History

Discover the rich history of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.
1912
Chief Engineer appointed

John Job Crew Bradfield is appointed Chief Engineer of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Metropolitan Railway Construction.

1912
Chief Engineer appointed
1914
Bradfield travels through Great Britain

Bradfield travels through Great Britain, Europe and America to investigate the latest technologies in long-span bridge building and underground railway construction.

1914
Bradfield travels through Great Britain
1922
Prospective tenderers interviewed

Bradfield interviews prospective tenderers and asks if they would be prepared to submit tenders for an arch bridge if given the opportunity. On 24 November, the Sydney Harbour Bridge Act is passed. 

BridgeClimb Sydney’s base under the arches of the southern approach was once used by the RMS as a tow-truck depot and before that by Darrell Lea as a chocolate factory.

1922
Prospective tenderers interviewed
1923
Construction begins

On 28 July, construction of the Bridge is started with the turning of the first sod at North Sydney.

1923
Construction begins
1924
Tender awarded to Dorman Long and Co. Ltd

On 24 March, the tender is awarded to Dorman Long and Co. Ltd., of Middlesbrough, England. By December, clearance begins for site of the workshops.

1924
Tender awarded to Dorman Long and Co. Ltd
Excavations for the foundations commence
Excavations for the foundations commence
1925
Excavations for the foundations commence

On 5 January, excavations for the foundations commence of the approach span piers and bearing pins. By March, foundation stones of the Dawes Point southern abutment tower are set by Governor of NSW; His Excellency Sir Dudley De Chair and Secretary for Public Works and Minister for Railways; the Hon. R.T. Ball M.L.A and by September, the erection of the approach span steelwork begins.

Excavations for the foundations commence
1925
Excavations for the foundations commence
1926
Erection of the arch steelwork begins

Workshops and machinery are ready for production and on 26 October 1928, the erection of the arch steelwork begins.

1926
Erection of the arch steelwork begins
1930
Joining of the arch begins

19 August, the joining of the arch permanently linking the north and south shores of Sydney Harbour begins and is completed on 8 September.

1930
Joining of the arch begins
1931
Road deck completed

The road deck is completed.

1931
Road deck completed
1932
Last stone is set in the north-west pylon

The last stone is set in the north-west pylon and load testing commences of the road deck.

On 16 March, 3 days before the official opening 52,000 school children from schools all over NSW marched across the bridge in celebration of its completion.

1932
Last stone is set in the north-west pylon
1959
Trams are replaced with buses

Trams are replaced with buses and the Department of Main Roads was given responsibility to convert tram lines to road use.

1959
Trams are replaced with buses
1982
50th Anniversary

In 1982 the bridge celebrated the 50th anniversary of its opening. Half a million Australians cross the Bridge for its 50th birthday. For the first time since its opening in 1932, the Bridge is closed to most vehicles (only vintage vehicles allowed!), with only pedestrians allowed full access for the day.

1982
50th Anniversary
1988
Australia's bicentennial celebrations

All finance loans used to construct the Bridge are completed.

Australia's bicentennial celebrations on 26 January attract huge crowds in and around Sydney Harbour. The event saw the biggest parade of sail ever held in Sydney, all magnificently passing under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


A fireworks display, of which the Sydney Harbour Bridge is the focal point, concludes the day’s festivities and sets the framework for the now-infamous Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks.

1988
Australia's bicentennial celebrations
1993
First Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks display

Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks display was launched.  

1993
First Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks display
1998
BridgeClimb Sydney opens its doors!

BridgeClimb Sydney welcomed its first climber on 1 October 1998.  

1998
BridgeClimb Sydney opens its doors!
2000
Walk for Reconciliation
2000
Walk for Reconciliation
BridgeClimb celebrates its 21st birthday

On 1 October 2019, BridgeClimb celebrates its 21st birthday.

During the day, over 2000 visitors, including six original Climb leaders, Climbed the Bridge and enjoyed chocolates from Darrell Lea, which once housed its factory under the arches. 

BridgeClimb also unveiled its brand new logo, a symbol of the company's modern perspective on the globally recognised landmark.

BridgeClimb celebrates its 21st birthday