Narooma Bridge turns 90
by Laurelle Pacey
Narooma Bridge’s 90th birthday on 20 June passed without major celebration, unlike the official opening in 1931 which was a huge day for Narooma.
The bridge’s design dates from a time when motorised road transport was still in its early stages and an opening span was needed to allow coastal steamers to travel upstream.
The opening attracted about 1,800 people and more cars than Narooma had ever seen before. The bridge ‘was bedecked’ with red, white and blue flags and the pilot dressed the Pilot Station’s flagstaff.
Speeches were made from a dais on the northern end of the bridge with Shire President Carl Mitchell of Mitchell’s Mill officiating. A demonstration of the bridge’s opening and closing followed.
Local member H J Bate MLA of Tilba Tilba officially opened the bridge adding some people had criticised the cost and questioned the need for a bridge, but the £42,000 cost was no more than one mile of railway.
After Mrs Bate cut the ribbon, a large crowd walked across and proceeded to the “Soldiers Memorial Hall” [School of Arts – now the Kinema] followed by a long procession of cars. Caterers Mr and Mrs J P Hyland of Narooma Hotel had prepared a sumptuous spread in the Hall with Narooma oysters one of the most popular courses.
Everyone then adjourned to the recreation ground for a knockout football competition with six teams from Moruya (2), Narooma (2), Wallaga Lake and Tilba. A “grand ball” in the Hall followed that night.
Part 2 of Narooma Bridge’s story follows next week with construction details.
Above: The completed Narooma Bridge on opening day, with the old vehicle ferry beside it.
Narooma Historical Society Archives, courtesy Cyril Renwick Archives - Morison & Bearby Newcastle.
Above: Narooma Bridge’s opening on 20 June 1931 was a huge day for Narooma attracting 1,800 people. Photo courtesy Myra Wright, Narooma Historical Society.