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Bridging community spirit

A SCULPTURE that commemorates the 1975 Tasman Bridge disaster was recently unveiled in Hobart.

The artwork memorialises the collision of the bulk carrier, Lake Illawarra, into the Tasman Bridge.

The sculpture was designed by Kelly Eijdenberg and Travis Tiddy of Poco People, created from Derwent Valley Engineering steel and endorsed by the Clarence City Council History Advisory Committee.

Mr Tiddy said there were many layers of the artwork that would help people form their own understanding of the disaster

“The first ring represents the actual impact of the disaster, the second ring embodies the long-term recovery and the third ring symbolizes the resilience of the community,” he said.

“As well as encompassing disaster, recovery and resilience, the rings also symbolises maritime in a sense, they represent the material used in the bridge, steel and concrete.

“For people standing directly in front of the work and canny enough to look through it, they will understand that there is a lens that the three rings present right onto the bridge where the impact occurred.

“There is an interpretation panel that provides a context for the work as we were aware of the sensitivity that accompanied the disaster story and the repercussions it had on the whole Tasmanian community.

“That sensitivity was paramount when developing the project as the artwork was still high-ended contemporary in nature but understood the emotion that was attached to the loss of 12 lives.”

Clarence City Council historical projects officer Alan Townsend said the project also aimed to capture the positive aspects of the experience.

“Certainly the collapse of the bridge was a disaster, however one common thing with all disasters is that usually something good will come out of them,” he said.

“Something good that came out of this is increased social cohesion and a sense of sociability, that is what our sculpture is trying to celebrate.

“As a community we pulled together and found a way to cope with this extraordinary event.”

The project was funded by the Clarence City Council and the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities under the Your Community Heritage program.

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