This week in 1924: The Sydney Harbour Bridge

Its status as one of the world’s most iconic man-made structures is undisputed, but the decision to give the green light to the North Shore Bridge, as it was known, warranted the briefest mention on the pages of The Engineer.

‘We learn that Mr Bradfield, engineer to the state of New South Wales, has recommended the Australian Government to accept the tender of Dorman, Long and Co for the construction of the North Shore Bridge at Sydney.’

Opened in 1932, the steel arch bridge carried rail, vehicular and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district and the North Shore. Until 1967 it was the city’s tallest structure and, according to Guinness World Records, it is the world’s widest long-span bridge and tallest steel arch bridge, measuring 134m from top to water level.

Designed to carry six lanes of road traffic, two railway tracks and a footpath on each side, the 48.8m-wide structure was indeed designed and built by Dorman Long and Co. Based in Middlesbrough, this UK company apparently came up with the most attractive bid for the contract, ‘The total estimated cost of the bridge was approximately £6,000,000 and it is calculated that 35,000 tons of steel will be used in its construction. According to reports we have received the price tendered by Dorman, Long and Co was £4,500,000 and that of William Arrol and Co, £5,300,000.’

Jon Excell