Sail-Past re-enactment for Singing Bridge’s Golden Anniversary

The previous night’s rainstorm skirted the towns, providing a stunning backdrop for the Sail-Past.

MIRACULOUS weather on the Golden Anniversary of the Singing Bridge endorsed the re-enactment of the historic sail-past that was held at the Opening in 1974, sailed once more on Saturday 6 April, 2024.

Led by the diehard boaties of the local Myall Lakes Aquatic Club (MLAC), a flotilla of fourteen boats assembled in the narrow channel near Hawks Nest jetty, and, from 10:30am, triumphantly sailed under the 50-year-old Singing Bridge into the port of Tea Gardens.

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Most of these vessels and their sailors have lived, and made a living, upon these waters for many years, so the day was special as a celebration of the freedom of aquatic traffic that the Singing Bridge’s construction heralded, 50 years free of the dark-age punt system.

The Bridge’s constant, silent service was, hopefully, appreciated by more than the few locals who took the time to strap festive balloons to some of the lampposts, and the squadron of pelicans, who usually sit guard atop those lights, took flight to circle in an aerial ballet for the occasion.

The relentless rainstorm that had pounded the coast for the previous 72 hours had, somewhat divinely, decided to shift off to the east, and track its way down the coast over the ocean, leaving clear skies over the flotilla, and summery weather to be enjoyed by the boaties and the landlubbing audience alike.

Several small crowds lined up along the sandy banks of ANZAC Park, from Apex Park jetty, all the way down to the Tea Gardens Hotel public wharf, where a small, floating city thence sprung up, as the MLAC members enjoyed a BBQ lunch.

“We wanted to recreate what was done 50 years ago, the sail-past at the opening,” MLAC Commodore Rod Blanch told NOTA.

“Then the members could catch up here (at the wharf) and later head to the Tea Gardens Hotel to patronise the local business there.

“Some of our members were young kids when the Bridge opened, and this was a special day for all, even celebrating another birthday among our group.”

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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