Sydney Architecture Images-
Sydney Harbour Bridge
|John Job Crew Bradfield (E)
Construction by Dorman & Long, Ralph Freeman Consulting Engineer
Sir John Burnett & partners Consulting Architects
|Sydney Harbour, between Miller's Point and Milson's Point|
|Design 1922-24: construction from 1923
|Inter-War Art Deco|
|As seen from the Rocks...|
Although the concept of a harbour crossing was
entertained fifty years earlier, it was not until 4 January, 1900 that
tender designs and financial proposals were sought for a ‘North Shore’
bridge to span the harbour. This was despite Sir John Sulman’s
suggestion that a tunnel was a better option.
All of the 24 schemes were criticised and thought unsatisfactory. By 1903, the firm of J Stewart and Co. had submitted one design (of many) for a single arch bridge without pylons, which is very similar to the one built today. However, this too was rejected as being ‘too huge’ and ‘objectionable’ from an artistic point of view.
Over the next fifteen years, under the guidance of one of Australia’s greatest civil structural and transport engineers, JJC Bradfield (1867-1943), the bridge project took shape. Finally, an international competition was held, with Bradfield suggesting that the design should be an arch bridge with granite faced pylons at either end.
The winning design tender by Dorman and Long (recommended by Bradfield himself) proposed the single arch design No. A3 (one of six alternatives) be built from both ends (using cable supports) and joined in the middle. The contract was let in March 1924 . The structural calculations were supervised by Ralph Freeman in London who had left the Cleveland bridge Company in the USA.
As it was an arch design, any design change required a recalculation across the entire structure, and the calculations for the bridge both in tension (cable supported) and compression (as an arch) filled twenty eight books of transcribed calculations. An impressive but high maintenance design, it kept the Dorman and Long factory in Britain busy producing steel, having agreed to an attractive payment plan with the NSW Government.
The social impact of the bridge, its construction areas, and its connecting highways involving the demolition of 800 houses, would be inconceivable today. Built between the wars, the project reduced the unemployment created by the Depression and was the greatest labour intensive project to employ 19th century work practices of sledge and cold chisel.
The span is 1,650 feet to allow unobstructed passage for ships in Sydney Harbour. Of sixteen deaths, seven were workers on the bridge structure itself (139 died during construction of the Brooklyn Bridge). Families living in its path were displaced without compensation.
Rural taxpayers saw ‘the vampire city, of which the bridge is so complete a symbol . . . sucking the life blood of the suffering country’. The mythology of the bridge being a ‘symbol not only for the city, but for the aspirations of the nation’ blinded most people to the injustices.
Information appearing in this section is reproduced from Sydney Architecture, with the kind permission of the author, Graham Jahn, a well known Sydney architect and former City of Sydney Councillor. Sydney Architecture, rrp $35.00, is available from all good book stores or from the publisher, Watermark Press, Telephone: 02 9818 5677.
Official name Sydney Harbour Bridge
Carries Motor vehicles, trains, trams (until 1958), pedestrians and bicycles
Crosses Port Jackson
Longest span 503 metres (1650 ft)
Total length 1149 metres (3770 ft)
Width 49 metres (161 ft)
Clearance below 49 metres (161 ft) at mid-span
Opening date March 19, 1932
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the major landmarks of Sydney, Australia, connecting the Sydney central business district (CBD) with the North Shore commercial and residential areas, both of which are located on Sydney Harbour. The dramatic water vista of the bridge together with the nearby Sydney Opera House is an iconic image of both Sydney and Australia. The bridge is affectionately known as "the Coathanger" on account of its arch-based design.
The bridge was the city's tallest structure until 1967. It is the widest bridge in the world. It is the world's largest single-arch bridge, but not the longest (as millions of Australian school children were erroneously taught). The bridge was officially opened on 19 March 1932. The Bayonne Bridge in the United States, opened four months earlier on 15 November 1931, is 70 cm (or 2.3 feet) longer.
