Friday, January 1, 2010

West Gate Bridge, under construction

In the last post we looked at the Williamstown Ferry, which was made redundant with the opening of the West Gate Bridge. The bridge was started in April 1968. The span between piers 10 & 11 collapsed, with the loss of 35 lives, on October 15, 1970. It was finally opened on November 15, 1978. The bridge made an enormous difference to traffic flow around Melbourne and even though John complains about the West Gate Bridge traffic as he makes his way across and back three times a day from One Steel in Dandenong to the One Steel (formally Smorgon's) Mill in Laverton, it is surely still better than having to queue for the Ferry.

These photographs were taken between October 1972 and April 1973, when John was on the McIlwraith McEachern tug, the Elton Griffin, pictured above. John had gone to sea when he was 15 and occasionally took a break from truck driving and went back to sea.

Looking west towards Spotswood.

Looking west towards Yarraville.

The Howard Smith tug, The Melbourne. The Melbourne had been hit in the stern and sunk in the Bay, in this photograph it had been raised and is being supprted by the salvage tender. There is a good view of the West Gate Bridge in the back ground.

The Empress of Australia, the replacement for the Princess of Tasmania, at the Tasmania Ferry Terminal. Another good view of the West Gate Bridge is behind her.

Looking south to Port Melbourne. The Roy A. Cameron, was a Melbourne Harbour Trust hopper, whose job was to take the mud from the bucket dredge and deposit it at the Spoil Ground in the Bay.


  1. can you please tell me what year was the photo ntaken of the Elton Griffin.My father was the skipper on it when it was new.

  2. Thanks for these hugely interesting photographs of the West Gate Bridge under construction