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A bridge between the past and present

Puckapunyal-based Army unit gets down to work at Australian Light Horse Memorial Park.

April 2, 2014 4:57am

Members of the Puckapunyal-based 22 Engineer regiment pulled the existing bridge down at the Australian Light Horse Memorial Park on Saturday, before setting to work building a new one. It is expected to be finished by Saturday.


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Captain Noel Tipton of the Royal Australian Engineers Reserves handed over a new foot bridge on Saturday to the committee of the Australian Light Horse Memorial Park.

The Bailey bridge project may be described as a bridge between the past and the present, the Royal Australian Engineers and the Seymour community, as well as being a bridge to further discovery of the park.

It is also a practical and tangible reminder that the park is about more than the Light Horse, it honours all those in the Australian Army who trained in the Seymour area from the early 1900s.

Constructing the Bailey bridge was seen as excellent training for the soldiers in the unit. After receiving approval from Mitchell Shire Council, it was arranged to build the bridge in March. Right on time the RAE team appeared, ready to start work.

Prior to that, members of the committee Bruce Anderson and Mal Lundberg, aided by John Dalziel, worked hard taking the old bridge apart, saving as much of the near pristine ironbark wood as possible. The stringers — the supports of the bridge — were made of forest timber from the Tallarook Ranges and were only fit to be disposed of because they were infested with white-ants.

All involved worked hard and with dedication to the success of the project, as can now be seen. The sense of pride in the bridge by all those involved was noteworthy.

Captain Noel Tipton oversaw the operation, and among those taking part in the exercise were Captain David Sondergeld, Lieutenant Nargiza Hakimova, WO1 Peter Stanneck, WO2 Ben Stevens, Sappers David Szalay, Peter Novacco, Ray Harkness, Duncan Keith, and Ian Larner from Tallarook, as well as site supervisor, Corporal John Emmery.

Committee president Greg Smith thanked the team for their excellent job and the thoroughly professional manner in which the whole operation was carried out.

The project will be completed with a plaque explaining the story of the Bailey bridge, the Royal Australian Engineers Corps, and this project, to be placed on a Bailey panel adjacent to the bridge. The completed project will stand as a fitting and lasting tribute to the RAE.

The bridge panels bear the date 1943, the year they were made. This may well be one of the last Bailey bridges constructed from original panels.

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