Crookwell Shire Council opens the Narrawa Bridge over the Lachlan River

In 1973, about 400 people attended the opening ceremony of the completion of the Narrawa Bridge over the Lachlan River, reports the Crookwell Gazette.

The deputy premier and the Minister for Local Government said at the opening, the completion of the bridge was a memorial to the courage of the Crookwell Shire councillor's in tackling such a major undertaking, and to the skill and loyalty of their staff.

The deputy premier Sir Charles Cutler unveils the commemorative plaque at the official opening of Narrawa Bridge in 1973 with him is Crookwell Shire president councillor Max Picker. Photo: Crookwell Gazette

The deputy premier Sir Charles Cutler unveils the commemorative plaque at the official opening of Narrawa Bridge in 1973 with him is Crookwell Shire president councillor Max Picker. Photo: Crookwell Gazette

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In the early 70s, invitations were sent to special guests and the Duntroon Military College Band played for the crowd.

The Crookwell Gazette states, "the flag bedecked bridge was a colourful sight for the opening, which was attended by two parliamentarians (Mr Brewer, Goulburn and Mr George Freudenstein, Young), the Commissioner for the Main Road (Mr Thomas) and the divisional engineer (Mr J Anderson)."

The total cost of construction was $340,000 for the bridge ($175,000) and the approaches ($165,000). It was built by engineer Graham Robinson, he was assisted by Tom Horne and bridge foreman Norm Smith.

The new bridge replaced an old wooden low bride downstream which serviced the area since the turn of the century, before the advent of the local government in 1906.

On the day, Crookwell Shire president Max Picker said, "about the only thing it has in common with the new bridge is that they both cross the Lachlan River.

Cr Picker said two people who were living at the time - Sid Kensit and Mrs Wheelwright - could remember the building of the old bridge.

"For many years local people have agitated for a high-level crossing at Narrawa," he said.

"Eventually the money was made available, either by the commissioner in his wisdom, or by politicians under pressure (you can never tell which)."

An image from the Crookwell Gazette of the crowd gathered on September 21, 1973 at the opening of the Narrawa Bridge. Photo: Crookwell Gazette

An image from the Crookwell Gazette of the crowd gathered on September 21, 1973 at the opening of the Narrawa Bridge. Photo: Crookwell Gazette

Construction of the 146 metre (481 foot) composite concrete and reinforced steel bridge began in August 1970.

It remained unfinished due to delays, especially in the delivery of steel girders, which weighed 162 tonnes.

According to the article in the CrookwellGazette, many believed the bridge would not be finished.

Eventually, the council took on the task to finish the construction after unsuccessful attempts to interest external contractors with the remaining funds and the Department of Main Roads to finish the job.

"They say that anything worth having, is worth fighting for; well council has had a battle in completing this bridge, so I only hope it is appreciated for what it is worth by those who use it, and I'm sure it will be," Cr Picker said.