The design bears a marked resemblance to that of the New York Hell Gate Bridge. Its design was used as a basis for the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, which is almost identical, except to a smaller scale.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is founded on sandstone rock excavated to a depth of 12 m and filled with special reinforced high-grade concrete. Each half arch was built out from either side of the harbour, using a creeper crane that slowly progressed up the arch lifting steelwork into position as it went. The half arches were secured by wire ropes, anchored in inclined U-shaped tunnels cut into the rock. Each anchorage consisted of 128 wire ropes of 70 mm diameter, about 366 m long. The steelwork from the fabricating shops was placed onto barges, towed into position on the harbour and lifted up by creeper crane. When erection reached mid-span, the critical operation of closing the arch was achieved by lowering out on the wire rope anchorages to connect at bottom chord level, following which the required load was jacked into the top chord to make the arch two-pinned. The temporary wire rope anchorages were then removed. After the spans were connected, a deck was put in place. The deck was hung from the arch and built from the centre out so that they would not have to move the cranes.
The four impressive, decorative 89-metre high pylons are made of concrete, faced with granite. Three ships were specifically built to carry the 17,000 cubic metres of cut, dressed and numbered granite blocks, 300km north to Sydney.
Approximately 6 million rivets were used to make the bridge. In the 1920's welding was too unreliable and nuts and bolts were quite expensive so rivets were used. Rivets were heated to white-hot state in small furnaces located across the bridge, thrown to a catcher who passed them to the riveters. One man held the rivet firm while another hammered the other end with a pneumatic hammer. This forced the hot soft metal to mushroom out, covering the hole. Steel plates were transferred from barge to bridge by crane, often with a 'dogman' travelling with the load and then returning for the next 'delivery'. Plates were bolted into position as a temporary measure until being riveted together. The bridge was painted grey because grey is the closest colour to the natural colour of steel. In addition, it does not show dirt and dust. 485,000 square metres steelwork had to be painted which required 272,000 litres of paint to give the bridge its initial three coats. Constant inspections of the steelwork are made and painting is carried out on an 'as required' basis.
In February 1932 the Bridge was test loaded using up to 96 steam locomotives. The official opening day on Saturday 19 March 1932 was a momentous occasion, drawing remarkable crowds. The NSW Premier, the J. Lang, officially declared the Bridge open. However, when he was about to open the bridge by cutting the ribbon, Captain Francis de Groot moved forward on a horse and slashed the ribbon with a sword, declaring the bridge to be open "in the name of the people of New South Wales". He was promptly arrested and later convicted of offensive behaviour. The ribbon itself was retied and Lang continued to perform the opening ceremony. The celebrations continued with a gun-salute, a procession of passenger ships under the bridge, a fly-past, fireworks, cavalcade of decorated floats, marching groups and bands.
Opening of the bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge walk
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
Sydney Harbour Bridge walk... done! I slept very well and slept through most of the people in my dorm coming and going, but still felt a bit tired, even after a shower! I had a cheapo breakfast of cereals and toast in the cafe next to the hostel and got the train to Circular Quay, from where I walked to the office for the bridge walk. The office and organisation for this activity are a highly professional outfit. Having filled in the paperwork for liability and certificates, my group and I were fitted for the rather fetching jump suits they use, and shown how the safety harness and radio gear all works. We had a brief taster of the bridge ladders and steps on an indoor section and were made clear of their rules for the climb and then were off for the embarrasing part of the walk, along the street to the base of the bridge, all dressed like idiots... lol The girl that led the walk was good fun and had plenty of info about the bridge and surrounding area and sights to pass on. The walk is not a particularly tough undertaking, although the ladder sections were slower for some people. It is all extremely safe, with an in genius harness system that you attach to, that you simply cannot get back off of until you come back down the other side of the bridge. All the way up the bridge are fitted stairs to make it easy for the climb up. The views from the top were fantastic, and the guide remarked that it was one of the clearest days of the year and that she had never been able to see the Blue Mountains in the distance before on a climb, awesome! They take lots of pictures of you, which they later try to sell to you at extortionate rates, so I played along mostly for my own amusement, knowing full well that the cost of the climb itself was already enough money thank you very much! The whole thing, including 'training', takes about three and half hours and when you get back to the office you have to endure the cheesy, American style, round of applause for yourself on your special day... yee-fucking-haw! After getting back into our own gear, we each received a certificate and a complimentary group photo, and then went through to the shop to see the other photos at a stupid cost. After the bridge walk I went up to the Tower museum for a look, as you can climb the stone tower at the end of the bridge and are allowed to take your camera and take some shots from there, which affords a pretty good view of the harbour. I then went and had some lunch and then took a walk around the Royal Botanical Gardens behind the Opera house which were wuite nice and gave a superb view of the bridge and opera house from a different point in the harbour. I then took a ferry to Manly beach for a quick look there, before heading back to take in the view of the city approach at night, which was very cool. It was a bit cold though, mornings and evenings are a bit windy at the moment, and on the section near the open sea, it was very windy on the ferry... Off for more quality sleep as I'm getting up at 7am tomorrow for a day trip to the Blue Mountains... managed to doze off about midnight in the end...
