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Sydney Harbour Bridge

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Resources for teachers and students

Web resources

Film Australia Constructing Australia: Triumphs and tragedies in building a nation, Part 1, The Bridge.

Teacher’s notes for Part 1, The Bridge.

Film Australia: Digital Archive Teaching Resources

Two-minute video clip excerpt from Henri Mallard’s 1933 film Sydney’s Harbour Bridge shows highlights of the Bridge's construction.

NSW State Records Office – images

Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1923-1933 NRS 12685
This series contains 14 albums of photographs documenting the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the turning of the first sod to the final steps of construction, the official opening and the early use of the bridge by the public. An extensive collection of c. 2000 images.

Picture Australia – images

Picture Australia is an internet-based discovery service that helps you find what digitised images cultural agencies hold in their collections.


The Sydney Harbour Bridge has an extensive entry in the free online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia. It starts with a description of the bridge and then goes into its history – the planning, construction and opening. It also talks about the tidal flow used to cope with peak-hour traffic and the work of maintaining the bridge through the years. The Bridge has been the centre of many of Sydney’s celebrations, especially on New Year’s Eve, and the entry describes many of these events, plus there’s a list of the ‘Bridge effects’ – the special display on the bridge each New Year’s Eve — since 1998.

The Pylon Lookout

If climbing the bridge is a little beyond your capabilities (or budget), you can still experience some great Sydney views from the Pylon Lookout. You’ll find details including opening times, admission costs and directions on this site. In the Exhibition section, you can find out what’s on each level of the pylon, and this includes exhibits and audio visual presentations. In the History section, there’s a great timeline of the pylon’s history, as well as bridge history and facts.

Harbour Bridge - Pylon Lookout activities

Tasks for students visiting the Pylon Lookout Exhibition

Sydney Harbour Bridge Site Study – 7-10 History

A special Resource Kit for teachers has been produced by the Historic Houses Trust in collaboration with History teacher Bill Glennie and Curriculum Support Directorate. It can be downloaded as a PDF.

Historic Houses Trust – Educational Resources: Bridging Sydney Scrapbook

To accompany its Bridging Sydney exhibition to coincide with the Bridge’s 75th anniversary celebrations, HHT invited people to share their personal Bridge stories and recollections in an online scrapbook. The submitted stories have been sorted into the following categories:

Children's Day, 16 March 1932
Contemporary Bridge Stories
Exhibition Comments
Formal Opening Proceedings, 19 March 1932
Harbour Bridge Workers
Message of Goodwill
Opening Stories, 19 March 1932
Pageant Stories
Pre-opening Stories
Related Opening Events Stories
Bridging Sydney

Anniversary celebrations

The formal opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was on 19 March 1932, and it attracted most of the residents of Sydney and many more from around NSW. There were celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary on Sunday 18 March 2007. You can find out all the details of special events by visiting this site.

Bridge facts

The Department of Culture and Recreation page dedicated to the Sydney Harbour Bridge provides a brief history of our ‘coathanger’, as well as some interesting facts and figures, including how much a horse and rider had to pay to cross the bridge and what the average daily traffic was when it opened, compared to today.


On 1 October 1998, the public were first able to climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, thanks to the vision of the founder of BridgeClimb, Paul Cave. The site provides all the information about the two climbs you can do, plus health and safety information and a special section dedicated to people who have a fear of heights. There’s also a section on the bridge itself, with some great photos, bridge facts and FAQs.

Other references

Bradfield JJC 1932, ‘Sydney Harbour Bridge’, The Commonwealth Engineer, March 1932.

Ennis L 1932, ‘The story of the construction of the Bridge’, Official Souvenir and Program of the Opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, NSW Government Printer, Sydney, p 34.

Mackaness C (ed) 2006, Bridging Sydney, Historic Houses Trust, Sydney.

International database and gallery of Structures,

Constructing Australia, ABC TV Digital Video Disc, 2007. Ref: 9398710-724493.

The Construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Videotape produced by the Institution of Engineers, Australia.

Higher School Certificate On-line. Engineering Studies module on Civil Structures

Higher School Certificate On-line. Engineering Studies modules on Lifting Devices

Site that has been developed by the Warren Centre of the University of Sydney

Site that has been developed by University of Sydney Library - Bradfield's Bridge.

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