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    Engineers building Australia - Sydney Harbour Bridge

    Published on 18 January 2019, Friday, 1:32 AM

    Australians honoured the efforts of the engineers who worked to create one of the country's most famous structural icons, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge yesterday (March 20). 

    As one of the world's largest arch bridges -  which is made of heavy and enduring steel to boot - 'the coathanger' has supplied traders, commuters, families and tourists with a reliable and strong transport route between city and suburbs since 1932.

    Six years after work commenced - and after approximately 14,000 workers had made their mark on proceedings - the bridge was ceremoniously opened to the public on Saturday, March 19.

    But not before a bit of a blip occurred for the officials and politicians hosting the event.

    As New South Wales premier Jack Lang moved to cut the ribbon across the entrance to the bridge, Captain Francis de Groot came out of nowhere on his horse, pushed past the perplexed premier and slashed the ribbon with his own sword. He declared the bridge open in the name of "the decent and respectable people of New South Wales" before any officials could get a word in. Well played, Captain.

    De Groot was arrested and fined, and the ribbon put back in place to be officially cut by premier Lang. Ceremony must have its place, after all.

    Since then the bridge has become a national icon and familiar site for all Australians - and is recognised as the fourth-longest single-span bridge in the world. It also plays host to the yearly fireworks displays which light up the harbour on New Year's Eve.

    Engineers Australia described the bridge as an engineering icon and Sydney Division director Stephen Finlay stated: "It's a shining example of how engineers work to transform the economy and build Australia for future generations."

    Celebrations yesterday marked the birthday of the Metal One and themed sideshows and fairs dotted the shore with colour - and also one particularly famous face.

    The grandson of J.J.C. Bradfield, chief engineer for the building of the bridge, was in attendance and shared some of his memories of the man who oversaw the conception, construction and completion of the structure.

    Old fashioned car shows, swing dancing displays and vintage fashion parades drew crowds to Milsons Point for revelry and fond reflections on that 80-year-old dame who just will not quit.

    Nathan Mills portrait image
    Nathan Mills
    Nathan is a seasoned Kennards Hire team member passionate about empowering DIYers in their projects. He loves everything DIY and brings together years of equipment and project experience to help customers get the right tools for their next job.