For whom the bridge tollsHistory

Back in 1881 the Nowra bridge was making news, just as it continues to do so today.An extract from The Telegraph and Shoalhaven Advertiser – Thursday, September 29, 1881

THIS magnificent and useful structure is hardly finished when we hear of reckless persons riding over it at such a pace as to create alarm and danger to orderly people whose business leads them over the bridge.

This wilful and culpable disregard for the feelings and safety of others who are not in the habit of offending in this way, may lead to a very undesirable result.

As we hear that it is proposed to levy a toll on the bridge, which it is stated is recommended as a means of checking the furious riding of the racing mono-maniacs already mentioned; as in the event of a toll being established a man or two would always be in attendance.

No doubt this would act as a deterrent to the conduct complained of, but it would also check traffic.

We are not going to discuss all the bearings of the question before we are quite certain as to what course the minister will adopt; but while other remedies for reckless riding, etc., are available, we ask, are we as a people to be manacled by one of the most obnoxious taxes that could possibly be devised?

Is this mill-stone to be put around our necks when so simple a remedy as proper notice boards, a free use of the provisions of the law, or numerous other remedies, may easily meet requirements?

But we must not complain before we are hurt; still we may look at possible results.

Every person will admit that it would be little short of a calamity to the district to impose a toll on the bridge.

We have scarcely become familiar with the free, and unrestricted intercourse of one side of Shoalhaven with the other; when, just as we have been freed from the inevitable annoyance of a ferry, we are to have nuisance repeated in a new form.

Though danger from reckless riding and driving, and also the careless driving of herds of cattle across the bridge, has already been discussed by the members of the local council, who but a short time ago suggested as a remedy that foot-ways; be constructed, as already provided for on the outskirts of the bridge.

As yet it is not known what reception this proposal has met with, or will meet with, at, the hands of the minister.

It is also in contemplation to petition the executive to extend to Nowra the operations of the Cattle Driving Act (16th Vic No.23), whereby it is provided that in towns where it is in force only milk cows and working bullocks may be driven between the hours of 8am and 6pm, for part of the road approach is part of the town.

There would even in this be some hardship and we commend to the good sense of those in charge of cattle the urgency of their endeavouring to prevent annoyance or danger in driving cattle over so as to obviate the necessity of applying this Act to the district as it would entail much loss of time and expense to themselves.

THE next general meeting of the Shoalhaven Historical Society will be held at 7.30pm on Monday, July 28 at Nowra Museum, corner of Kinghorne and Plunkett Street Nowra.

Special guest speaker for the evening will be Ian McKinnon.

Ian we be recounting some fascinating tales of his long and varied working life in the Shoalhaven.

By all accounts Ian is an excellent story teller and this is bound to be an entertainment and memory provoking presentation.

General meetings of the historical society are open to all members of the public with an interest in local history.

Likeminded souls are encouraged to come along and join the society for some history, a cuppa and good company.

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