Kiwi women were also building bridges
When four English engineers came to New Zealand in the late 1950s to help construct the Auckland Harbour Bridge, three of them found more than they bargained for.
Peter Loveys, now in his 70s, was one of the four and worked on the landmark structure for nearly two years.
He says three of them married New Zealand girls.
“We found the girls irresistible,” he laughs.
This month marks the Auckland Harbour Bridge’s 50th anniversary.
Mr Loveys still drives over the harbour bridge and has completed the bridge climb with his son.
He only drives over the centre lanes because they are part of the original bridge that he helped construct and his children call it dad’s bridge.
“It didn’t have the clip-ons in those days,” he says.
Mr Loveys came to Auckland from Sussex, England, when he was 22 to work on the bridge shortly after construction began in 1957.
He was in charge of pier four, with several piers over the span numbering from one on the North Shore side.
He tells of the big steel trusses which were built once the piers were complete.
“It was a big top heavy looking steel structure.”
Mr Loveys says in November 1958 a storm interrupted the process of floating a truss out into position.
“We had the anchors down but it was slipping, the wind was so strong.”
An Auckland tug, the William C Daldy, helped hold the steel structure still until the storm had passed.
Garth Harris was an en- gineering student when he worked on the bridge for six weeks in 1957 before being fired.
He was one of a group of workers to be fired after an industrial dispute, one of many disputes during the bridge’s construction. But he will be around for the 50th anniversary.
“For a bridge that has been around 50 years and been serviced, it is doing pretty well.”
Mr Loveys would like to see a celebration to mark the bridge’s anniversary but the New Zealand Transport Agency will be having low key celebrations, saying that difficult economic times mean spending outside of core responsibilities is limited.
Looking back: Peter Loveys remembers a storm which hit while engineers floated large steel trusses out into place to complete the bridge.