Ian Roberts, Robin Gipp, Melissa Hayes and Robert Cook of South Grafton Progress Association are organising a medal to commemorate the new bridge.
Ian Roberts, Robin Gipp, Melissa Hayes and Robert Cook of South Grafton Progress Association are organising a medal to commemorate the new bridge. Adam Hourigan

Valley residents to get a piece of Grafton bridge history

HISTORY is certainly not lost on one South Grafton group who want to make the opening of the new Grafton bridge extra special.

The South Grafton Progress Association have revealed they will be commissioning a series of limited edition medals to mark the opening of the bridge later in the year.

A medal was forged at the opening of the original bridge in 1932 and SGPA vice-president Ian Roberts said they wanted to mark the special occasion in a similar fashion.

"We felt it was an opportunity too good to miss,” he said.

"It was a chance to replicate the things that have occurred before - both bridges are unique.”

The 2000 medals were already being minted and had been paid for by donations from a number of local businesses and all proceeds from the sale of the medals would go to local charities.

"We want to instil on people it is not for profit. We are not doing it for money we are doing it wholly and solely for the charity of the Valley,” SGPA president Robin Gipp said.

"The second bridge is a big thing for Grafton. I have been here for 62 years and there has been a bridge talked about in all that time.

"We have been promised it every change of government and now it is here.”

Aside from their announcement of a commemorative medal, the association was putting a call out for community members to come forward with stories and photos of the old bridge, particularly anyone who was at the opening.

"We are on the lookout - we want stories, we want people and we want memorabilia,” Mr Roberts said.

They were especially keen to find one of the original medals, as the only reference they had of them was an old photograph.

Already they had been in touch with a number of people who were at the opening in 1932, one of which was looking to make the trip from Dubbo to be at the opening of the new bridge nearly 90 years later.

"She was the mayors daughter and handed the gloves to Sir Isaac Isaacs so that he could put them on and cut the ribbon,” Mr Roberts said.



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