Minutes silence held and plaque unveiled to to mark 40th Anniversary of the collapse of the Tasman Bridge

To mark the 40th Anniversary of the collapse of the Tasman Bridge in which 12 people tragically lost their lives, a minutes silence was held at 9.27 pm today to mark the exact moment 40 years ago the MV Lake Illawarra collided with the bridge.

To mark the 40th Anniversary of the collapse of the Tasman Bridge, in which 12 people tragically lost their lives, a minute’s silence was held at 9.27pm today to mark the exact moment 40 years ago when the MV Lake Illawarra collided with the bridge.

Coinciding with the silence, the Tasman Bridge lights were dimmed.

A plaque was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Hobart, Alderman Sue Hickey and Mayor of Clarence, Alderman Doug Chipman on the rebuilt span of the bridge to commemorate the tragedy, with Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure Rene Hidding also in attendance.

Lord Mayor Sue Hickey said after some 40 years, it was appropriate not only to remember the Tasman Bridge disaster itself, but also to highlight the impacts the loss of the bridge had on life in greater Hobart, particularly those in the City of Clarence.

“This was a significant event in the history of Hobart and Clarence and has shaped the way in which both cities relate to each other and have grown and developed over the last four decades,” Lord Mayor Hickey said.

Mayor Chipman said the events of 5 January 1975 changed the fabric of Hobart and Clarence, in particular those things we now take for granted such as access to healthcare, education as well as how we work.”

“When the bulk carrier MV Lake Illawarra collided with the pillars on the Tasman Bridge, two pylons and three spans totalling 127 m of bridge decking collapsed, taking the lives of five people travelling on the bridge and seven of the ship’s crew members,” Mayor Chipman said.

“The impact of the bridge collapse was immediately felt as Hobart was suddenly cut in two, with major disruptions to life for many of the 40,000 people living on the eastern shore at that time.”

The Tasman Bridge took two years and cost approximately $44 million to repair, with the official re-opening being staged on 8 October 1977. A fifth lane was added to the bridge as part of this work and upon re-opening new safety procedures were implemented around shipping movements.

A history of the bridge event can be found at: www.ccc.tas.gov.au/page.aspx?u=1086.
Members of the public are invited to post their memories of the event on the Hobart
City Guide Facebook page.

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