Living in the Walter Taylor Bridge

Living in the Walter Taylor Bridge
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Australian Diary 77: New Australians Live in Unusual Home is a short program from the Film Australia Library.

Bridge toll-keeper George MacDougal and his wife live inside one of the two apartments in Brisbane's Walter Taylor Bridge. Opened in 1936, it was then known as the Indooroopilly Toll Bridge. The primary toll was sixpence (some vehicles were charged more) until it was removed in 1965.

Three generations of the bridge's original toll-master, Morton John Green, lived in the Indooroopilly pylon for more than 70 years. George and his wife, who was the sister-in-law of Morton's brother William Herbert Green, lived on the Chelmer side of the bridge.

The MacDougals also had a son called Robert, who worked shifts as a toll collector. William Green was Chair of the Board of Directors of the Indooroopilly Toll Bridge Pty Ltd. 

The narrator's comment about Mrs MacDougal serving her 'Lord and master' reveals the expected gender roles of 1950s Australia.

The bridge is the longest span suspension street in Australia. Interestingly it was built using support cables initially used in the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Used by about 35,000 cars a day, it remains the only habitable bridge in the Southern Hemisphere.

Filmed between 1947 and 1970, the Australian Diary series records how Australians have lived, worked and played over the years. Film Australia Collection © NFSA.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Updated in 2022 with thanks to Elaine Miles, one of Mort Green's grandchildren