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Twin memorials commemorate Tasman Bridge disaster

THE cities of Hobart and Clarence have once again partnered to commemorate the Tasman Bridge collapse with the recent unveiling of twin “places of reflection”, each housing an identical memorial plaque.

On Sunday 5 January 1975 at 9.27pm, the bulk carrier Lake Illawarra collided with the Tasman Bridge, resulting in 12-people losing their lives.

Last year, the Hobart and Clarence councils partnered in a memorial event to mark the 40th anniversary of the disaster.

This year, the councils have once again teamed up to create lasting memorials on both sides of the bridge.

Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey said the Tasman Bridge disaster was an event that many Tasmanians still had strong and lasting memories of, especially in the Clarence and Hobart communities.

“This was a significant event in the history of Hobart and Clarence that shaped the way in which our cities relate to each other and have grown and developed over the past four decades,” she said.

“I am so pleased that both councils have come together once again to create something special to forever remember the people who tragically lost their lives.”

The City of Hobart’s newly developed place of reflection – located on the western side of the Tasman Highway – offers a perspective of the bridge.

The site incorporates a sitting-wall, tree and interpretative panel detailing the history of the event.

The location of the Eastern Shore memorial is on the Clarence foreshore at Montagu Bay.

Clarence Mayor Doug Chipman said the site was chosen because it had a clear view of the bridge span, which fell in 1975.

“It is also located near the sculpture erected last year on the 40th anniversary of the Tasman Bridge collapse,” he said.

“The places of reflection on both sides of the bridge will be a lasting reminder, a place to commemorate the tragedy and, importantly, places for the families and the community to remember those who lost their lives.”

The memorial plaques, unveiled in two ceremonies attended by family members, include the names of people who were killed.

“An important component of the project was to identify surviving family members to consult them on the plans for the memorial,” Mayor Chipman said.

“We are very pleased that some family members were able to join us at the unveilings.”