The Art & Industry Festival commissioned this podcast, The Bridge. It has been produced by Overland magazine and Witness Performance, in collaboration with the 2018 Art & Industry Festival, which was themed around bridges.
On 15 October 1970, in Australia’s worst modern industrial accident, a 2000-ton span of the West Gate Bridge fell during construction. Thirty-five bridge workers died and a further eighteen were injured.
This podcast documents important moments from the 2018 Art & Industry Festival that relate to the history and significance of the West Gate Bridge. It will take you to symposiums; intimate accounts from workers who survived the collapse; scenes from the recent production of The Bridge, a play written by the late Vicki Reynolds in 1990, which tells the stories of the bridge workers using verbatim techniques; and, finally, to a special performance of ‘Throw your arms around me’ by Mark Seymour, James Henry and local community singers (led by Jennifer Lund), largely sung in the Yuwaalaraay language.
Co-hosted and produced by Ben Keene, from Witness Performance, and Jacinda Woodhead, from Overland. Mixed by, and all additional music by, Ben Keene.
People we’d like to thank
Many thanks to the West Gate Bridge Memorial Committee, the CFMEU, everyone who spoke at the ‘How to build bridges’ symposium and/or gave their time in interviews, James Henry, Bindi Cole Chocka, Mark Seymour, local community singers (led by Jennifer Lund), Donna Jackson, Elizabeth Humphrys, Enza Gandolfo, Tara Goldstein, the Art + Industry Festival, Witness Performance, Ben Keene, Alison Croggon and Rachael McGuirk.
A special thanks to the bridge workers – Tom Watson, Danny Gardiner, Pat Preston, Paddy Hanaphy and Ian Domoney – who were so generous with their thoughts and experiences, and to the trade union movement as a whole.
Related links about the Bridge Projects and the people involved
Ed note: transcript to come.
Lead image: The West Gate Bridge (with text projections); credit: Gary Eastwood