From Flinders Street station to the MCG, The Shrine to St Kilda Pier, Melbourne has plenty of iconic landmarks.
Melburnians use the West Gate Bridge a lot. Whether we’re heading to or from work or jumping on the Princes Highway to head to the surf coast, we use this thoroughfare so much, its history might not occur to many of us.
2020, already notable for so many of the wrong reasons, marks the 50th anniversary of a tragedy that not only changed Melbourne, it changed the working lives of Victorians forever.
At 11.50 am on the 15th of October 1970, two years into its construction, span 10-11 of the bridge collapsed, taking the lives of 35 workers with it. It remains the worst industrial accident in Australia’s history, but is credited with kick-starting a raft of workplace reforms that make Victoria and Australia one of the safest places to work in the world. This is the legacy of the men who died, and hopefully this is what people remember as they cross the West Gate.
It was on an everyday crossing a few years back that Mike noticed a lone man walking the bridge normally closed to pedestrians. Mike took that image home and picked up his guitar. He and Gordo continued crafting the music and lyrics for quite some time, until it felt just right.
Not long afterwards, Gordo ran into an old mate and discovered he was making a documentary to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the tragedy. It was a complete coincidence.
That mate is Shane Jacobson and the documentary is a project close to his heart. As a result of that chance encounter, Kinematic’s WEST GATE BRIDGE features in the documentary West Gate Bridge: The Untold Stories, which will air on Thursday 15th of October on the Nine Network. The band feel privileged to have contributed a small verse to the ongoing chapter of Melbourne. Cover art by Melbourne artist Karri Clarke. @karriclarke.art
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