Warning: This article has an image of an Aboriginal elder, since deceased.
The new $18.6 million Lansdowne Bridge will open to traffic next Tuesday immediately following an official opening.
But the new concrete structure, almost two years under construction, will bear two names, the Roads and Maritime Service confirmed.
While Lansdowne Bridge will remain prominent, a second sign underneath will carry the name, 'Harold E (Boodge) Freeman Bridge.'
Mr Freeman was a well-known Wiradjuri elder in Goulburn up until his death in 2002. He was a founding member and chair of the Pejar Local Aboriginal Land Council (PLALC).
Daughter Delise Freeman, now the PLALC chief executive, said her father would have been happy with the naming.
"He would have been honoured and over the moon," she said.
Ms Freeman will deliver a speech at the opening, set down for 12.30pm to 3pm on Tuesday, August 27. The community is invited to the event, which will include Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman, Hume MP Angus Taylor, Mayor Bob Kirk and council representatives, among other guests.
Ms Freeman said the RMS first mentioned to the Land Council in 2006 during a site inspection that it was considering naming new bridges after Aboriginal people.
"We put forward Harold's name because he was a respected by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and our Land Council later endorsed it. But it was only this year that the RMS got into the (detail)," she said.
It's understood this was part of the Heritage Interpretation Strategy for the bridge and involved consultation with the Land Council, Goulburn and District Historical Society and the Office of Environment and Heritage.
Mayor Bob Kirk said the council wasn't consulted. Community members had questioned him over the name when initial signage appeared and was then removed.
"I wasn't able to answer those questions, which is not an appropriate way for us to be involved in the naming of places," he said.
Geographical Names Board approval isn't needed as the bridge will still carry the Lansdowne name.
Harold Freeman is also the grandfather of Cr Alfie Walker.
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Cr Walker said the naming was a "lovely honour" and a fitting continuation. Harold's maternal grandfather, Fred Freeman, also had a similar structure named after him at Muttama, near Coolac.
Cr Walker will perform the acknowledgement of country and a smoking ceremony at Tuesday's opening.
The ceremony comes after many years' planning to replace the former de Burgh Truss timber bridge across the Mulwaree Ponds. That structure was demolished in November, 2017 but had been closed in July, 2016 due to safety concerns. Motorists have "gone the long way around" ever since.
A RMS spokesman said the work was on budget.
"The new bridge is 83 metres long and largely constructed of reinforced concrete," he said.
"The project included upgrading about 400 metres of road approaches, which required large concrete retaining walls, a 200 metre realignment of Forbes Street and building about 300 metres of a 2.5 metre wide shared path."
Timbers from the old structure have been incorporated into heritage signs as part of the project. These will be unveiled at the open day.
Mayor Bob Kirk said the bridge was an "excellent outcome" completed with a "high degree of cooperation."
"We're absolutely pleased with the way it's provided a great new entrance in and out of the town on a popular route and that's overcome the bypass that locals have coped with so well...It will be very welcome," he said.
The mayor said the design, allowing for traffic passage around Lansdowne Estate and the 'Charlton' homestead and the open and clear flow on to Windellama Road, together with the Forbes Street T-intersection, had achieved everything the council wanted.
Meantime, Mrs Tuckerman said the new bridge would "reduce ongoing maintenance costs and provide a new asset fit for purpose for 100 years, including the provision of access for heavy vehicles."
"We thank the community for their patience while the bridge has been closed and during construction and hope they can take this opportunity to attend this event," she said.
The community is invited to walk across the structure.
Those attending can also purchase a barbecue lunch, provided by Goulburn Lions Club members.
People are asked to arrive from 12.30pm. Parking will be available at Goulburn Recreation Area (Gate 2) with access via Braidwood Road. There will be no access via Forbes Street.
There will be limited parking for those with restricted mobility.
- Light refreshments will be available and attendees are asked to register online for catering at rms.events/Lansdowne-bridge
Who was Harold 'Boodge' Freeman?
Delise Freeman remembers her father as a gentle man with a deep community involvement and care for people.
Harold Freeman was born in Kiama in 1925 and married Stella Little at Gundagai in 1950. The couple lived in many places, including Nimbo, Brungle, Harden Basin View and 22 years in Goulburn.
A 2002 Goulburn Post obituary described him as a "jack of all trades" who could turn his hand to anything. Mr Freeman worked on the Snowy Mountains scheme, on the railway, was a handyman and a qualified plumber. He was also a talented musician, playing almost every instrument, and was a member of the Goulburn Country Music Association.
Ms Freeman said her father was an ambassador for the advancement of Aboriginal people and a founding member and chair of the Pejar Local Aboriginal Land Council. He was a Jenolan Caves Reserve Trust board member, a recognised Wiradjuri elder, a member of the Council of Wiradjuri Elders and a member of the Council for Reconciliation.
He died in Goulburn on April 22, 2002 and was buried at Saint Patrick's Cemetery.
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