Singing Bridge 50th anniversary commemorations strangled by red tape, lack of public interest

The Tea Gardens-Hawks Nest ‘Singing Bridge’ will go unsung on its Golden Jubilee.

A WALL of modern regulations and a powerful dearth of public interest have rung the death knell for formally organised commemoration events of the Singing Bridge’s 50th anniversary this year, originally planned for 6 April.

Anticipating the Golden Jubilee, a small Management Committee composed of enthusiastic locals was formed in July 2023, under the auspices of the Hawks Nest Tea Gardens Progress Association (HNTGPA).

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More than six months of planning and drumming up local interest has, however, proven fruitless, and the spiralling costs of modern regulation compliance drove the final nail into the celebration’s coffin.

“Following a Management Committee decision, please note that due to excessive costs, additional insurance, regulatory, and administrative overheads, and insufficient community engagement, the HNTGPA will no longer be conducting any formal celebrations to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Singing Bridge,” announced HNTGPA Vice President Michele Winn.

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this has caused, and thank you so much for the support offered to date.”

Ms Winn told NOTA that of the 42 local organisations that HNTGPA contacted for their involvement, only two responses were received.

“We are encouraging people to have a picnic to celebrate if they would like to mark the occasion.”

Things have certainly changed since the Bridge’s opening in 1974, with modern traffic control, event insurance, and staffing for basic facilities all skyrocketing to many multiples of the HNTGPA’s modest budget.

Apart from a Council grant that would be paid after the event, the entirety of financial costs, insurmountable as they became, would have been absorbed by the HNTGPA, as the planned stalls were to be available for free.

“History will still be made on 6 April, the Bridge will still be standing, but it would have been nice if more people had shown an interest in celebrating the structure that ties our towns together,” said another Management Committee member.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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