A charming European tradition finds its way to Melbourne. It all started in Rome about ten – thirteen years ago. Lovers inspired by a famous Italian novel began placing padlocks on the railing of the Ponte Milvio bridge. The couples then threw their keys into the waters of Tiber river.
The so called love locks quickly gained popularity and the new trend spread to other cities not only in Europe but throughout the world. From Florence to New York, from Paris to Sydney, the small padlocks with the lovers’ names scribbled on them can be seen clipped to a bridge in various metropolises.
It comes as no surprise that we can now see them in Melbourne. If you want to attest your everlasting love and dedication to your partner, the place to do it in our beloved city is the Yarra Footbridge at Southgate. Couples from all paths of life visit the bridge to add their padlock to the rapidly-growing collection. Even our chilly winter can’t cool off the enthusiasm of young love, so the number of locks is rapidly growing.
People like the fascinating European custom…
However, not everyone welcomes the love lock with such an enthusiasm. As beautiful a tradition this might be, there are some maintenance issues which need to be addressed. Authorities in Sydney, Dublin and Florence have already removed the padlocks due to aesthetic and structural concerns. Since the locks are typically bought at $2 stores and made of iron, they can damage the bridges. The metal rusts and corrodes which can ruin the structural integrity of the platforms.
The good news is people were warned about the removal undertaking in a timely manner. Local authorities allowed couples to take down their own padlocks, if they wanted to.
One thing bothers me though:
How can anyone take down the lock without special equipment, provided that the key has been thrown in the river?
Aside from that, I believe the government showed respect and concern when they approached the problem.
In Melbourne, the love lock movement is relatively new. It started in the beginning of June this year whit just a few lonely padlocks on the Yarra Footbridge between Sandridge and Princes Bridge. Today, there are dozens of love locks inscribed with the names of our local sweethearts. Even though no one has complained about the padlocks, the City of Melbourne authorities have announced they will launch an investigation of this odd public display of love and affection.
Whether the love locks will be removed remains to be seen….