Remembering the West Gate Bridge collapse

VU Library, with assistance from the Coroners Court in Melbourne and the Public Records Office Victoria, has set up an exhibition to remember the tragic collapse of the West Gate Bridge.

At 11.50 am on 15 October 1970, the West Gate Bridge collapsed during construction – about two years into construction. Approximately 2,000 tonnes of steel and concrete crashed down into the banks of the Yarra, killing 35 workers and injuring many more.

Rescuers had to work in difficult and dangerous conditions - a diesel oil fire broke out - and many of those killed died of horrific burns. A Royal Commission was established to investigate the cause of the collapse, deemed the worst industrial disaster in Victoria.

The Bridge eventually opened on 15 November 1978, 10 years after initial construction.

Display items include:

  • dramatic photos following the collapse of the Bridge and the impact of the tragedy
  • documents - West Gate Bridge Project, artist impression; maps; a copy of the Report of the Royal Commission into the Failure of the West Gate Bridge (1971) and newspaper articles
  • books by Bill Hitchings and Björn Akesson.

Many of the photographs on display are on loan from the Coroners Court in Melbourne and the Public Records Office Victoria.

The exhibition is on at Footscray Park Library until Wednesday 29 October.

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