Home' Hunter Its People : Hunter-Glory Days June 2012 Contents Ph 4956 7732
Easy Parking • Biggest Range • Best Prices • Personal Service
Up to 2 Years Interest Free TAP
327 Lake Rd, Glendale (Take the Wallsend Exit off the F3)
Open 8.30am-5pm Mon to Fri 9am-4pm Sat & Sun
BBQs • HEATING • LAWN CARE • OUTDOOR FURNITURE
of Glory Days
The Glendale Warehouse established in 1983 is a family owned company
specialising in providing a comprehensive range of quality products.
We have a large selection of push mowers, ride-ons, edge trimmers and
all your other backyard toys. The latest and greatest BBQ's in town are
located between these walls. We also carry an extensive range of Rust
Free Outdoor Furniture.
We also have your home heating needs catered for carrying over 75
heaters on the ﬂoor in modern and classic styles. With wood heaters, gas
heaters, gas log ﬁres all available here.
One era begins, anOther ends
One era began with the opening of Stockton Bridge, but another ended with
the last voyages of Newcastle’s famous punts.
The last crossing of the harbour was left to the Lurgurena at 3.45 pm, but
the fagship of the vehicular ferries, Koondooloo, made a last sentimental
journey sailing up the harbour and under the new bridge.
On board were Stockton residents paying their last respects, schoolchildren
streaming toilet rolls from the top deck, camera enthusiasts and old-time
punt men, among them Jim Ireland, then 86 and the frst master of the
ferry when she arrived in Australia from Scotland in 1924, Joe Matterson,
then 73, who was the frst skipper of the harbour’s third ferry, the
Koorangabba, and Ted Hush, then 74, who had skippered them all.
The water route between Newcastle and Stockton had been the only one
available since a passenger rowboat service began in 1853, followed by
small paddlewheelers in 1869 and a cargo punt in the late 1880s.
According to The Car Punts Of Newcastle, a cyber book by Bill Bottomley
(www.billbottomley.com.au) the purpose-built vehicular ferry Mildred, the
frst vessel built at the state dockyard on Walsh Island, took over in 1916,
followed by the Kooroongaba in 1932 and the Lurgurena in 1945.
When Koondooloo joined the feet in 1952, it and Lurgurena ran the circuit
while Kooroongaba was the relief ferry, and that is how it stayed until the
runs ended with the opening of the bridge.
In 1970 the average daily fow on the punts was 4060 vehicles, and in 1971
on peak days nearly 5000 vehicles used the service, about 208 an hour,
around the clock.
The tale of the punts ended sadly, as they were sold and, joined by
the Sydney Harbour showboat Sydney Queen, they were towed out
of Newcastle on New Year’s Day, 1972, to go to the Philippines. The
Kooroongaba, however, sank in heavy seas off Crowdy Head while the
others ran aground near South West Rocks and were never salvaged.
Various bridge proposals were looked at, including one from Hunter St to
Stockton. A harbour tunnel was another suggestion. A third was a bridge across the
harbour entrance, from Nobbys to Stockton. All were rejected for “insurmountable
It was the islands reclaimation project (now Kooragang Island) that provided the
answer. The frst plan called for a bridge from Stockton to North Carrington, but
there were objections because this would interfere with shipping. The alternative
site was off Tourle St, Mayfeld.
The harbour committee took this plan to the state government in July, 1955, and
in early 1956 came acceptance. The Department of Main Roads initially looked at a
Kooragang-Stockton link by a two-lane bridge with a centre lifting span, but the fnal
design was for four lanes with a clearance above the shipping lane of 100 ft (30.4m).
Tenders were called for the Tourle St crossing in August, 1960, and the Tourle St
Bridge opened in early 1965, but another three years passed before tenders were
called for the Stockton Bridge.
In the months leading up to its opening the name of the bridge became an issue.
Newcastle Council was asked for a recommendation and consideration was given to
Endeavour – an early favourite because the previous year had been the bicentenary
of Captain Cook’s arrival – Shortland, Kooragang, Harold Hawkins (an MLA for
Newcastle for 33 years) and Stockton. The council fnally recommended Stockton in
April, 1971, because it was the name already in common use, and it was made offcial
on May 27 that year.
When the bridge fnally opened more than 100 cars drove across from the
Stockton side. By the time the eastbound lanes opened (about a quarter of an hour
later because barricades from the opening ceremony had to be cleared) there were
some 500 cars queued up.
Mr L Worley, of McMichael St, Maryville, had driven his family to the Stockton side
of the bridge by way of Hexham to be part of the historic opening, while the front car
in the other lane was driven by Mr J Fitzsimmons, of Croudace St, South Wallsend,
with three workmates.
On opening, the bridge was forecast to become one of the night sights of
Newcastle’s skyline because it was lit by the largest battery of high-pressure sodium
lights in NSW. The Herald reported the 179 lamps would give off a “golden glow”
twice as bright as conventional street lights, and General Electric, which supplied the
lamps, said the bridge could become known as “the golden bridge”.
As the bridge opened, the DMR vehicular ferries Koondooloo and Lurgurena made
their last runs across the harbour.
The last car to leave the Koondooloo was a 15-year-old grey Rover 90 driven by
Tony Earp, of Church St, Newcastle, who made the trip “just because it was the last”.
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