Tea Gardens Local History group installs Singing Bridge 50th anniversary library display

Tea Gardens Family Research and Local Historians with their diligent display. (L-R) Anne Shannon, Janis Winn, Ros Bridger, Margaret Munright, Shirley Cox and Judith Glover.

HISTORY was on full display at the Tea Gardens Library on the 50th Anniversary of the Singing Bridge, christened ‘Bridge Day’, on Saturday 6 April, thanks to the Tea Gardens Family Research and Local History Group (TGFRLHG).

Crowds gathered inside the Council library to view and reminisce over the three static displays that included many pictures and historical NOTA articles.

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“We are telling the narrative of the Singing Bridge, starting with life before it existed, to the ‘punt days’, to its construction, and the effect the Bridge has had on both towns since,” Shirley Cox, TGFRLHG Publicity Officer told NOTA.

“Quite a bit of work has gone into this, over many weeks, with items taken mainly from the current TGFRLHG’s resources, and those of the predecessor ‘Myall Coast Historical Society’.

“We have a painting on loan from a local artist, Jan Winn’s invaluable historical books, and Trove has been extremely useful, such as for old NOTA articles.

“Christian Patterson’s collection of bridge construction pics, and Janis Winn’s photo collection were used extensively.”

A fourth display, a slideshow containing another trove of historical pictures from before the bridge and beyond, was also running, illuminating many more memories for attendees.

Many onlookers were mesmerised by such vivid images of life 50–100 years ago, like how the main form of transport from Tea Gardens to Nelson Bay was a horse-drawn carriage.

Their historical reverie was enhanced by a certain reverence for the hard yakka of the timber, fishing and prawning industries that sustained the local economy, and what the riverfront once looked like with stacks of logs and boats pulled up on its sandy banks.

“This display will remain at the Tea Gardens Library throughout April, and anyone who has something to add to the historical collection can let us know,” Shirley added.

An auxiliary static display was also set up at the Tea Gardens Hotel, put together by Lorraine Lock, Diane Kiss and Jenny Little, allowing people to review the history after midday.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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