Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Angle Vale Bridge opening 1876

Angle Vale Bridge
Samuel Dawkins junior brought McCord’s property in 1876, at the same time that the first Angle Vale Bridge was about to be built.  Apparently McCord had promised the Government the little piece of his land necessary for the road on the Gawler River side of the bridge to meet the Angle Vale road on the south side.

When the Government approached Sam regarding the piece of land, Sam suggested, ‘the deeds have not yet been made over to your, but I’ll give the land if you will pay for the transfer’.  The Government promised that it would but nothing was done about it.
The bridge was built at a cost of £2,800, although the estimated cost had been £3000.  An article in the daily paper, the Register, said it was ‘one of the few public works carried out for less than the estimated cost’.

Now the bridge stood ready to be opened but still the transfer of the deeds had not been paid for.  So Sam went down the day before the opening, and taking his shovel and crowbar dug a hole, put in a post and fenced off the piece of land which still belonged to him.
The next day was Wednesday, November 22nd and the official party comprising the Commissioner of Publish Works, the Honourable J. Cotton M.P; the Chief Secretary, the Honourable Sir Henry Ayers, M.L.C; the Honourable T. Hogarth, M.L.C; Mr Cavenagh, M.P; and Mr Bright, M.P came up from Adelaide to Angle Vale for the opening and following celebrations.

A triumphal Arch, adorned with evergreens and flowers, surmounted the bridge and under and around it had assembled a crown of about five hundred people.

As the first of her sex to be born in the neighbourhood, Miss Heaslip had been given ‘ the honourable duty of formally opening the bridge’.  She stood read with the bottle of wine to commence proceeding but there was Sam’s post in the middle of the roadway!

The stewards ran around in a panic conferring with the official party, while short, stocky, immovable Sam, looking nit unlike a strainer post himself, remained fixed on his piece of fenced off land regarding them with a steady gaze.

Finally, after a hast consultation amongst themselves, the stewards decided that there was nothing for it but to approach the determined landowner and make a further promise to pay for the transfer.

‘All right’, Sam told them. ‘You’ve promised in front of all these people as witnessed, so the post can come up’.

The stewards sighed with relief and rushed forward to take up the shovel and crow bar but Sam stopped them.

‘No’, he said holding up his hand. ‘I put the post in and I’ll take the post up’.

After that, Miss Heaslip broke the wine bottle on the stone worked of the bridge, the crowd cheered lustily and the bridge was declared open to traffic.  The Official part made speakers (at least thirteen) and games and feasting were enjoyed by all.

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