Monday, June 8, 2015

The Day London Bridge Collapsed

Bridges are not just structures that 'enable' us to traverse obstacles: they also serve as metaphors. They are a mark of mankind's development and civilisation, and have been since man first walked upon the earth.  I have it on good speculative authority that Adam had to build a bridge within a month of leaving Eden.

He probably got the idea of 'bridge' from the Nature that had been provided for his benefit.  

I was reminded by a lady who came into the Tavern the other day; a chap, (not Adam) she told us, was stranded when London Bridge fell down. Not the famous bridge in London but its natural namesake on the south-west coast of Victoria on the big Island to the north of us.

Victoria has a stunning coastline; varied, wild and long. The 'jewel in the crown' was once an inaccessible place until the soldiers who returned from WW1 were set the task of building The Great Ocean Road. It opened up and 'civilised' the region and has since allowed millions to enjoy its beauty.

The 12 Apostles are a feature of that landscape. A beach and sea-scape and cliff-scape. There nature has eroded the land to produce rock formations of outstanding beauty.  Not, of course, that it looked like that in eons past, as eons have a way of changing both landscapes and civilisations. 

Big lumps and towers of rock are not what they once were. They used to be attached to the land but the sea eroded them through.  What were headlands became eroded through to form bridges and the most famous one along that coast was London Bridge.

'Twas many years ago, just over 25 in fact, that not quite so old King Amfortas the Tavern-Keeper took his Queen on a trip to see the Whales. (That was back when there was a queen you understand.  She has long since left the Palace we shared. 'Twas before the Tavern). 

I knew of a spot where one could take a helicopter out to see the whales much closer-up than from the whale watching spots on-shore.

On the way back we stopped to look out over London Bridge and contemplated walking out upon it to its seaward edge. But time was pressing and so we left after a cuppa and a short stroll. 

Two hours later it fell down.

Whew !

Not so fortunate was the chap who was stranded: Dave Darrington. He was on it at the time. But fortune did not desert him entirely and he did not crash down to the seas below along with the several thousand tons of rock.

Margaret Burin told us about it.

25 years since London Bridge came falling down

One well known children's nursery rhyme refers to the damaged structure across the River Thames in London.

The London Bridge, an appropriately named tourist site at Port Campbell on the south-west Victorian coast, fell while Dave Darrington and his cousin were standing on it.

"I thought I saw a little bit fall off and then a little bit more fell off," he said.

"And then all of a sudden the whole lot just fell down in front of our eyes."

Mr Darrington recalls hearing a huge crack as thousands of tonnes of rock plummeted into the ocean, separating them from the mainland.
"It was like a big old tree falling - just a massive crack," he said.
"We were just waiting for a splash to wash us off but thank goodness the wind was going the other way."
Shortly after, other visitors noticed the pair on the newly formed island.
It was three hours before they were airlifted by helicopter to safety.
Now a tour guide in Kakadu National Park, Mr Darrington re-visited the site for the first time in 2013 as part of a documentary filmed by National Geographic.
He says it is incredible to be a part of the Great Ocean Road's history.
"To see it 24 years later was absolutely amazing," he said.
Now, another arch threatens collapse

For thousands of years, the limestone and sandstone cliffs along this coastline have been shifting.

One of Victoria's most popular scenic views, the Twelve Apostles, was permanently altered in 2005 when a 45 metre stack near the visitor platform collapsed.

Five years ago, one of nearby Three Sisters formations crumbled away.

Darren Shiell is part of a team of Parks Victoria rangers that monitors coastal erosion along the Shipwreck Coast.

He says another popular natural formation is at risk of caving in.

"In the last few months at the site that's known as The Arch, a chunk of rock has fallen away from the cliff-face into the ocean," he said.
"It's probably not going to be too much longer before the arch itself perhaps collapses."
While the changing shape of these wave-sculpted cliffs largely comes down to nature, Parks Victoria is part of a master plan to address human impacts along the Great Ocean Road.
In partnership with Corangamite Shire, Moyne Shire and Tourism Victoria, the project is looking at a long-term plan to protect the 28km stretch of coast from Princetown to Boat Bay, as well as enhancing the local economy through sustainable tourism.
Mr Shiell says the master plan proposes shifting some car parks and viewing platforms away from the cliff-face, including the visitor area at Gibson Steps.
"It's quite a popular site and it's quite a small car park and it's right on the edge of the coast," he said.
The proposal also suggests new trails and upgraded look-outs - including at London Bridge - to meet the expectations of foreign visitors.
As I said, bridges are natural, man-made and metaphorical.  The man-made are metaphors for civilisation.

Adam was stranded and mankind along with him. Christ became a bridge for us and upon Him we were able to change the landscape of 'civilisation'. 

We were doing quite well with His help, defying the forces of the eroding tides and storms. We had found a certain Freedom, even a little Justice amid the tribulations. And a Way to forgiveness. But....

But now the sea of corruption threatens to cause our civilisation to collapse. 

That civilisation is made not of Rock but of sandstone and limestone. The limestone is the crushed bones of millions of our ancestors who have struggled against the darkness, the storms, the corruptions of the soul. They built what we enjoy ... and are so easily letting slip through our fingers like sand.

Erode a our civil world a little bit here, a little bit there: a same-sex marriage impost, bakers and florists fined and bankrupted: an abortion-on-demand law leading to millions of babies a year being killed for 'lifestyle' reasons, and doctors and nurses who refuse to kill a baby in the womb and anyone else speaking out in a 'bubble-zone' get fined $9750 and get a year in jail: single parents (that is, mothers mainly) raising waving and foaming and twerking kids throwing stones and molotov cocktails and looting stores: and all of a sudden..... collapse

It will be sudden, quick and devastating when our civilisation falls. 

Soon there will just be a few Towers on the beach.  The Church is one such. Perhaps it will soon be the only one left.  It is after all the only part of our civilisation that was established on a Rock.

Make sure you are on it. 

The seas have marauding pirates. Just as once were on the Barbary Coast. Fall in and they will not rescue you.

It is time for some more Apostles.

Drink deep of Grace, not sea water.



  1. The ever changing coastline is beautiful :-)

    Your personal story is what I refer to as one of my 'strange co-incidences' when that sort of thing happens to me. There is a message and something to reflect upon. Sometimes I understand at the time and sometimes it takes a few years and a few more experiences for me to understand.

    I see them as 'spiritual' messages... (my words are clunky, but I hope you know what I mean).

    I like your metaphor that bridges the metaphysical and the physical ;-)

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Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..