Bridge renamed in honour of local family to help emergency services

MILESTONE: Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan with John, Mary and Seamus Haugh, part of the Ellis family for whom the bridge is named.

MILESTONE: Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan with John, Mary and Seamus Haugh, part of the Ellis family for whom the bridge is named.

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A BRIDGE in Huntly has gained a new name that will not only honour local history, but help emergency services get to where they are needed quickly.

The rail bridge on the Huntly-Fosterville Road has been christened Ellis Bridge, a nod to a local family with long ties to the area.

The bridge was the first of 40 across the state to be renamed after being identified by VicTrack as high risk for being in a bushfire or flood-prone area.

By naming the bridges, it is envisaged emergency service workers and community members will be able to more quickly and accurately identify locations, meaning help in times of emergency will reach those in need faster.

SES north west region assistant chief officer Mark Cattell said the ability to identify locations was “vitally important” for the work of the service.

He said seconds could make all the difference in emergency situations such as vehicle collisions, and if people were able to easily pinpoint where they were, it would help emergency service workers undertake their work.

Mary Haugh was the community member who put forward the ultimately successful name of Ellis Bridge.

It was one of 63 nominations VicTrack received, but garnered the most support when it was shortlisted and put to community vote.

Mrs Haugh wanted to honour her family, particularly her great-grandparents Pascoe and Catherine Ellis, who she described as pioneers in the Huntly community.

But she considered the naming of the bridge a recognition of all the pioneers of the area and described the occasion as “very exciting”.

Pascoe migrated to central Victoria from Cornwall, England in the mid-1800s before meeting Catherine, who came from County Clare in Ireland.

Several of their descendants still live in the area.

Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the community responded “really strongly” to the opportunity to rename the bridge.

“It really does recognise a really strong family connection to the local community that continues clearly today,” Ms Allan said.

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