Monday, 19 March 2012

Sydney's latest Octogenarian

Sydney's Harbour Bridge turns 80 today. 

After almost ten years of construction, the Coathanger was officially opened on 19 March 1932. The designated ribbon cutter was to be then Premier Jack Lang. He was pipped at the post however by a sword-wielding horse-riding uniformed Francis de Groot who cut the ribbon, opening the Bridge on behalf of the people of New South Wales in a political protest at Lang's politics and the fact that a member of the Royal Family wasn't performing the opening ceremony. 

Didi was about 7 years old at this time but she recalls visiting Sydney with her parents a few years before the Bridge was complete. She says the Bridge was about a third done on one side and half done on the other and she was so amazed that on her return to school in the small country town of Ando she excitedly drew it for her classmates and teacher to see. But they couldn't believe that this was at all possible and she said she was so hurt that they didn't believe her.

I imagine that to Didi the Bridge looked much like the photo below - borrowed from's collection of around 2500 photos of the Coathanger's construction. Definitely worth a browse...

Australia, Sydney Harbour Bridge Construction, 1922-1933

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