One of the most iconic landmarks in Australia, the Sydney Harbour Bridge has been standing since 1932. In that time, it has not only provided a commuter route for Sydney-siders who need to cross the harbor but has also drawn in endless tourists with its beauty.

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Though it hasn’t even been up for 100 years, it’s hard to imagine Sydney without its world-famous bridge that has come to be seen as a symbol of not just the New South Wales capital city, but all of Australia. Keep reading to find out 10 captivating facts about the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

10 It’s Not Even 100 Years Old

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is an iconic monument in Australia. It’s certainly the most famous landmark in Sydney, alongside the Sydney Opera House. So it’s hard to believe that the bridge hasn’t even been standing for a century. When you compare it to some of the world’s most famous landmarks that have been standing for hundreds of years or even longer, it actually seems pretty young!

The bridge was completed in 1932, meaning it will turn 90 in 2022. Though it was finished in 1932, construction on the bridge actually began in 1926.

9 World War I Delayed Its Production

There was actually talk of building a bridge before 1926, but World War I majorly delayed the design plans. Dating back to 1815, officials in Sydney had ideas of building a bridge in the Sydney Harbour. For over 100 years, these ideas were nothing more than talk.

By 1912, the plans were ready to be taken to the next step, and in 1916, construction was approved by the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales. But the Legislative Council disagreed because it believed that the money spent on the bridge should go toward Australia’s war effort instead.

8 People Died While Building It

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is now a positive sight that brings locals in Sydney and tourists feelings of awe and wonder. But its history is not without any tragedy. Of the 1400 laborers that set to work on the bridge, 16 lost their lives on the job. This mainly happened because of accidents that took place during construction.

Although work on the bridge meant a devastating end for some, it was a saving grace for the majority of workers. The bridge provided stable work for those who had suffered financial loss during the Great Depression era.

7 It Is The Largest Of Its Kind

When it comes to steel arch bridges, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is the biggest of its kind. Its famed arch spans 503 meters, which is around 1605 feet. The top of the arch reaches 134 meters, or 439 feet above sea level. The steelwork of the arch alone weighs 39,000 tons. The bridge also supports two train lines, eight vehicle lanes, a footway for pedestrians, and a cycleway.

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Even though the bridge is the largest of its kind, it’s not the longest. That title goes to the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayette County, West Virginia.

6 It’s Not Made From Completely Australian Materials

Without a doubt, the Sydney Harbor Bridge has become known as a symbol of Australia. It may come as a surprise to learn, then, that the bridge is not completely made from Australian materials. In fact, of all the steel used to build the bridge, only 21 percent actually came from Australia.

The majority of the steel that went into making the bridge (79%) was imported from England. To make a bridge of this size, quite a lot of steel had to be imported. The total amount of steel that went into constructing the bridge was 52,800 tons.

5 A Celebrity Worked As A Rigger On The Bridge

Though the majority of figures that have taken the spotlight and risen to global fame over the years have been American, there have been a few Australian individuals that have also become worldwide celebrities. One of these is Paul Hogan, who became famous for Crocodile Dundee.

The actor and comedian, who’s now 80 years old, was actually one of the riggers on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Before he became famous, he lived in Granville, West Sydney, and took a job working on the bridge. Who knew one person could be so influential!

4 There Was A Big Party On Opening Day

When the Sydney Harbour Bridge was officially opened to the public, the celebrations were pretty epic. According to the Sydney Harbour Bridge information page, there was a marching pageant which was considerably out of place in a time period that was touched by the economic depression.

Along with the floats in the parade, there was also a sports carnival, a range of exhibitions, a procession of passenger ships that passed beneath the bridge, a gun salute, and of course, fireworks. 50 years later, the anniversary of the bridge was also welcomed with a celebration, but it wasn’t nearly as exciting.

3 The Ribbon-Cutting Was Awkward

The opening day was a festive celebration that made many people happy. But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. There was actually an incredibly awkward moment when it came time to officially cut the ribbon and open the bridge. It was planned that Premier John T. Lang would cut the ribbon, but Captain Francis de Groot of the New Guard decided he wanted to do it instead.

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The Captain cut the ribbon with his sword, stealing the honor from the Premier. He was then arrested and the ribbon was tied back together so the Premier could do his job.

2 You Can Climb It

Most people who visit Sydney are happy enough just to witness the Harbour Bridge from afar and take a few selfies. The sight, after all, is breathtaking and totally free to enjoy. Then there are those who want to climb the bridge. While this is far from free, there are a number of tours you can take that will allow you to climb up the arch of the bridge.

There is a variety of bridge climbs that you can do, ranging from special birthday and wedding climbs to summit and summit express tours. Many of them take a couple of hours and will set you back a couple of hundred dollars. Definitely one of the coolest things to do in Australia!

1 The Views From The Bridge Aren’t Spectacular

Climbing to the top of the bridge will undoubtedly give you a sublime view of the harbor and surrounding city. But just walking across the bridge as a pedestrian isn’t as amazing as you’d think it would be. That’s because there are wire mesh guards along both sides of the pedestrian walkway.

While these were installed as a safety measure, there’s no denying the fact that they ruin the view. If you don’t want to pay to climb to the top of the bridge, it’s better to just view the bridge from the ground.

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