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10 Interesting Facts About the Harbour Bridge

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by Kevin Thai (subscribe)
In late twenties, have a loving wife. A father of one. Works in IT and carries around a DSLR most of the time. You can catch him on his blog and his portfolio
Published May 25th 2013
There are many iconic landmarks within Sydney shores, and in particular the Sydney Harbour Bridge is definitely one of the most recognisable bridges in the world. I am willing to bet there are some quite interesting and fun facts about the Sydney Harbour Bridge you did not know about.

Here are the top 10 interesting facts about the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Photo: JJ Harrison

1. Sydney Harbour Bridge is the largest in the world, however it is not the longest in the world

2. It took six years to complete the build. Construction started in 1924 and the bridge was finally opened in 1932

3. There are in total of six lanes on the Harbour Bridge today, but did you know the two eastern lanes were tram tracks until the 1950s?

4. The Harbour Bridge was painted the colour grey originally because there was no other colour of paint available in such quantities. The amount of paint required to just get the first coat on came to a staggering 272 thousand litres.

5. Around 800 families living in the path of the bridge during construction had their homes demolished and received no compensation.

Image Courtesy of State Library of NSW, Wikimedia Commons

6. The Sydney Harbour Bridge wasn't paid for until 1988. That is almost 60 years after it was opened. The original toll was a mere six pence. Today the toll is obviously higher and it remains because of the cost of bridge maintenance.

7. The top of the arch rises and falls to adjust temperature changes, up to 180 mm. The bridge has hinges to accommodate this.

8. The reported average traffic through the Harbour Bridge was 11 thousand cars per day. It is now reported to be more than 160 thousand!

9. The Harbour Bridge is 49 metres wide. It is the widest single span bridge in the world.

And lastly, but certainly not the least:

10. Premier Jack Lang was supposed to cut the ribbon during its' unveiling to open the bridge, however a man named Captain Francis De Groot from the paramilitary group rode up on his horse cut the ribbon instead with a sword.

Well now that you know some weird and interesting facts about Sydney's most iconic Harbour Bridge, I bet you're wondering well what is there to do, right?

Here are some cool attractions that are on offer on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, that you don't have to be a tourist to just enjoy!

The Harbour Bridge Climb

If you haven't heard of the Harbour Bridge climb, then where have you been? It's perhaps the most commonly known attraction and you can definitely find out more here.

You get to experience spectacular 360 views of Sydney's beautiful harbour side at the tips of the Harbour Bridge, so to speak.

The Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout

The Pylon Lookout is commonly known as the original Sydney lookout as it was the highest viewing point in Sydney when the bridge was first opened. Today you can still head to the lookout for great views and a bit of Sydney's history.
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Why? Find out something new about the Harbour Bridge
Where: Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney
Cost: Prices for activities vary
Your Comment
Some interesting facts there, Kevin. Thanks for sharing.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12594) 2629 days ago
Great article Kevin. My grandad was a ship's pilot when the Sydney Harbour was being built, and he used to tell me that molten hot metal used to drip onto his boat from the welding of the rivets above during the construction of the Harbour Bridge!
by Julie Mundy (score: 3|1738) 2629 days ago
Congrats Kev on your 10th article! awesome stuff :D
by Camille (score: 2|323) 2629 days ago
Heritage! well done
by afous (score: 0|4) 2627 days ago
Entertaining but needs some facts straightened out. It is 8 lanes for traffic, with one reserved for buses and taxis. And the toll isn't just for paying maintenance, it is to provide equity costs with the tunnel, to cover the cost of building the harbour tunnel.
by mkmil (score: 0|3) 2618 days ago
1924 to 1932 is 8 years not 6 years. With the 2 eastern lanes there are 8 traffic lanes on the Bridge not 6. You say the arch rises up to 180mm (millimetres). I believe you mean 180 metres.
by kayem (score: 0|2) 1093 days ago
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