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The purpose of this series was to document in photographic form the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the turning of the first sod and the initial acts of construction to the official opening and early use of the bridge.
The series consists of black and white photographs which were developed from glass negatives and pasted into large albums. One volume is devoted to the southern approach, two to the northern approach and 11 to the main Bridge. Each photograph is captioned and almost all are precisely dated with the caption if the date is not incorporated into the image.
The volumes devoted to the approaches include the environs of the approaches (including the built environment and copies of historical photographs), demolition and excavation work, the construction of the road and railway approaches, stairways with their architectural details, and lighting. The tollhouses and toll bars are shown as are the setting of the foundation stone and the erection of the various workshops.
The volumes which document the main bridge show the erection of the retaining wall and abutment towers, pylons, the steel castings, main bearings and spans, the cross girders, the road way deck, railway, tramway and footway.
There are many photographs of equipment both idle and in use. Examples of these include cranes of various sizes; plate mangle; hydraulic riveter; angle cropper; drilling machines; creeper crane; power pumps; hydraulic jacks and the painting gantry. Some of the components were prepared off-site and there are photographs of these in construction and of their delivery to the bridge. The granite slabs were quarried in Moruya NSW and the quarrying, cutting and finishing of the blocks are shown together with a number of photographs of the town.
Some photographs show the details of the construction including component parts and close up photographs of the detail including the riveting and finishing. Some vital tests carried out during construction are illustrated such as those for strain, load bearing, and shrinkage. There are many views of the entire bridge both during construction and after completion. Staff, contractors and government officials are photographed on the bridge both working and inspecting the progress, and being formally photographed.
There are many photographs of school children crossing the bridge days before its opening, and of the first trams, trains and private vehicles to use the bridge. The official opening celebrations and ceremony included water and aerial pageants, a procession, delivery of the good will message, search light and fireworks display. The spectators are shown as is the public crossing the bridge which followed the ceremony.
Photographs cover the construction of the City railway stations at Town Hall, Wynyard , Milsons Point and North Sydney and their environs. Other city buildings and sites are shown in particular the cenotaph which was officially opened in 1927 and constructed from granite quarried at Moruya as was that used in the Bridge.
Under State Records Access Direction 413 some photographs in this collection are closed to public access.
This record series, which was handed to the Archives Authority of NSW on 11 June 1968 by the Bradfield family, was apparently an archival estray.
The images in this series have been digitised.
Item lists are available electronically