Fairfield Canoe Club
2019 Centenary Year

Yarra River Bridges - Chandler Highway Bridge - History Snippet 6

You have all seen this tag-line?

Have you ever wondered how it came about?

Talking recently to our FCC Life Member, Jon Mayne, I learned a little more of the events of this summer’s day!

 “It had been a week of rain, so at the weekend (when not at work) we grabbed a Canadian canoe, a can of paint and a brush, and the three of us paddled up to the bridge. As I had the best balance, I was given the task of reaching-up as high as I could. Having finished the job, I was greeted with “You silly bugger, it is 1963, not ’62 now”. So the ‘2’ was transformed into a ‘3’.”

Did you get into any trouble?  “No, nobody saw it”….(just generations of paddlers ever since, Jon!)

Who were his fellow taggers? 

Esther Howard was the daughter of Arthur Howard who has contributed so much to the preservation of FCC & Canoeing history in both word and photos. Ian Farmer was an excellent paddler and paddled K2 with Adrian Powell and after many successes in Murray Marathons went on to manage Australian Canoe Sprint Events.

What about ‘Grandpa’s Bridge’ you ask?

Yes Jon, what about Grandpa’s Bridge? 

“Well, I took my grandson, Matthew (now a Lieutenant in the RAN) for a paddle up to Grandpa’s Bridge when he was still a youngster. He asked. “Why is it called Grandpa’s Bridge?” I said. “You’ll see.”

On our return he rushed to his mother and exclaimed. “You won’t believe. Grandpa graffitied on the bridge!”

 And there is more………..

If you cast your gaze high-up on the Eastern pylon of the Chandler Highway bridge you will spot the name Grant Phillips, “he and his brother Bruce, ‘a mad pair’ ”. Grant was a sign-writer by trade, which explains why it was “such a neat job compared to mine”. This was painted in a big flood. Interestingly, “once the river breaks its banks the current’s not so strong but a bit difficult to get across the middle though”. 

As to how this graffiti was achieved, “They probably secured the boat with a hook onto something or someone paddled furiously upstream to hold the position”. It looks as if this was painted with some difficulty as an ‘i’ was left out of Phillips! Lower down is a better example of his “3D” signwriting and also mention of his brother Bruce “Defiance” Phillips.

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