crossley, B.A, M.I.C.E, Site Engineer, Freeman Fox and Partners, took Ward’s telephone call and went out to find Hindshaw. The rebolting was going well and the buckle had come out sufficiently to render it possible to make the bolted connection between the transverse diaphragm in box 4 and the inner upper flange plate.

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