Bridge to Nowhere

  • location icon Main Road Port Pirie SA 5540


Discussions started in 1937 to build a bridge extending across Pirie River but it wasnt until 1975 that political tensions forced the State Government's hand. It was officially opened in 1980 as the John Pirie Bridge but has always been affectionately known as the Bridge to Nowhere.

Smelter worker and unionist Ted Connelly won the local seat of Parliament as an independent member. In a bid to unsettle Connelly during the election period, Don Dunstan (who became Premier) came to Port Pirie to support his Party candidate and publicly treated Connelly with disdain and contempt. After the election, Dunstan was forced to backtrack as Connelly won the seat but more importantly, the balance of power.

Connelly asked the Government for two things in return for his support -one was building the John Pirie Bridge. The bridge included more than 20 telephone lines underneath with the intention of connecting to industrial development on the east of Pirie River. This development did not happen, leading to the moniker of Bridge to Nowhere.

Today, a walk or drive over the Bridge to Nowhere offers a stunning view over the city of Port Pirie and Nyrstar Smelter (particularly at night). It is a popular water skiing beach and the mangroves support a range of fish and birdlife.

Listen to audio commentary about the Bridge to Nowhere!


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