Northam's Suspension Bridge Shares the Limelight

published on Wednesday, 18 August 2021 at 4:27:58 PM

The longest pedestrian suspension bridge in Australia that spans the Avon River in Northam has received a spectacular upgrade as part of a unique activation project.

Thanks to RAC’s Reconnect WA initiative, the Shire of Northam was able to breathe new life into the treasured suspension bridge with the installation of over 1200 lights that can be programmed with interactive sequences to make the space more inviting and engaging, increase the feeling of personal security of users and to encourage people to linger in this incredible place.

The lights were officially launched as the centre-piece of the Northam Bilya Festival on Friday August 13th which celebrates the beginning of the Avon Descent.  Shire President Cr Chris Antonio, and RAC’s A/General Manager, Social Impact, Sarah Macaulay, performed the honours as part of a cultural ceremony focussed around the importance of the river.

Ballardong Elder Deborah Moody led a Welcome to Country and Avon Descent race and river blessing. After the lights were turned on the community was invited to throw a handful of sand into the river from the bridge. The Throwing of Sand is a cultural practice symbolising the showing of respect to the Waugal.

Also as part of the project the gardens around the Bilya Koort Boodja Centre were activated with a number of art installations including a Nyoongar sand painting, bush food plantings and a full line up of Aboriginal performances.

The suspension bridge lights can be viewed at dawn and evenings daily with the programming and colours changing with the six seasons and significant dates. The cultural stories can be read on the bridge at any time.

The Northam Suspension Bridge Precinct Activation project was made possible through the generous support of RAC’s Reconnect WA initiative which aims to create vibrant streets and public spaces for Western Australians to interact and connect with each other.

RAC Group Executive Social and Community Impact Patrick Walker said RAC is proud to support new ideas and projects which bring our public spaces to life.

“We are very excited to partner with the Shire of Northam through our Reconnect WA initiative to transform the Avon River crossing into a meaningful and cultural community experience.

“The Northam Suspension Bridge Precinct Activation Project will not only bring more colour and vibrancy to the local area, but the 1,200 lights installed along the suspension bridge will make it safer for locals and visitors to cross.

“This project is a great example of trialling new and innovative ways to use our public spaces, and we hope this will help lay the foundations for longer-term changes which support sustainable and connected communities.”

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