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Love is in the air

By Alexandra Craig - 2 September 2014 20

padlocks-stock-010914

Love is in the fresh, spring Canberra air and lovelocks are being latched.

Lovelocks are essentially a regular padlock, often engraved with the name or initials of a couple and the date of their anniversary, that are locked onto a bridge by a loved-up couple and the key is usually thrown into the water below. These can be found on bridges all over the world, but most prominently on the Pont des Arts in Paris which recently had a whole section of the bridge collapse under the weight of thousands of kilos of padlocks.

Petitions have been launched to ban lovelocks from being placed on bridges for reasons including damage to the bridge and the environmental concern of countless keys being thrown into the water every day. One such petition was launched in Paris, gathering over 1600 signatures calling for the removal of all the lovelocks.

Given the beautiful weather we had in the ACT over the weekend, I took a walk around the Kingston end of Lake Burley Griffin and discovered a small number of these lovelocks on the small footbridge near Bowen Park. I think lovelocks are a bit cute, so I took a photo and uploaded to social media. I received a handful of responses back suggesting the locks should be cut off because of environmental reasons but also because they symbolise the myth of permanence of relationships and are therefore stupid.

It seems that the footbridge near Bowen Park isn’t the only bridge in Canberra adorned with lovelocks. The John Douglas Gordon footbridge which links Kings Park and Aspen Island has had about 10 or so lovelocks attached, all with dates from recent years. The National Capital Authority told Fairfax last month that there are no immediate plans to remove the locks, unless they begin to interfere with the maintenance schedule, in which case they will be removed.

Lovelocks are nowhere near as popular in Australia as what they are across Europe, however in recent years lovelocks have been removed from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and also from several locations in the Wollongong area.

Some people may suggest that attaching a padlock to a bridge is basically vandalism on par with graffiti, but I tend to think that unless these lovelocks are causing a severe safety risk or causing a great deal of damage then they should be left as is. If they’re not hurting anyone, why cut them off? I think they’re a nice idea, and while I agree that lifelong partnerships can’t be guaranteed and that a lock on a bridge isn’t going to ensure longevity of any relationship, I think it’s a nice symbolism of the happiness a couple would have felt whilst placing that lock on the bridge together. I’m glad that the National Capital Authority are leaving the lovelocks where they are for the time being. If I had left a lovelock on a bridge with my significant other, I’d be a bit disappointed if it was removed for no reason at all other than people not liking the way it looks.

Have any RiotACT readers left a lovelock on a Canberra bridge before, or perhaps left one of thousands on the Pont des Arts?

What’s Your opinion?


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20 Responses to
Love is in the air
thatsnotme 9:11 pm 02 Sep 14

Pork Hunt said :

Alexandra Craig said :

Maya123 said :

Postalgeek said :

Or plant a tree instead. Plant one every year you’re together and grow a luurv forest.

+1

This is a brilliant. I love the idea of having a big huge open space where couples can rock up, purchase a tree (ideally with profit going to wildlife conservation or something similar) and take a few pics. Lovely. I’d do it.

So if and when it all goes pear shaped, angry sir or madam can come in with a chainsaw and cut it down?

Ohhh, how about an official notification system, whereby broken up couples’ trees are removed, milled, and turned into furniture? What a great conversation starter – “I love your coffee table, what’s it made from?”

“Tears and broken dreams”.

Pork Hunt 8:44 pm 02 Sep 14

Alexandra Craig said :

Maya123 said :

Postalgeek said :

Or plant a tree instead. Plant one every year you’re together and grow a luurv forest.

+1

This is a brilliant. I love the idea of having a big huge open space where couples can rock up, purchase a tree (ideally with profit going to wildlife conservation or something similar) and take a few pics. Lovely. I’d do it.

So if and when it all goes pear shaped, angry sir or madam can come in with a chainsaw and cut it down?

