Category Archives: Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

One of the most iconic sights in Australia is the Sydney Harbor Bridge. The towering structure is 3,770 feet long, 161 feet wide and 440 feet high. People do not just pass through it, or go across it, but also climb up its distinctive structure, making Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb something tourists “must-do” while in Sydney. It is hard to ignore something as unique and massive as this structure.

Planning for the Sydney Harbour Bridge

It is said that although construction for the bridge started in the 1900s, the plans to build such a bridge started as early as 1815. Architect Francis Greenway reportedly proposed the idea of a bridge to Governor Lachlan Macquarie to “give an idea of strength and magnificence that would reflect credit and glory on the colony and the Mother Country”.

Although Greenway did not see his dream on building this structure come to pass, his vision remained alive in the generations after him. In 1900, a competition was given out for the designs of the bridge and Norman Selfe’s proposed drawing won. The construction didn’t take place until years later because of the economic crisis, and after that, the budget that was allocated for war efforts at that time.

Construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

After World War I, J.J.C. Bradfield, the appointed Chief Engineer of the Harbor Bridge and Metropolitan Railway Station, lobbied for the construction of the bridge. He used much of his own money in helping the project along, as well as his time and effort to make sure the project will finally come to pass. Bradfield’s dedication on the construction of the bridge earned him the moniker “father of the Sydney Harbor Bridge”.

Ultimately, overseeing the building of the bridge was the work of Bradfield and his team, but the government had other people help out with the project, namely Lawrence Ennis, Edward Judge and Sir Ralph Freeman. Of course as with many collaborations, disagreements ensued but they all worked together to complete the bridge.

Opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

On March 19, 1932, the Bridge was formally opened to the public. Interestingly, when the ribbon was about to be cut in the south end by Jack Lang, the Labor Premier of NSW, a man on a horse rode up slashing the ribbon before the Premier could do it. The man on the horse, Francis de Groot said he was cutting the ribbon in the name of the people of South Wales. He was arrested and no other untoward incident was said to have happened after that.

The Bridge opened during the Great Depression but that didn’t stop the city from celebrating its completion. After the ribbon cutting ceremonies were done, people were allowed to walk the entirety of the Bridge on deck, a tradition that was to be carried on for 50 years.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Today

The Sydney Harbor Bridge  has allocations for vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle traffic and was created to connect the Sydney Central Business District to the North Shore. While its primary purpose is practical, the Bridge is so iconic that it has become a tourism spot for decades. There are a number of installations designed to attract guests such as a café, museum, and a viewing deck just to name a few. Many special events and important occasions have been celebrated on this Bridge throughout the years as well.