Surprising Stories about the Sydney Harbour Bridge (Part 2)

When I started writing them all down after our recent trip to Sydney, I realised that there really are just too many stories for one post, so here a continuation and final 4 stories about the Sydney Harbour Bridge and its amazing history. And in case you missed them, click here to check out the first 4 stories about the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

5. Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony did not go particularly well. The New South Wales Premier, Jack Lang, made the surprising decision that he, rather than the King of England, would open the bridge. So up he went, but before he was able to cut the rope, a member of the right-wing and fiercely monarchist organisation called the ‘New Guard’ rode up on a horse, and promptly cut the rope with a sword. F.E De Groote was protesting in the name of the King, was promptly arrested, and the ribbon was re-tied and Jack Lang officially opened the Harbour Bridge.

6. Ghost Houses

If you have been to the Rocks area of Sydney, you will know how close the Southern end of the bridge somehow manages to work in with loads of beautiful old terrace houses. The reality is different, and actually large amounts of land were cleared to allow for the bridges construction.

This house was built as a monument to remember the “Ghost Houses” that were demolished to make way for the bridge. Probably a worthwhile price to pay.

7. Crossing the Great Span

Apparently when the bridge was first built the arches almost did not meet. The bridge is designed to contract and expand (it goes up and down by an average of 18 cm depending on the weather).

When they did meet, the builders had to put an advertisement in the newspaper explaining that the plan was to build a carriageway. Many people at the time were protesting that it would be impossible to get their wagons and horses over the top of the arch. Looking at it without the carriageway, you can kind of see how this mistake could have been made.

8. The Bridge Climb Contract

Turning to more modern times, it is of course possible to now climb over the top of the bridge. Its an awesome experience.

Interesting fact about the contract that the privately owned company has, is that it provides them with 364 days of access. The only day of the year when the bridge is closed is New Year’s Eve. The fireworks are installed on the northern half of the bridge in advance (there is no bridge climb on that half) and then on the 31’st od December each year, on the Southern Side. They are then fully removed before 6am on the 1st of January, ready for the bridge climb to reopen.

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Categories: Buildings


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  1. Tweets that mention Surprising Stories about the Sydney Harbour Bridge (Part 2) | Lighting the Fuse -- - January 25, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Volker Ballueder, Caspar Schlickum. Caspar Schlickum said: More surprising stories that I bet you didn't know about the Sydney Harbour Bridge #sydney #design #bridges […]

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