Saturday, January 31, 2015

Photo a Day 31 - "The Bridge"

The theme this week suggests birds eye views, harbours, boats etc

Scouting for photos for Sepia Saturday this week, the only one I could find in my  collection was one of Sydney with Sydney Harbour Bridge featuring. This set me off on a search to find more bridge photos and more info about our famous bridge.

So this was my original photo, taken probably in the fifties or sixties - I'm not all that familiar with Sydney history, but it appears to be pre-Opera House, but not too early as there are tall buildings.

My research  tells me that at the time the bridge was the widest long span bridge in the world. The tender  was for costs of Au 4,217,721 pounds, 11 shillings and 10 pence.  I did have a chuckle at the 11 shillings and 10 pence'

The first sod was turned on July 28th, 1923 - this was for the foundations and supporting structure.

The arch was commenced on October 26th, 1928.

The 2 halves touched on August 20th, 1930

In January 1932, the first train crossed the bride on a test run - the bridge held! In February of that year they gave the bridge a thorough test by lining up 96 locomotive engines 4 wide and 12 long. The bridge was declared safe.

An opening ceremony was planned for March 19th, 1932 and the dignitaries lined up to see premier Jack Lang cut the ribbon.  But before he could do the deed a horseman brandishing a sword raced in and beat Jack Lang to it.

It was Francis de Groot, a member of the right wing "New Guard", objecting because the left wing Labour government had not asked a member of the royal family to do the honours. de Groot was quickly arrested by the constabulary

and the Premier Jack Lang did officially cut the ribbon at last.

Sydney Harbour Bridge is a world famous landmark and certainly regarded as an Australian icon,  but it had an interesting history.

Liz Needle  -  linking with    "Sepia Saturday"


  1. Dorman & Long whose steel was used in the bridge and who were involved in its erection were based in Middlesbrough close to where we live, This made your pictures special to me.

  2. I would not have wanted to be one of those train engineers driving their trains across the bridge to see if it was safe! Holy schamole! Thank heaven we have other ways to test the strength of structures now. I'm not sure how the strength of the Golden Gate Bridge was tested? I'll have to look that one up.

  3. Fascinating picutres, and quite a bit of history. Thanks, Liz! I enjoyed this post.

  4. It does have an interesting history. I doubt the first shot was before the opera house . I think it is out of shot behind the left hand pylon. It is on the other side of the bridge.

  5. A perfect thematic post. That's certainly a bit more drama than most engineering projects get on a grand opening!
    I imagine that the more exciting moment must have been when some worker inserted the last rivet to join the two arch sections so high above the water.

  6. When I was there on Friday, I climbed the pylon lookout and apart from the views from the top there is a very good museum inside of the bridge construction and history.

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  9. I enjoyed your old photographs of Sydney bridge. They reminded me of my Father who every Sunday drove the family out to see the construction of the Forth Road Bridge near Edinburgh. He took many photographs (slides) at every stage. Just before the official opening by the Queen in 1964 we joined the opportunity to walk across it.

  10. Very interesting post about this bridge. I have drove, but never on top of itbeen in the train and walked over it. Fantastic piece of engineering.