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Sydney Harbour Bridge

In: Historical Events

Submitted By eshays
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Why was the bridge built?
The Sydney Harbour Bridge (also known as ‘The Coat hanger’) was built to connect the City of Sydney (at Dawes Point) to The North Shore (at Milsons Point). It was built to resolve the continuing and growing transport problems of the Sydney Harbour. Everyday dozens of ferries carried people to and from the North and South Shore. There was only one other way to get to the other side of the shore other than taking a ferry and it was by road but it took 20 kilometers and a series of small bridges to get their, this way was usually used to transport food and other goods. The bridge would carry rail, vehicular and pedestrian traffic. For decades people were talking about building something to cross the harbour to put an end to the long commute. In 1922 the New South Wales Government seriously consider a way to connect the two shores together. 20 designs were submitted to the government of a bridge but the winning design was by Dorman, Long and Company.

How was the Bridge built?
Before the bridge started construction 800 houses were demolished before to make way for the bridge. In 1925 construction on the bridge started, both ends started at the same time and in five years time the ends would meet in the middle. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is made from steel, therefore the engineers had to come up with a way that would allow the bridge to expand and contract and rise and fall 18cm either way. The engineers ended up solving this problem by installing two big hinges on each end of the bridge to allow it to move without collapsing onto itself. To lift the large steel sections and put them into place, a huge ‘creeper’ crane was used to do this. These large steel sections were held into place with rivets; over 6 million rivets were used to construct the Sydney Harbour Bridge. By August 1930 the two halves of the bridge met in the middle, exactly as it was proposed when designing it. The next part of the Sydney Harbour Bridge that was built was the road deck; again the creeper cranes were used to lift the vertical pieces of steel that connect the arch and the road deck together and the platforms that made the road deck. It was built 59 meters above sea level and was built from the centre outwards. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was completed by the end of 1931 and it had a series of tests to make sure it was safe and would not collapse. The Bridge officially opened on the 19th March 1932.

What social impacts did the building of the Bridge have on Australia?
The Sydney Harbour Bridge has made many social impacts on Australia since it was finished in 1931 and opened in 1932. The Bridge improved safety across the Harbour, as before there were 75 ferries every hour crossing the Harbour, therefore the Bridge replaced all the traffic, which improved the safety of the people and the commuters. It has made commuting and transporting easier and more sufficient, as you can go by train or car across the harbour, without having to take a ferry or traveling 20 kilometers around to get to the other side of the shore. During the building of the Bridge, Australia was going through the Depression of the 1920s and 1930s and the building of it helped employ and supply people with jobs to work on the Bridge and it help them get through the Depression. Ever since the Sydney Harbour Bridge has opened it has been and icon for Australia and Sydney and has become a focal point in many celebrations in the harbour such as New Year’s Eve. The Bridge has also become a tourist attraction all around the world, when tourists see the Bridge they recognise it as a part of Sydney and Australia. In the last decade, The Sydney Harbour Bridge has become a major tourist attraction through Bridge Climb, which offers a unique experience through guided climbs at dawn, day, twilight and night climbs. The Bridge Climb has become an iconic thing to do while in Sydney for overseas tourists to get the full Sydney, Australia experience. When climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge you can see Sydney Harbour at the best view. The Sydney Harbour Bridge has made many social impacts on Australia, especially the tourist attraction side of it, which makes it an icon all around the world today.

What role did Jack Lang have in building of the Bridge?
Jack Lang was the Premier of New South Wales of the time when The Sydney Harbour Bridge was being built and when it was opened. Jack Lang wanted the opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge to be a major public celebration and not only for the rich and important people of society but for all working people as well. When the Bridge was opened on the 19th March 1932 there was a controversy and an outrage to who could cut the ribbon and declare the Bridge officially open. As the Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang thought that he should cut the ribbon but the ‘New Guard,’ a paramilitary organization and an anti-Lang group thought a member of the Royal family should be invited to officially declare the Sydney Harbour Bridge open. Before Jack Lang could open the Bridge an ex-captain F.E de Groote whom was a member of the ‘New Guard,’ who was dressed in full military uniform, cut the ribbon before Jack Lang arrived, on horseback with his sword, declaring the bridge open “in the name of the decent and loyal citizens of New South Wales.” Lang then had to wait for the ribbon to be retied again so he could cut it with his gold scissors and officially declare the Sydney Harbour Bridge open in front of 750, 000 people. Later F.E de Groote was fined with a £5 for offensive behaviour in a public and was taken to a psychiatric hospital but was later declared sane. Jack Lang played an important role in the building and the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge but was dismissed as the New South Wales Premier only a few months after the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.…...

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