Sydney – What you might not know about The Harbour Bridge
It is one of the most famous and regularly visited bridges in the world – so the Sydney Harbour Bridge can’t really have that many secrets can it?
Maybe you’re right, or maybe we can surprise you with these unusual facts about ‘The Coathanger’.
- Around 800 families living in the path of the bridge during construction had their homes demolished and received no compensation. And you thought HS2 was bad?
- Sydney Harbour Bridge wasn’t paid for until 1988 – almost 60 years after it was opened. The original toll for the bridge was just six pence.
- New South Wales Premier Jack Lang was unceremoniously upstaged when he went to cut the ribbon to declare the bridge open. As he did so, a man named Captain Francis De Groot from the paramilitary group rode up on his horse and cut the ribbon instead – with his sword.
- When the time came to paint the bridge the only colour available in the quantity needed was grey. In all it took 272 thousand litres just to get the first coat on.
- The most frequent climber of the daredevil BridgeClimb attraction is an 83-year-old from Sydney who has climbed the bridge 26 times.
- The bridge is 49 metres wide – the widest single span bridge in the world.
- Some might say it comes as no surprise in Australia, but the architect behind the Sydney Harbour Bridge was a convict. In 1815, former convict, Francis Greenway, proposed a bridge over the harbour – although it wasn’t built until after the first world war. Greenway is featured on the Australian $10 note – the only former criminal to appear there.
- Remember show-stealing retired cavalry officer, Francis De Groot? While cutting the ribbon to declare the bridge open he did so in the name of ‘the decent citizens of New South Wales’. After re-tying the ribbon as best they could, the ceremony continued. Meanwhile, De Groot was carried off to a mental hospital, declared insane and later fined for the cost of the ribbon.