Sydney Accommodation

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour BridgeAlthough the concept of a harbour crossing was entertained fifty years earlier, it was not until 4th January 1900 that tender designs and financial proposals were sought for a 'North Shore' bridge to span the harbour.

Over the next fifteen years, under the guidance of one of Australia's greatest civil structural and transport engineers, JJC Bradfield (1867-1943), the bridge project took shape; finally, an international competition was held, with Bradfield suggesting that the design should be an arch bridge with granite-faced pylons at either end. The winning design tender by Dorman and Long (recommended by Bradfield himself) proposed the single arch design No. A3 (one of six alternatives) be built from both ends (using cable supports) and joined in the middle.

The social impact of the bridge, its construction areas, and its connecting highways involving the demolition of 800 houses, would be inconceivable today. Built between the wars, the project reduced the unemployment created by the Depression and was the greatest labour intensive project to employ 19th century work practices of sledge and cold chisel.

The span is 1,650 feet to allow unobstructed passage for ships in Sydney Harbour. Of sixteen deaths, seven were workers on the bridge structure itself (139 died during construction of the Brooklyn Bridge). Families living in its path were displaced without compensation. Rural taxpayers saw 'the vampire city, of which the bridge is so complete a symbol... sucking the life blood of the suffering country.' The mythology of the bridge being a 'symbol not only for the city, but for the aspirations of the nation' blinded most people to the injustices.

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