The Sydney Harbour Bridge, one of Australia’s most recognised, photographed and loved landmarks, will celebrate its 90th birthday on the 19th of March 2022 – the day it opened to the first cars (and horses) back in 1932.
Ahead of the milestone birthday celebrations to come in March, BridgeClimb is asking Australians across the country to share their untold stories and artefacts of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for present and future generations to enjoy.
Whether you or someone you know worked on the construction or maintenance of the Bridge, own a unique piece of Bridge memorabilia, or hold a special memory involving the Bridge, all submissions are welcome.
BridgeClimb’s CEO Deb Zimmer firmly believes that some incredible stories and artefacts will be discovered over the next few months.
“Everyone has a story that involves the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Whether you’ve scaled to the summit with us, watched it put on a spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks display, or simply taken a train ride over it, the Bridge has played a part in many people’s lives and we’re so excited to see what we uncover throughout this process,” she said.
One of the lesser-known stories of the Sydney Harbour Bridge involves elephants and a horse and is most likely the first publicity stunt to ever take place on the Bridge.
On the 3rd of April 1932, Wirth’s Circus took seven elephants and a Shetland pony across the newly opened Bridge to promote their show. Records show the toll collectors charged two pence per elephant.
A story most Australians are familiar with is Paul Hogan’s career pre-stardom. At the age of 23, Paul got a job as a rigger on the Sydney Harbour Bridge which, in the 1970s, required nerves of steel. Paul worked on the Bridge for over a decade and, during this time, was discovered and thrust into the international limelight.
Over the years, the Sydney Harbour Bridge has been fondly described as the coat hanger, a symphony of steel, the arch that cut the sky, and even the humpback whale. But of all the nicknames Sydney’s iconic landmark received in the past 90 years, the iron lung is one that echoes its significance for those who built it, breathing life back into Sydney at what was a tough time for many and provided work to thousands of people across NSW.
Admired worldwide as an engineering marvel thanks to the genius of chief proponent John Job Crew Bradfield, the Bridge’s steelwork alone weighs 52,800 tonnes and is held together by 6 million rivets, each one driven in by hand. The structure rises 134 metres above sea level, almost as high as The Great Pyramid in Egypt, and is 503 metres long.
With 90 years of history behind it, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is brimming with stories to tell. All story and artefact submissions will be reviewed for possible inclusion, in time, within the Pylon Lookout & Museum – the home of the history of the Bridge. To submit yours, visit: https://bit.ly/3I58a3H