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Aftermath: the Tasman Bridge collapse: criminological and sociological observations

Australian Institute of Criminology

When on 5 January 1975 the coastal steamer Lake Illawarra collided with the Tasman Bridge, a crisis resulted which was quite unlike those due to fire, pestilence or famine in which there is considerable loss of life and devastation. In this case a city was suddenly cut in two and the resulting disorganisation was due to the destruction of the only direct means of communication between the two halves of the city, and a complete disruption of personal, community and occupational life.

The police force was intimately involved with the preservation of public order and in providing assistance. The situation also gave a unique opportunity to examine the development of the pattern of crime and offences and to study the adjustment made by the defaulters compared with the population in general. Such a research would have little value unless a wider sociological survey was also undertaken in conjunction with the criminological study.

I have to thank the various government departments who willingly participated in this program, the social agencies involved and the three co-authors who have produced the report on my behalf.

E.V. Knowles,
Commissioner of Police,

Cite article

Whelan J, Seaton E & Dax E 1976. Aftermath: the Tasman Bridge collapse: criminological and sociological observations. Archive. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/archive/aftermath-tasman-bridge