The Jim Murphy Bridge

by The Editor

Not shy of shooting from the hip, The Canberran was especially motivated to whip out a quick post this morning having seen the above tweet within our morning feed.

What the actual f…?

Jim Murphy

Certainly we were aware Mr Murphy was a Raiders fan, a member of The Liberal Party and had a vested interest in promoting the local business community. Doubtless Mr Murphy was a high profile Canberran who is remembered most for awkward commercials flogging an extra magnum of McGuigan wine you could only give away. As we quickly researched his life for this morning’s post we discovered a few other details: particularly he was a Catholic – perhaps the surname Murphy might have made that obvious. We imagine it was involvement in this part of Canberra’s religious community that led the our Chief Minister to make the following statement at yesterday’s dedication.

“Jim Murphy made a significant contribution to our community and was a strong advocate of Canberra and I am honoured to be able to name this bridge to remember Mr Murphy’s legacy for many years to come.”

and…

“Jim Murphy also had a key role in developing awareness of charities, and the development of local sport and the church. Through all these aspects of his life, Jim Murphy helped raise the national and international profile of Canberra.

Mr Murphy hit his straps during the heady days of the Carnell Chief Ministership. It was a time when it seemed the they would attend the opening of an envelope – often at the same time and leading to all sorts of rumours as to the true nature of their relationship. Speaking of such things, had Mr Murphy retrieved our current Chief Minister from a drink driving crash on Lake George he might have got an entire suburb…

…naturally, that’s all speculation.

On a more serious note, the underlying question surrounds the way we determine monuments in our city and the public perceptions of what are undoubtedly well-considered decisions. Having spent an extended period in the capital, even we were taken aback when we saw Mark Parton’s tweet. Certainly street names are decided with little contention, allowing for locals and members of the broader Australian community to be commemorated (yes, you must be dead to get a street named after you). The suitability of namesakes for suburbs, major arterials, bridges and parks in Canberra is likely to come under greater scrutiny – such landmarks are worthy of those who contribute to the entire nation.

Our ignorance of Mr Murphy’s philanthropic works is almost absolute – but certainly wish not to dismiss them, nor suggest they did not occur. Certainly they may have been significant enough to contribute to the decision to name a bridge after the big fella. If you have any tales of encounters of the larger-than-life Jim Murphy we’d love to know. Please feel free to inform us via the comments, and help to enlighten us and our readers who remember Mr Murphy mostly as a large, ruddy-cheeked man who appeared in 30 second bursts during the footy coverage.

With that in mind, just hope we never have to witness Tom Waterhouse Avenue.

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