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Interview with Tommy Watson about the West Gate Bridge collapse

Today I interviewed Tommy Watson. Tommy was working on the West Gate Bridge on the day of its collapse on 15 October 1970. He spoke with me about how the collapse and its aftermath shaped the direction of his life and career.

Tommy has had a number of leadership roles in the unions since that tragedy, his first as a 

A section of the West Gate Bridge where bolt removal was taking place at the time of the collapse

union official with the Federated Ironworkers Association and his final as Assistant Secretary of the Construction and General Division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Victorian Branch. 

In preparation for the interview I read the book West Gate by Bill Hitchings, a journalist who covered the events of the West Gate Bridge collapse and the subsequent Royal Commission. I also visited the West Gate Garden at Monash University, which contains pieces of the collapsed section of the West Gate Bridge.

The West Gate Bridge Memorial website is a very good source of information about the collapse and its aftermath (www.westgatebridge.org).

Section of the inner web that buckled when the bridge collapsed


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