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Disaster at West Gate: the West Gate Bridge Collapse of 1970

Wreckage of the collapse from ground level VPRS 24/P3 Inquest Deposition Files, unit 120

The Disaster

Eyewitness Accounts

Sketch of the bridge’s construction from the technical committee’s report VPRS 24/P3 Inquest Deposition Files, unit 120

Technical Committee

Front cover of the royal commission report VPRS 2591/P0 Transcript of Proceedings, unit 14

Royal Commission

These pages explore Victoria’s worst-ever industrial accident, the collapse of the partially completed West Gate Bridge, through official records held by Public Record Office Victoria. The reconstructed bridge was completed in 1978.

This story of the disaster is told using records held at Public Record Office Victoria: extracts from the royal commission’s report, coronial inquest papers and photographic collections. Other resources have also been gathered with the assistance of VicRoads.

The public record documents both the triumphs and tragedies in Victoria’s past. Whilst we now celebrate the West Gate Bridge as one of the state’s most impressive icons, we reflect upon the events of 1970 to pay tribute to those that lost their lives.

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