Thanks to http://journals.worldnomads.com/sl0ggs/
Official site- http://www.bridgeclimb.com/
When the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened by the Premier of
New South Wales, Mr Jack Lang on the 19th March 1932, the Harbour Bridge
was one of the greatest engineering masterpieces of its time. Port
Jackson (Sydney Harbour) had an impressive and instantly famous landmark
made in a style that reflects the end of an industrial era.
The bridge joined the city of Sydney (at Dawes Point) to the North Shore (at Milsons Point) obviating the need to travel by ferry or make a substantial trip around the harbour foreshores towards Parramatta and back.
As early as 1815 Francis Greenway proposed the building of a bridge from Dawes Point to the northern shore of Port Jackson, to Governor Macquarie.
Many years were to pass before the vision became a reality. Around the time of Federation there was a well-recognised need for a bridge crossing and design submissions were invited in 1900, all were deemed inappropriate or unsatisfactory for one reason or another and the momentum lapsed.
Serious initiatives started after the end of World War I. Tenders were called for in 1923 either an arch or a cantilever bridge would meet the requirements. Dr J.J.C. Bradfield was responsible for setting the parameters of the tendering process. He and his staff were to ultimately oversee the entire bridge design and building process. The Bradfield Highway, which is the paved section of the bridge and its approaches, still bears his name to this day.
The tender of Dorman Long and Co. Ltd., of Middlesborough England for an arch bridge was accepted. The Dorman Long and Co's Consulting Engineer, Sir Ralph Freeman, carried out the detailed design of the bridge. The design was similar to New York's Hell Gate Bridge built 1916. The Hell Gate Bridge was a little shorter in span but was much lighter in construction as it only carried four railway tracks.
Work first began on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1924, with construction of the bridge approaches and the approach spans. As many as 800 families living in its path were displaced without compensation.
During this time the foundations on either side of the harbour were prepared to take four steel thrust bearings.
The foundations, which are 12 metres (39 feet) deep, are set in sandstone. Anchoring tunnels are 36 metres (118 feet) long and dug into the bedrock at each end. Large bolts and nuts are used to tie the thrust bearings onto their supports.
It is interesting to note that the four pylons are actually placed mainly for aesthetic reasons on each corner of the bridge. The pylons are about 90 metres above the average water level. The Sydney Harbour Bridge design had to perform functionally and be pleasing to the eye as well. The pylons are made of concrete that is covered by grey granite from Moruya on the south coast of New South Wales.
When the bridge was constructed the use of reinforced concrete was in its infancy. Today the Harbour Bridge ranks second or third in the world in terms of span but it is still considered to be the greatest of its type in the world because of its load bearing capacity and width of nearly 50 metres.
Known locally as the 'coat hanger' and now more commonly as 'the bridge', the bridge was manufactured in sections on a site on the western side of Milsons Point. About eighty percent of the steel came from England while the remaining twenty percent was manufactured here in Australia. The construction of the arch was begun from both sides of the harbour with cable support for the arches. In 1930 the two arches met. The construction of the deck then proceeded from the middle outwards towards each shore as this was easier than moving the construction cranes back to the Pylons.
In 1932, when it was opened, it was the longest single span steel arch bridge in the world. The main span is 503 meters (1,650 feet) across it consumed more than 52,800 tonnes of silicon based steel trusses. The plates of steel are held together by around 6 million steel rivets. It originally carried road transport, trains and pedestrians. From start to finish, the bridge and its approaches it took eight years to complete. This included a period of maintenance that extended for a six months after the opening. Maintenance after the completion became and still is, the responsibility of the New South Wales State Government.
The two eastern lanes were originally tram tracks . They were converted when Sydney abolished its trams in the 1950s. Today it carries eight traffic lanes and two railroad lines. One of the eastern lanes is now a dedicated bus lane. The bridge is often crowded, and in 1992 the Harbour Tunnel was opened to help carry the traffic load. The traffic levels were substantially reduced compared to the period before the tunnel opened.
