“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Monday 19 March 2012

Sydney Harbour Bridge 80th Birthday....

Today is the 80th Birthday of an iconic bridge here in Australia. The Sydney Harbour Bridge reaches its octogenarian year, but seems to be going from strength to strength. You may have witnessed the fantastic New Year firework displays that bring the old girl to life ~ she's one party girl and certainly not feeling her age or prepared to sit back quietly. With approximately 160,000 vehicles cross the bridge every weekday, she's certainly earning her keep. 
Google's Australian homepage today pays tribute to the bridge with this design...cool eh?

After years of proposals to link the city of Sydney (at Dawes Point) to the North Shore (at Milsons Point) to eliminate the need for travel by ferry or make a substantial trip around the harbour foreshores towards Parramatta and back, amongst proposed designs including a tunnel and a floating bridge finally after many years were to pass, a vision became a reality... known locally as the 'coat hanger' design was approved. 

(Photo courtesy of http://www.sydneyharbourbridge.info/brdg-img/)
The tender of Dorman Long and Co. Ltd., of Middlesborough England for an arch bridge was accepted. The Dorman Long and Co's Consulting Engineer, Sir Ralph Freeman, carried out the detailed design of the bridge. The design was similar to New York's Hell Gate Bridge built 1916. The Hell Gate Bridge was a little shorter in span but was much lighter in construction as it only carried four railway tracks.

Work first began on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1924, with construction of the bridge approaches and the approach spans. (As many as 800 families living in its path were displaced without compensation). 

The Sydney Harbour Bridge design had to perform functionally and be pleasing to the eye as well. It was the longest single span steel arch bridge in the world at the time and locals worried that the two arches wouldn't meet in the middle. 

 (Photo courtesy from http://www.sydneyharbourbridge.info/brdg-img/
showing the two ends of the bridge meeting....go check out some more fabulous photo's....I adore these old photos ~ they're priceless)

Finally they did meet in 1930. It took 6 years and 14,000 workers to build the world's largest steel arch bridge.
The two eastern lanes were originally tram tracks. They were converted when Sydney abolished its trams in the 1950s. Today it carries eight traffic lanes and two railroad lines. One of the eastern lanes is now a dedicated bus lane. The bridge is often crowded, and in 1992 the Harbour Tunnel was opened to help carry the traffic load. The traffic levels were substantially reduced compared to the period before the tunnel opened.

Located in the south-eastern pylon (overlooking Circular Quay) is a lookout with 360 degree views and museum covering the history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are about 200 steps to get to the top but the views are some of the best in Sydney. Don't worry it's on my list to climb and I'll certainly take you with me if/when I go...take a look at the view. Well Oprah climbed it on her trip here...so I'll have to.

I just want to let you know that the weather in Melbourne isn't like this video clip...currently its 24 degrees with beautiful sun ~ a perfect day!
Climb to new heights today everyone and keep smiling :D


  1. Goodness Neesie I had no idea the bridge was that old! All the best to 'her' and here's to many more years to come! I hope you have a wonderful week.
    Maura :)

    1. Yeah she looks good doesn't she Maura...especially when she's all dressed up for a party on New Year's Eve!
      I hope you're week goes well too ~ thanks for stopping by :D

  2. I remember seeing Oprah climb to the top on one of her shows! It was amazing! Love that you shared this with us today. I really enjoy learning things about other countries and cities. I think Geography was my favourite subject in school, next to history and English! Hope you have a fab week! xxoo

    1. I'm so glad that you enjoyed today's post Marie,
      I thought it was so interesting that I'd share it.
      I watched Oprah climb to the top too :D
      I was going to see her in Federation Square here in Melbourne but had a medical appointment that day so missed her visit...typical!
      Have a great week and I hope to visit soon...I'm terribly behind this week. xoxo

  3. I saw this on our national news last night but your article was so much better. Thanks!

    1. Oh wow Beverly that's praise indeed. Thanks so much for stopping by and making my day!
      Hope your week is a good one :D

  4. oh my gosh Nessie what beautiful phtotos and you were right,, doesn't this look like the bridge out front of our apartment, thankyou for sharing these wonderful photos and remarkable story

    1. I thought so when I saw the photo of your bridge. It was funny that you posted about your bridge on the same day too.
      Have a wonderful Wednesday Laurie :D

  5. My husband and I had the immense pleasure of spending several days in Sydney a few years ago and the bridge was a highlight of our time there. It was fun to just walk from one end to the other .... husband went up the steps to the top (I stayed back and waited for him because that was just a little too high up for me) .... we stayed at a B&B in The Rocks and learned a lot about the building of the bridge from our host. An amazing story! Happy birthday Sydney Harbor Bridge!!!

    1. That's brilliant Kimmie. It's one of the things I have to tick whilst being here in Oz...well hopefully, although it does look extremely high up!
      I'll make sure I walk from one end to the other if nothing else ;)
      I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday and thanks for stopping by :D


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