TIMELINES: What iconic Australian bridge opened March 19, 1932?

March 19, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

Monday, Mar. 19, 2012

THEN

March 19, 1932, Sydney, Australia’s iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge—known locally as the ‘coathanger’—is officially opened by Australian Premier Jack Lang with much fanfare, particularly considering it was the height of the Depression. The event included a parade of floats and marching bands, attracting massive crowds, estimated at anywhere between 300,000 and 1 million people. The bridge is not the longest of its type, but it is the world’s widest steel arch bridge, measuring 160 feet (49 meters) across, and the world’s tallest at 429.6 feet (134 meters) from top to water level. The bridge can accommodate eight lanes of traffic, including vehicles, trains, pedestrians, and cyclists.

NOW

Yesterday, many Australians celebrated the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Sydney Harbor Bridge by posting tributes and personal stories related to the bridge on the New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services website. “My parents and grandmother were the first car with the first ticket sold—to cross the harbor bridge. I still have the ticket,” wrote one local. “My Pa was 8 years old when the bridge opened. His family had front row seats for the ribbon cutting because his aunt’s house was affected by the construction,” wrote someone who signed as Frances. And “My mum is Barbara Kermode. She was born on the same day as the Harbor Bridge opened. Her parents named her Barbara Bridget (does that rhyme with something?),” wrote Dave Kermode. “My maternal grandfather worked on the Harbor Bridge as a rigger, in 1930 he was killed, when another crane carrying sheets of metal fell from above and pinned him down, he unfortunately bled to death. His name is on the plaque beside the pylon John A. Faulkner. The bridge brings back memories of him to me,” was signed by Grandad.