CONSTRUCTION and planning of the BRIDGE.
Work on the bridge
Construction on the bridge began at both ends and at the same time. It was gradually built inwards across the harbour, where it meet in the middle about 5 years later. While the light and heavy workshops work were being built at North Sydney, work had already begun on the approach spans (five at each end of the bridge) and all supported on pairs of concrete piers.
The man who prepared the general design of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was John Bradfield. Bradfield was a man of great talent and ability. He was a man who embraced life with enormous energy and enthusiasm.
Bradfield won an international competition, which led to his design being chosen for the bridge. He suggested that the design should be an arch bridge with granite-faced pylons at either end.
Bradfield's friendly attitude towards the workers made him very popular.
The bridge was built by 1400 workers. This was good because it provided jobs for the unemployed, which was needed during the Great Depression.
Working on the bridge was not safe for the men, as there was no safety rails or net, little or no scaffolding, and no helmets. Many men died working on the bridge but still the men were proud to work without these 'soft luxuries'. Altogether there were 16 workers killed.
When the bridge was finished the workers jobs came to an end. Many ended up on the dole. Some metal workers found work in Papua New Guinea, building gold dredges.
It was a shame to see this happen to the hard working Aussie battlers of the great depression but this could not be avoided, as there was no work to be supplied.