The iconic bridge across the Goulburn River at Murchison was officially opened amid week-long celebrations, on 31st March 1937, 80 years ago.
Photo above of Light Horse parade and the crowd at the opening of the bridge in 1937.
Celebrations to mark the occasion of the 80 year anniversary will be a very much more modest affair than in 1937! On Saturday 1st of April 2017, some old cars of the 1937 era will travel over the bridge from the east side at approximately 10.30 am, driving slowly to allow for photo opportunities, turn right along the main street, Stevenson Street, and travel up to the Heritage Centre where the drivers will be welcomed with morning tea, a guided tour of the Gallery and some interesting photos about the building of the bridge. Police will be in attendance to stop the traffic briefly to allow the cars a safe and individual passage across the bridge. Heritage Centre will be open for any visitors.
The festivities in 1937 were considerably more impressive! Hundreds of people travelled to Murchison to attend a combined ‘Back To’ and opening of the bridge with many events organised over the Easter period. There were concerts, processions, a cycling race, church services, Fancy Dress Ball, picnic at the show grounds and a show by the Dramatic Club even before Lord Huntingfield, the Governor of Victoria arrived who would officially open the bridge. After the Governor was welcomed at a formal Civic Reception in the gardens with lots of introductions, speeches, formalities and singing from the school children, it is reported some two or three thousand people witnessed Lord Huntingfield make his speech and cut the ribbon. Finally, on Wednesday 31st March 1937, the Murchison Bridge was officially open.
But the celebrations were not over yet! After lunch enjoyed at the notable Gregory’s Hotel, the Governor went out to the Dargalong and Murchison District Turf Club for a special ‘Back To’ race meeting. Here he presented the trophies to the owner and jockey of the winning horse in the main feature, a mile long ‘Back to Murchison’ handicap race. The week finished that evening with a dance and euchre party. They certainly knew how to kick up their heels in Murchison in 1937!
Even though celebrations will be much more modest, do come along on Saturday first of April to see the old cars, take some photos and reflect on the service this bridge has provided as an important crossing place in our region for 80 years.
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(Reference: WHBossence, Hawthorn Press, 1965)