In 1932, the original cost of the Bridge was several million Australian pounds. This debt was eventually paid off in 1988 but the toll was then used for maintenance.
Before the Harbour Bridge opened, it was completely packed with railway carriages, trams and buses to stress test its load bearing capacity. While it has had many traffic jams since and half a million people walked across it on its 50th anniversary it has probably never been asked to carry that much of a load since.
The initial toll charged for a car was 6 pence while a horse and rider was charged 3 pence. Today the toll costs $3.00 but is only charged when travelling to the South as an efficiency measure to speed up traffic flow. More than 160,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day, before the Harbour Tunnel was opened this figure was as high as 182,000 and would be much higher today if it were not for the Harbour Tunnel.
Today it carries eight traffic lanes and two railroad lines. There is a pedestrian pathway on the eastern side of the bridge and a cycleway on the western side of the bridge. Pedestrians, horses and push bikes are not allowed on the bridge roadways. The roadway is about 51 meters above the water while the highest point of the arch is 135 meters above the average harbour water level.
Located in the south-eastern pylon (overlooking Circular Quay) is a lookout with 360 degree views and museum covering the history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are about 200 steps to get to the top but the views are some of the best in Sydney.
Special thanks to http://www.harbourbridge.com.au
Flying under the Bridge
It is reported that in 1943 a flight of 24 RAAF Wirraways flew under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with one of the pilots changing his flight path at the last moment to go over the top of the Bridge only just clearing it in time.
There is another story of the Americans flying under the Harbour Bridge, with one Kittyhawk flying under in about February 1942 and two Kittyhawks in May 1942. Again in May 1942, the Dutch flew three aircraft of the 18 Squadron NEI-AF under the Bridge in formation and then circled back to do another flight under the Bridge in a single line.
On 22 October 1943, Flight Lieutenant Peter Isaacson and his crew flew the huge Australian Lancaster, Q for Queenie, under the Harbour Bridge during a tour around Australia to raise funds for the war effort.
Climbing the Bridge
BridgeClimb started in 1998 and attracts tourists and locals alike to climb the monument. After climbing through catwalks and up ladders and stairs, the view is absolutely breathtaking. There are day, twilight and night climbs and a group of twelve will leave for a climb every ten minutes. The safety precautions taken include a blood alcohol reading and a Climb Simulator, which shows Climbers the climbing conditions that might be experienced on the Bridge.
By all reports, BridgeClimb is fantastic and one of the 'must dos' while on a trip to Sydney with royals and celebrities such as Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, Matt Damon, Hugo Weaving, Sarah Ferguson, Cathy Freeman, Kylie Minogue and Kostya Tszyu all having done the Climb.
The Pylon Lookout
The Pylon Lookout is at the southern eastern end of the Bridge (the Rocks end) and visitors can go and see an exhibition about the Bridge and well as see the spectacular 360° view from the top of the pylon.
Did you know...
The top of the arch actually rises and falls about 180 mm due to changes in the temperature!
In 1932, 96 steam locomotives were positioned in various ways to test the load capacity of the Bridge.
One of Australia's well known celebrities, Paul Hogan, was one of the painters contracted to give the Bridge another 270,000 litre coat of paint.
When the Bridge opened, it cost a horse and rider three pence and a car six pence to cross. Now horse and riders cannot cross, you can bicycle across in a special lane and walk across the Bridge for free. Cars cost around A$3.30 for a southbound trip and it is free to go northbound.
In 1932, the average annual daily traffic was around 11,000 and now it is around 160,000 vehicles per day.
The Sydney Harbour Tunnel was built to cope with ever increasing harbour traffic problems and opened in August 1992 . It is 2.3 kilometres long and cost A$554 million to construct. It is strong enough to withstand the impact of eathquakes and sinking ships. It carries around 75,000 vehicles a day.
The Tyne Bridge in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England is a much smaller version of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, its length measuring 397 metres and the main span 161 metres. There is much controversy surrounding the two bridges and which one may have been a model for the other. Although the Tyne Bridge was opened in 1928 - four years before the Harbour Bridge was opened - the tender was submitted and contract signed for the Sydney Harbour Bridge in March 1924. The designs for the Harbour Bridge were put forward by Dr. J C Bradfield before this date. The tender for the Tyne Bridge was accepted and contract signed later that year in December 1924.