The old Rustin' ruston at Gada Bridge (Part Three) ... by Rachel Borg

Friday, November 10, 2017

For those who are not aware, the Pitcairners re-settled here on Norfolk in 1856, bringing some of their laws with them; while others were soon to be added not long afterwards, hence to law of fornication.  As to the name of the bridge; Bishop George Selwyn went on to relocate the Melanesian Mission headquarters from Auckland to Norfolk Island, following a free grant of land in 1866 by Sir John Young, the Governor of New South Wales; which was supplemented by the purchase of further land.  The area of land on which the Mission was established and operated until the early 1920s occupied over 400 hectares extending in the direction of Anson Bay, some distance inland, and out towards Headstone.  During that period the relationship between the two communities, was like any marriage, had its ups and downs but was generally a good working partnership.  Today the most impressive and visible remnant of the Melanesian Mission days is of course the magnificent St Barnabas Chapel. 

That all having been laid down as our reference point, I have to admit to secretly wondering just what the ‘saintly’ Bishop Selwyn would have thought about having a bridge built and named in his honour by men who had committed the most ‘unsaintly’ crime of fornication.  We can only now hope that he had a reasonable sense of humour as he looked down from his saintliness upon the unfolding scene.  A wicked sense of humour you see is one of those things that Islanders have never been particularly short of, and very soon this bridge of sin had earned itself the new and somewhat irreverent name ‘Gada Bridge’.  ‘Gada’ is a very old Norf’kword and in ‘Speak Norfolk Today’ it is glossed thus:-

gada (gLdLn. 1. full green bananas.  2. Coition

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