Posted by: mwestby July 5, 2021

In June 2021, we had the pleasure of welcoming Hay local primary school to our Matthews Bridge Replacement project in Maude. Over 30 children and several teachers joined us onsite for a day filled with learning about the built environment, Matthews Bridge construction, and to show the children the second girder installation.

Experienced Regional Team

The team, Balwanth Kondakindi, William (Billy) Coady, and Ben Hagens, who also delivered the Camp Street Bridge Replacement in Forbes, NSW, are delivering the replacement bridge to help improve freight movements across rural and regional NSW.

Balwanth and Ben have been living in the community since December 2020 and over the course of construction become somewhat locals themselves.

Hay Local School

The children,  levels ranging from K1 to K6, are currently learning about local history, the built environment, governmental funding, flood management, and leadership at different levels. A school excursion to the Matthews Bridge Replacement project presented a great hands-on learning opportunity.

Balwanth with the children


Safety Induction

The day started with Rod Johnson, Abergeldie Safety Advisor delivering a safety talk to the children. During their visit, large girders would be transported on the main road and a large crane would be lifting them in place. Safety was  our first priority.

Q/A Session with Billy and Balwanth

Project Manager, Billy, and Project Engineer, Balwanth provided a short overview of the Matthews Bridge construction and opened the floor for questions. There were a lot of great questions from the children and the team did an excellent job in responding in a way that they could understand.

Q: “How does concrete work?”

A: “A lot like jelly”

Hay School children listening to Abergeeldie presentation

Girder Lift and Installation 

The Supervisors onsite, Ben and Daniel McPherson kept the team up to date on the progress. Once the girders were ready to be lifted into place, Ben directed the team to bring the children to the existing bridge for the best possible view. Rod, Balwanth, and Billy safely escorted the children and teachers across to see it up-close.

Maude and Hay locals also joined watching the girder installation on the existing bridge. Our team had quite the audience.

Ben Hagens safely transporting the girder in front of the Hay school children

The Children at the Matthews Bridge

Children at the Matthews Bridge School Excursion running

Barbeque and Abergeldie Memorabilia

The  team has had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Lesley, a Maude local who manages the store and post office. Since the beginning of construction, Lesley has been feeding our crews homemade soups and fresh sandwiches. It was only natural to ask if she would be available to cater for a barbeque. Lesley and Balwanth extended the invitation to join the barbeque lunch to the rest of the Maude community.

After finishing lunch, Balwanth and Rod handed the children small Abergeldie token bags with post-it notes andRod and Balwanth handing the school children Abergeldie gifts pens.

Feedback from the School

“…what a wonderful learning experience the Abergeldie team provided for our whole school during our visit to the new Maude bridge last Thursday. The Abergeldie team was simply wonderful with our staff and children, really speaking to the children at a level that was easy for them to understand and taking an active interest in them, patiently answering all their questions. … it was truly a day of ‘history in the making.”


Posted by: mwestby July 4, 2021

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

NAIDOC Week is held between 4 and 11 July each year. NAIDOC 2021 theme is ‘Heal Country!’ – This year’s theme is Heal Country! to encapsulate how Country is inherent to our identity and to encourage the embrace of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ knowledge of the land to physically, socially, emotionally and culturally heal the country.

NAIDOC 2021 invites all Australians to embrace First Nation’s knowledge and understanding of Country.

What Does NAIDOC Mean?

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. Its name can be traced back to the early 1920s and the emergence of Aboriginal groups seeking to raise awareness about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ status and treatment in Australia. Today, the committee comprised of volunteers and is called National NAIDOC Committee (NNC).

A Short History of NAIDOC

NAIDOC week originates from The Day of Mourning, a protest first held on 26 January 1938 on the 150th anniversary of the first fleet marking the beginning of colonisation. The protest is considered to be one of the world’s first civil rights.

Between 1940 and 1955, The Day of Mourning was held annually on the Sunday before 26 January as an avowal for First Nation’s people to mourn the loss of their Country, freedom, self-determination, and the deaths of their kin. In 1955, The Day Mourning was moved to the first Sunday in July and by then widely known as Aborigines Day celebrating Aboriginal culture.

In 1956, National Aborigines Day Observance Committee (NADOC) was formed. Due to the growing awareness and distinct cultural histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the committee became known as National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) in the early nineties shaping NAIDOC as we know it today.

NAIDOC became a week-long event in 1975, stretching from the first Sunday in July until the second.

How you can contribute

Each July, Australia celebrates the history, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through organising online and in-person events. There are a number of ways in which you can get involved and support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and help contribute to building a more reconciled nation for all Australians.