Wayne recalls a tough job in trying conditions

MAKING HISTORY: Wayne McCall remembers helping build the northbound Nowra bridge.

MAKING HISTORY: Wayne McCall remembers helping build the northbound Nowra bridge.

WAYNE McCall has a unique connection to the northbound Nowra bridge. He helped build it.

He grew up on Bridge Road, only a couple of hundred metres away.

Now living in Terara he remembers how driving across the bridge for the first time felt pretty special.

Mr McCall was a formwork carpenter on the bridge.

“I was a chippy on the bridge for a bit over a year,” he said.

“It was an amazing thing to work on.

“We worked six days a week, every Saturday, every week.

“I can remember in winter it was freezing with that westerly wind howling down the river. 

“Then in summer up on the deck it was really hot. That was back before occupational health and safety was a big thing. 

“There were times on hot days we would take off our tool belts and drop down between the two bridges into the water for a swim.”

During the school holidays the old bridge would become gridlocked and Mr McCall said he and the other bridge builders would chat to the people stuck in their cars in traffic on the old bridge.

One of his first jobs in the Shoalhaven was working on Tallowa Dam in Kangaroo Valley when he was about 17. 

“There were some real characters from all around the world on that job,” he said.

“A few of those characters ended up working on the Nowra bridge.

“I learnt a lot about the world and about different nationalities and customs through them.”

Send your bridge memories to adam.wright@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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