Friday, 8 April 2016

Other war memorial bridges

This is what I found when I went on a hunt for other World War One memorial bridges.

There is the memorial bridge across Sulphur Lake in the Government Gardens, Rotorua. This was officially dedicated on 5 August 2014 to mark the start of World War One centenary commemorations in the city. It looks like a really nice bridge (recycled and rebuilt from an earlier footbridge across the Utuhina Stream) but I was looking for a bridge that was built during or soon after World War One (The plaque on the Kaiparoro Bridge says it was "designed and built in 1922".)

The Memorial Bridge - Kete Rotorua
Credit: Kete Rotorua

There is the Edith Cavell Bridge across the Shotover River, near Queenstown. 

Edith Cavell bridge - Ministry for Culture and Heritage
Credit: Jock Phillips; New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu Taonga

This bridge was built between 1917 and 1919, so it was more the age I was looking for, but according to Te ara, it is an "unofficial" war memorial:

"When the concrete parabolic arch bridge was completed, an old miner, Jack Clark, suggested that it be named after Edith Cavell, a British nurse who had been executed in Brussels in 1915. The suggestion was not accepted, but Clark painted the name on the new structure anyway. By the time the paint wore off, the name had stuck and an informal war memorial had been created."

So that wasn't quite what I wanted, either, because it was an unofficial memorial and although it certainly remembers an extraordinary person, it wasn't anyone from the local district. 
Next I looked at the Bridge of Remembrance in Christchurch. 

Bridge of Remembrance - Christchurch City Libraries
Photo by Donna Robertson, from the collection of Christchurch City Libraries

This was opened on Armistice Day,11 November 1924, but sadly, many of the photographs of it in recent years serve as a record and reminder of the Christchurch earthquakes. The Christchurch City Libraries site says that it replaced an earlier bridge "over which many thousands of soldiers marched en route from King Edwards barracks to the railways station and overseas service". 

The Bridge of Remembrance is an impressive structure and full of history, but I realised by now that what I was really looking for was a war memorial bridge that was closely connected with a smaller, rural community.  

So I decided to start looking overseas. 

No comments:

Post a Comment