The West Gate Bridge Memorial Committee has honoured the memory of those who lost their lives during the construction of the West Gate Bridge in 1970 at the 48th Anniversary Memorial Service.
The service was held at the West Gate Bridge Memorial Park Monument under the bridge on Hyde Street in Spotswood and guest speakers included Sally McManus, Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).
It was just before lunch on 15 October 1970, when the West Gate Bridge suddenly groaned, an eerie pinging noise filled the air, a storm of rust flakes peeled off weathered steel. the girders started to turn blue and the bridge fell away beneath their feet.
Following the West Gate Bridge collapse that claimed the lives of 35 workers, a Royal Commission found that the design, construction method and foolhardy attempts to rectify a construction failure were all contributing factors that led to the tragedy.
A memorial plaque was paid for and erected by bridge workers, and unveiled on 15 October 1978 in honour and memory of their 35 comrades who died as a result of the bridge’s collapse.
The inscription reads: “Construction workers employed on West Gate Bridge erected and dedicated this memorial to their 35 workmates who were killed when a span of the bridge collapsed during construction at 11.50 am on 15th October 1970.”
The West Gate Memorial Park was opened on 15 October 2004, the 34th anniversary of the disaster, to embrace the existing West Gate Bridge Memorial and Sculpture and is located on the actual site of the Bridge’s collapse.