Sydney Harbour Bridge climb? (You need to know this before you climb!)


Sydney received over 39 million visitors yearly and the numbers have grown steadily. Many of those visitors it’s the first time to Sydney. There are top-rated tourist attractions in Sydney that a first-time traveller never miss. Sydney Harbour Bridge climb, visit Opera house, NYE fireworks and tour to the Blue Mountains are on the top three. Apart from these three, some take a pub tour to The Rocks and learn the history. Relax a day at Royal Botanic Gardens or shopping at QVB (Queen Victoria Building) are the other popular things to do in Sydney. Hunter Valley not as popular as above. However, many take a tour to Hunter Valley to spoil them self’s with wine, chocolate and cheese tasting.  Hence, the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb is one of the top-rated tourist attractions in Sydney. We at Sydney Top Tours thought of share important facts about Sydney Harbour Bridge that you should know before you climb.

Why Sydney needed the Harbour bridge?

Early settlers to Sydney identified the necessity to connect the North shore to the south of Sydney. Billy Blue, an ex-convict identified this and started a ferry network in 1816. This has grown so rapidly and expanded to 11 ferries in a quick time. By 1904, the demand has risen and over 19 million people crossed used the ferries to cross North shore and south. In fact, 75 ferries had to leave every hour from the Circular Quay to meet the demand. Still, they couldn’t meet the demand, and the government identified the importance of the bridge that combines both sides of Sydney.

What is the Sydney Harbour Bridge guessing competition?

After realizing the importance of a bridge as a solution to unite the North and South shores of Sydney, the government called for a worldwide bridge competition in early 1900 to find a suitable bridge design. Out of 30 entries, the government couldn’t satisfy and called for the 2nd competition with special requirements. These special requirements were the bridge should have 170 clearance level above the water, 1192 long span, 2 railway tracks, 2 road lines, 2 tram lines, and 2 footpaths. In addition, the government mentioned the requirement of 60 feet wide deck. There were many satisfied entries, however, the change of the government hold the construction. Hence, people started calling this “Sydney Harbour Bridge guessing competition”.

Video by Andy

Who are the main people involved with the Sydney Harbour Bridge construction?

John Bradfield (J.J.C. Bradfield)

J.J.C. Bradfield

He was the brainchild and the driving force behind the Sydney Harbour bridge. A draftsman from his career who has worked for the NSW public works department understood the requirement of a bridge to unite South to North. Government has appointed him as the chief engineer harbour bridge metropolitan railway construction. Subsequently, he has proposed the government to build a cantilever bridge with 4 railway lines, 2 roadways and one-foot path.

Ralph Freeman

An English engineer who has designed several of the world’s most impressive bridges. He was appointed by the Dorman, Long & Co of Middlesbrough, England on 24th March 1924 as the consultant engineer to Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Ralph Freeman
Photo National Museum Australia

Lawrence Ennis

Act as the Director of constructions for Dorman, Long & Co and played the third most important role when building the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

History of the Sydney Harbour Bridge construction

The engineers initially had concerns where to find the required giant stones for the 2 bridge pillars. The answer came from a city called Moruya (Granite Town), a city located south to Sydney and had a giant quarry. Over 55 thousand tons of stones shaped, cut, polished and transported from Granite town to Sydney harbour for the construction. The construction was completed by over 1,400 workers such as boilermakers, riveters, steelmakers, etc. working round the clock. Only 7 of workers lost their lives during this mega construction and some at Granite town.

Moruya (Granite Town)
Photo credits National Museum Australia

Sydney Harbour Bridge Facts and historical moments

  • In 1923 construction began of the Sydney Harbour bridge
  • Both sides of the bridge touched each on 19th Aug 1930
  • Lawrence Ennis was the first person to cross the bridge from south to north before it was open to public
  • On 19th January 1932, the construction ended of the bridge
  • Declared open to the public on 19th March 1932 with a grand opening. Over 1 million participated in this event and at that time Sydney population was nearly 1 million.
  • Dr John Bradfield was the first person to drive a car across the bridge.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Photo from National Museum Australia

Greatest things about Sydney Harbour Bridge

The bridge combines north of Sydney and the city is one of the greatest structures ever built. Rising 440 feet from the water to top it claims the world tallest steel arch bridge. How many of travellers who climbs Sydney Harbour bridge knows that the structure itself weight more than 39 thousand tons? Not only that, the bridge itself 160 feet wide, spans for 1650 feet and hold 8 traffic lanes. The construction of the bridge cost over 60 million pounds as of historical records.

Current status of Sydney Harbour Bridge

Today, over 200,000 cars cross the bridge every day. The bridge re-painted every 5 years. This is to protect its exposed steel construction and over 30 thousand litres of paint required for one coat.

Information sourced from National Museum Australia and various online sources.

Out (Sydney Top Tours) article of the Sydney Harbour Bridge is over for now. We have written an interesting article about must-see Sydney attractions and you can read it here –