Archives Outside

For people who love, use and manage archives

Archives Outside - For people who love, use and manage archives

Happy 80th Birthday Sydney Harbour Bridge!

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Fireworks Over Sydney Harbor Bridge, Australia

Construction began on 28 July, 1923. The contractors set up two workshops at Milson’s Point on the North Shore where the steel was fabricated into girders. The granite for the pylons was quarried near Moruya, where about 250 workers and their families lived in a temporary settlement. The two arches met at the centre of the span in August 1930 and Premier Jack Lang opened the Harbour Bridge on the 19 March, 1932. Francis Edward de Groot, a member of the New Guard disrupted the opening ceremony when, disguised as a military horseman, he slashed the ceremonial ribbon before the Premier was able to officially open the bridge. The opening celebrations were surprisingly lavish considering that New South Wales, like the rest of Australia, was in the depths of the Great Depression. It has been estimated that between 300,000 and 1,000,000 people participated in the festivities. The celebrations included decorated floats, marching groups and bands, a gun-salute, a procession of passenger ships under the Bridge and a Venetian Carnival. After the pageant members of the public were allowed to walk across the deck — an opportunity that was not offered to the public again until the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Bridge in 1982

Learn more in Archives in Brief 37 – A brief history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Bridge Video Montage

You may remember the video montage we created last year showing the construction of the bridge. The photos are from our collection – series NRS 12685 – and the whole set, 1923-1933, is available on Photo Investigator.

View the montage

Help us commemorate the 80th Birthday

This year we are trying something a little different. We have created an I <3 Sydney Harbour Bridge tribute board at The aim is to get together a collage of images both from our own collection and other peoples (where copyright has been made  available).

This is where you come in!

We’d love for you to link us to your favourite Sydney Harbour Bridge related images either from our collection on Flickr and/or images from other people (where they have been made available under a creative commons licence). All you need to do is provide a link to the image in the comments below. e.g.

If you wish you can also leave a birthday message or a bridge related anecdote e.g. Octogenerarians rule! We will then pin the image and the message to the Birthday Board in your name. Lets party!


  • jenni s says:

    Brilliant! love it!

    March 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm
  • beachcomberaustralia says:

    I like the Google Doodle for today (19/02/12). See

    March 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm
  • Fiona Sullivan says:

    Thanks @beachcomberaustralia you’ve been pinned! In fact you’ve been pinned twice because I linked to the google image as well.

    Edited to add: And you’re a hit 4 repins with an hour of pinning your image!

    March 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm
  • Fiona Sullivan says:

    Thanks Jenni! Now here’s a tricky question ….which one of these is your fave?

    March 20, 2012 at 2:07 pm
  • Tony Browne says:

    You may like some additional info on this picture.
    The 89 year old lady next door said she was at the opening of the Sydney Harbor bridge and a paper took a picture and she was in the paper . I did a search and found this picture . When I showed her she remembered and all her memories of the day came back. She was very excited to see it as she no longer had a copy.
    The School was Bellmore North .
    The 2 girls featured are Isabella Watts on the left & Alice Walker then now Oldham the lady next door .;80 years ago.
    Thought you may want to add the history to the Caption on the picture. The School may be interested as well.

    March 21, 2012 at 9:22 am
  • Rhonda Cetta-Hoye says:

    Only for the Bridge ( notice there is only one Bridge ) my husband might not have been born here. My beautiful mother in law whom I adored , arrived in Sydney with her mother and sister ,she Molly was a young teenager ) following her step father, William Grogan and brother Sam Stevenson and brother in law, Donald Young ,who had come from Hollywood, Northern Ireland the year before and were employed on the building of Bridge.
    Every time I cross the Bridge, I think of the terrible conditions these men worked under and those who died, No Health and Safety then. What a beautiful monument we are so proud of.
    Long may She stand.
    Rhonda Cetta-Hoye

    June 24, 2014 at 12:10 pm
  • Fiona Sullivan says:

    What a great story Rhonda, thanks for sharing it with us.

    June 30, 2014 at 4:54 pm