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Murphys Bridge “The Forgotten People”

The Beagle Editor, Our property 230 acres is situated on Maunds Rd Cadgee. My husband and his family picked vegetables on this farm, before we purchased it in the early 80’s.We have been farming here ever since. This is “Our Country”. There are three generations living here at present ten of the seventeen residents identify as indigenous, six are school aged children, one with Special Needs. Two of the adults have autoimmune diseases and live with chronic pain. There are two family owned indigenous Earth moving companies that rely on the property as a base. On NYE 2019 the fires ripped through our property. My husband and sons stayed and fought to protect our homes. The women left with the kids and did not know for 3 days if they had survived or what was left standing! Finally my son made contact, They had saved our homes but not much else. We made our way home, I remember getting the kids together to warn them, of the devastation and destruction they were going to witness and that before they knew things would start to get back to normal. For two months we lived with out power or phones. Origin Energy managed to navigate through the destruction to restore power. No Fresh water or hot water, no where to swim, just smoke and and burnt trees and grass. During this time “Murphys Bridge was still smouldering” Our only access road had two destroyed bridges “Reedy Creek and “Peach Tree” and the other way out Murphys, was still burning!

We bladed a small track around Peach Tree bridge, so we could get out for supplies. “That was the picture we faced when the kids went back to school.” Fast Forward to now. Reedy Creek and Peach Tree bridges are now repaired and we access our property from Eurobodalla Road. However this road is in total disrepair. Our main access was across Murphys bridge. This bridge gives us access to our local community (Nerrigundah) and its infrastructure, community hall, Basketball court and oval and FIRE BRIGADE. To access these facilities at present involves a 46km round trip, pre fire it was 12km. To access the school bus service at present involves an extra 64 km a day, unless we waded across the river. Last school year it was 104km a day See Map. Two sets of grandparents uncles aunties and parents live in the Nerrigundah community. We are not the only residents effected by this depressing issue. “WE ARE ALL OUT OF RESILLENCE” YOURS SINCERELY THE COLBURNS AT CADGEE ADVICE FROM COUNCIL April 20th 2021: Council’s director of infrastructure services, Warren Sharpe OAM said the remaining two bridges destroyed by the bushfires, Murphy Bridge and Old Bolaro Creek Bridge, were expected to commence in the second half of this year. Murphy Bridge is the largest destroyed bridge to be replaced as it crosses the main Tuross River.

“Road access to the highway is currently available to properties on both sides of the river,” Mr Sharpe said.

“We are currently calling quotations for the supply of the bridge components and then for the design of foundations and installation of the bridge. We aim to complete these two bridges by late 2021.”

Above: Murphy Bridge sat solidly above the Tuross River pre-bushfires. In January 2020 it was all but destroyed but the lack of rain allowed vehicles to pass. Council strengthened the sidetrack in late January with large steel pipes and gravel, however heavy rain and flood waters in February washed away the temporary track. Photos: ESC

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