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Picture relating to Rockhampton - titled 'Opening of the Fitzroy Bridge, Rockhampton, 1881'

Opening of the Fitzroy Bridge, Rockhampton, 1881

contributed by QldPics, taken in 1881
(contact QldPics about this picture)

View of the official opening of the first Fitzroy Bridge on New Year's Day, 1881.
About four hundred people took part in a procession from the courthouse to the southern approach to the bridge. Here the engineer, Mr. F.J. Byerley, and the Mayor, Ald. John Ferguson, addressed those gathered, pointing out that the great work had been completed without the loss of a single life. The Mayor referred to the bridge as one of the finest structures in the colonies and certainly the finest outside the capital cities. Two bottles of champagne were broken against one of the pedestals of the bridge and it was formerly declared open for traffic.

The photograph shows the volunteer military band escorting authorities across the new bridge, followed by the fire brigade and friendly societies. The volunteers are wearing uniforms, including white helmets. A crowd of spectators are gathered, many of whom arrived in horsedrawn buggies similar to that appearing in the foreground on the right.

The ceremony at the northern end included the planting of two memorial trees by Mr. Henry Jones and Mr. W. Pattison, a member of the Divisional Board. After refreshments the procession reformed and returned to the south side.

The bridge, which had been decorated with flags and foilage, was crowded with people strolling back and forth (Information taken from A.E. Hermann, The development of Rockhampton and district, 2002).

This picture is also part of the following Bonzle photo collections: