Kennedy Bridge 120th anniversary

Kennedy Bridge
Kennedy Bridge in 1911. Source: State Library of Queensland

The Kennedy Bridge in Bundaberg is 120 years old today, having been opened on 25 November 1899 amid “pomp and circumstance”.

The Bundaberg Mail and Burnett Advertiser reported the significant civic event as an “imposing function” with important speeches.

“The structure was lavishly decorated with bunting and presented a particularly gay appearance,” the newspaper reported.

The Minister for Works, John Murray, travelled from Brisbane by special train to officially open the bridge.

“Punctually at 11am the president of the Kennedy Bridge Board (Mr Fred Colman) advanced to near the ribbons and in a few well-chosen words called upon Mr Murray to perform the opening ceremony.”

Kennedy Bridge joins Bourbong Street and Bourbong Street East over Saltwater Creek and is nearly 49 metres long.

Kennedy Bridge plaque
The Kennedy Bridge memorial plaque was unveiled on 25 November 1899.

At the opening, Mr Murray commented about the delay in construction, which he said was caused by the shipwreck of the Loch Fergus near Dublin on its voyage from Glasgow.

A formal banquet was held after the ceremony to celebrate the completion.

Mr Colman proposed a toast to Her Majesty the Queen, while Mayor Robert Totten proposed a toast to the Minister.

The bridge was named after the Governor of Queensland, Arthur Kennedy.

Along with the Burnett Bridge and the Victoria Bridge in Brisbane, it was designed by engineer and Government Architect, Alfred Barton Brady.

Kennedy Bridge was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.

Kennedy Bridge opening
How the opening of the Kennedy Bridge was reported in the The Bundaberg Mail and Burnett Advertiser in 1899.
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  1. Nothing said about the very first bridge. There apparently was no flag for that opening ceremony so some lovely lady took up the challenge of hand making a flag. Mrs Flint made the Union Jack as there was not one in the town, the year I believe was 1879. It was recorded that she had said if she had any idea of the difficulties, she would not have taken that job on. Later on, Mrs Flint took on many valued tasks in her long life of serving the town. I wonder if at the banquet they served the delicacy of turtle soup, something early Bundaberg had gained a reputation for, and guess where the turtles came from!

  2. Were two leftover spans from the traffic bridge used on the Kennedy Bridge? I thought I read that somewhere.
    As for Turtle Soup, my grandfather was involved in a business trying to sell tins of it. My aunt recounts the story in her ‘Reminiscences’. When the business failed, the family had a supply that kept them going for a while.

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