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On the 15th of October 1970, a span of the West Gate Bridge suddenly collapsed. Thirty-five men were killed and many others were injured. The collapse was, and still is, the greatest loss of life in Victoria due to an industrial accident.
A Royal Commission to investigate the failure of the bridge was called within a short time of the disaster. The commission was chaired by Justice Barber of the Supreme Court. Of the 24 Counsel assisting or appearing before the Royal Commission, 16 of them would proceed to the bench and become a judge.
An Exhibition to mark this anniversary has been installed in the Supreme Court Library, including newspaper reports of the day. The Library’s copy of the report and transcript were the personal copies of Chief Justice Young and Justice Barry Beach. Both judges appeared as counsel before the Commission.
Other places to explore this history are at the Public Record Office website https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/online-galleries-and-exhibitions/west-gate-bridge-collapse or news footage at the ABC website http://www.abc.net.au/archives/80days/stories/2012/01/19/3411538.htm or read the full report here.
The exhibition will be in the library until the middle of the year.