Jumping off the bridge: Irresponsible or good clean fun?

BRUNSWICK Heads loves its bridge jump.

Leaping off the South Beach Road bridge over Simpson's Creek is seen by locals and visitors alike as one of the town's Simple Pleasures, a rite-o-passage even.

The bridge was completed in 1937 and despite the obvious risks almost every day people have headed to the centre, often dodging the traffic, to take the 3-4m drop into the usually crystal clear waters below.

Meanwhile the nearby pedestrian footbridge, a rustic beauty from a bygone era, is semi-shrouded in shade cloth after a toddler took a tumble off the bridge last September, slipping under the lower rail of the fence.

The shade cloth is an interim measure and council has engaged a local contractor to do some work on the footbridge to improve safety.

This is all separate to the incident last December involving a 20-year-old mother-of-three sustaining spinal injuries after jumping off the old highway bridge at Brunswick Heads.

JUMP: Taking the leap off the South Beach Road Bridge into Simpson's Creek below.
JUMP: Taking the leap off the South Beach Road Bridge into Simpson's Creek below. Christian Morrow

An innocent comment on the the Brunswick Heads Community Page about the dangers of jumping off the bridge over Simpson's Creek has touched of a fire storm of commentary.

Some agree with Linda Hibberd who cautioned: "Jumping off the old wooden Bruns Bridge is an age old bit of holiday fun and indeed a simple pleasure, however I am in no way condoning it. It can be a very dangerous bit of fun."

Others like Krystal Newell embraced the idea of risk and the 'old-fashioned fun' that was to be had taking the leap: "It wouldn't be Brunz without being able to jump of the bridge," she wrote.

"I've been doin' it over 30 years, my parents done it, my siblings done it, now my children and nieces and nephews do it, but hey why not get rid of another piece of the old Brunz all the locals know and love, it's getting ridiculous."

Others pointed out the dangers of divers holding up traffic or getting oyster cuts when they clambered out over the rocks not to mention the risks of diving or jumping into the shallow water.

Most in favour of the bridge jump cited the need for those doing it to take personal responsibility in assessing the risk.

JUMP: Taking the leap off the South Beach Road Bridge into Simpson's Creek below.
JUMP: Taking the leap off the South Beach Road Bridge into Simpson's Creek below. Christian Morrow

They see the jump as a bit of good old fashioned fun that should be able to continue and not get taken away by the so called, "fun police".

Currently the pedestrian footbridge, a rustic beauty from a bygone era, is semi-shrouded in shade cloth after a toddler took a tumble off the bridge, slipping under the lower rail of the fence.

Byron Shire Council said it was, "aware that on 29 September 2017 a child fell off the footbridge at Brunswick Heads and into the water below."

"The child was not injured and the parent contacted Council to let us know what had happened," a spokesman said.  

"Vertical timber batons, in keeping with the look of the bridge, will be installed after the school holidays.

"The bridge will be closed to pedestrian traffic whilst this work is undertaken.

"In the past some people have contacted Council with concerns about safety issues on the bridge, particularly for children."


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