Masquara 8:10 pm 02 Sep 14

P_Glo said :

What is wrong with people? For a moment of happiness to a couple why spoil it? There is too much negativity in this world, to see that someone cares enough for another and places a lock on a bridge together to symbolise that love is wonderful. I am with you on this subject, if it is doing no harm then leave it alone.

Regrettably, all those padlocks’ keys were chucked into the water and are quite a problem.

fabforty 5:15 pm 02 Sep 14

I only approve if one of the couple has to come and take the stupid thing off six months later when they have blocked each other from Facebook.

Holden Caulfield 5:01 pm 02 Sep 14

Alexandra Craig said :

Maya123 said :

Postalgeek said :

Or plant a tree instead. Plant one every year you’re together and grow a luurv forest.

+1

This is a brilliant. I love the idea of having a big huge open space where couples can rock up, purchase a tree (ideally with profit going to wildlife conservation or something similar) and take a few pics. Lovely. I’d do it.

Do you get to chop it down for firewood after the split?

Alexandra Craig 4:08 pm 02 Sep 14

Maya123 said :

Postalgeek said :

Or plant a tree instead. Plant one every year you’re together and grow a luurv forest.

+1

This is a brilliant. I love the idea of having a big huge open space where couples can rock up, purchase a tree (ideally with profit going to wildlife conservation or something similar) and take a few pics. Lovely. I’d do it.

Maya123 3:38 pm 02 Sep 14

Postalgeek said :

Or plant a tree instead. Plant one every year you’re together and grow a luurv forest.

+1

Postalgeek 3:13 pm 02 Sep 14

Or plant a tree instead. Plant one every year you’re together and grow a luurv forest.

arescarti42 2:26 pm 02 Sep 14

Rusty metal locks stuck to bridges are an eyesore in my opinion, and I think they should be cut off.

They may not be a maintenance/safety hazard now, but by leaving them there you set a dangerous precedent, and increase the outcry when they do become a problem and have to be removed.

A far better option would be to set up a designated lattice somewhere for people to stick their locks to, similar to how there’s designated sites for graffiti artists to paint on.

Postalgeek 2:08 pm 02 Sep 14

Trends are fine if they’re not imposed on other people and compromise structures. And the aesthetic of them is entirely subjective. Some people might think it’s cute, other people think it’s visually jarring and trite.

How about couples prove their love is permanent by actually doing the hard yards and staying together. [/grump]

Canberroid 1:56 pm 02 Sep 14

The locks can cause corrosion where they are in contact with the bridge. Different types of metal in contact for a long period of time out in the weather do funny things. Also when they start building up on bridges like at the corillian they look pretty ugly.

Maya123 11:49 am 02 Sep 14

I don’t think they do much harm, unless they get so many they are causing structural damage to the bridge.

Alexandra Craig 11:46 am 02 Sep 14

justin heywood said :

“they symbolise the myth of permanence of relationships and are therefore stupid.”

Permanent relationships are a ‘myth’ now? Wow. They might be difficult to achieve and pretty rare, but what circles do you move in if you don’t know of any long-lasting relationships?

And if a few hundred keys thrown into the water is an environmental concern, then people are really out of touch. How many keys to make up just one shopping trolley, let alone one car?

Totally agree – I’m no environmental scientist but I think even plastic bags, cigarette butts and general rubbish would be of more concern to the environment than keys in the bottom of a river are.

justin heywood 11:06 am 02 Sep 14

“they symbolise the myth of permanence of relationships and are therefore stupid.”

Permanent relationships are a ‘myth’ now? Wow. They might be difficult to achieve and pretty rare, but what circles do you move in if you don’t know of any long-lasting relationships?

And if a few hundred keys thrown into the water is an environmental concern, then people are really out of touch. How many keys to make up just one shopping trolley, let alone one car?

P_Glo 9:31 am 02 Sep 14

What is wrong with people? For a moment of happiness to a couple why spoil it? There is too much negativity in this world, to see that someone cares enough for another and places a lock on a bridge together to symbolise that love is wonderful. I am with you on this subject, if it is doing no harm then leave it alone.

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