Proposal to name Bridge #4373 over Serpentine River (Rapids Crossing) – Brian Coffey Bridge (Closed)

Map: Location of the bridge over the Serpentine River (Rapids Crossing) which is it is proposed to be named Brian Coffey Bridge.

In the 1920’s, Brian Coffey’s parents moved to Serpentine to take up land under the Peel Group Settlement Scheme. His family has long been a part of the Serpentine community, in particular Brian who attended The Old Bridge School at Serpentine in 1935, walking the 5km from the farm to school every day. Brian’s father died when Brian was six years old, leaving his mother and siblings to run the dairy farm until Brian eventually took this over in 1950, and later switched to farming beef cattle.

As told by George Walley, My Father, George Walley Senior worked for Mr Brian and Mrs Betty Coffey and other family members have also worked for Brian’s brother Jack Coffey in the 1950s and 1960s. That supportive working relationship has been something very respectfully referred to when we as extended family groups would drive and meet at the Serpentine River Bridge along Rapids Road for picnics and for kids to swim at a safe place. We would also identify the location as Coffey’s Bridge as a reflection that Brian Coffey had his farm on the eastern side and Jack Coffey had their farm on the western side of Rapids Road.”

As told by Brian’s son, Rory, “Brian saw people who only had their labour to offer as being regularly exploited by many with wealth and power and, whilst he personally was not exposed to this vulnerability, he took it as his responsibility and obligation to try to redress this imbalance..”

At that time, Brian received a lot of criticism, for not only employing Aboriginal people, but also advocating on their behalf and providing permanent residency to families who had children removed under assimilation policies (Stolen Generation). Brian advocated heavily for Aboriginal children to attend Hopeland Primary School and withstood criticism for this also.

Brian Coffey passed away in 2011, leaving behind a strong legacy in the Serpentine community, pride within his family and gratefulness from the Aboriginal families.

  • Married Betty Burgess in c1950
  • Father to Ray, Shane, Rory, Garry and Liam
  • Had Stock Brands in 1972 under Tallagandra Farm
  • Passed away at Tralee Farm, Serpentine 2011.

Comments of support or objection are welcome until 5pm, Friday 16 October 2020 and can be submitted in writing via email to or by post to 6 Paterson Street, Mundijong 6123.

Photo: Brian Coffey circa 1950 standing in Serpentine River near the bridge location

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