Sydney Harbour Bridge Facts for Kids – Best for Kids School Research

Sydney Harbour Bridge is an iconic landmark of Australia that is famous all over the world. Not only does it serve its purpose of connecting the two sides of Sydney Harbour but also is a popular tourist attraction. We have gathered a complete set of Sydney Harbour Bridge Facts for Kids that will answer all the questions that you or your kids might have in mind about this amazing bridge. At the end of the article, there is a historical video in which you can see how the bridge was built.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Facts for Kids

1. What is the Sydney Harbour Bridge

  • The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a famous landmark of Australia which is among the most photographed landmarks in the world.
  • It is a steel through arch bridge.
  • It carries all kinds of traffic including rail, vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
  • It connects the North Shore commercial and residential areas with the Sydney central business district.
  • As for its size, it is the largest steel arch bridge in the world but not the longest.
  • It is known as the Coathanger by the local people due to its arch shape.
  • The Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge both are considered iconic images of Sydney and Australia.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Facts for Kids

2. Where is the Sydney Harbour Bridge – Sydney Harbour Bridge Location

  • Sydney Harbour Bridge is in Sydney, Australia, and connects the Sydney central business district with the North Shore commercial and residential areas.
  • The northern end of the bridge starts from Milsons Point and the southern (central business district) end of the bridge starts at Dawes Point in The Rocks area.
  • It carries the Bradfield Highway, North Shore railway line, one cycleway, and one pedestrian way.

3. When was the Sydney Harbour Bridge Built

  • The Sydney Harbour Bridge was built on 28 July 1923.
  • Construction started on 28 July 1923 and ended on 19 January 1932 the bridge was inaugurated and opened on 19 March 1932.

4. Why was the Sydney Harbour Bridge Built

  • The idea of building a bridge in Sydney Harbour was first conceived as early as 1815.
  • Due to economic, political, and design selection factors, it took about 100 years for the idea to be converted into reality.
  • The purpose of the bridge was to connect the people who lived on both sides of the Sydney harbor.

5. What type of Bridge is the Sydney Harbour Bridge – Sydney Harbour Bridge Structure

  • It is a steel through arch bridge.
  • A through the arch bridge is also known as a through-type arch bridge and a half-through arch bridge.
  • Such a bridge consists of an arch structure where the arch’s base is below the deck and then rises above the deck. The deck crosses through the arch.
  • It is made of reinforced concrete or steel.
  • The central part of the deck is suspended from the arch using tension rods, chains, or cables.

6. Who designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge – Sydney Harbour Bridge Designer

  • The architects who worked on this design include:
    • John Bradfield
      Dr. John Jacob “Job” Crew Bradfield CMG was a prominent Australian engineer who is also known as the father of modern Sydney.
    • Ralph Freeman
      Sir Ralph Freeman was a structural engineer from England. He is well known for his impressive designs of famous bridges of the world.
    • Thomas S. Tait
      Thomas Smith Tait was a well-known Scottish architect. He is well known for his building designs such as the St. Andrew’s House in Scotland, Edinburgh, and the pylons for Sydney Harbour Bridge.

John Bradfield

7. Who built the Sydney Harbour Bridge

  • A firm from England The Dorman Long and Company Limited won the tender for the construction of the Sydney Harbour bridge. The company’s consulting engineer, Sir Ralph Freeman, made the detailed design of the bridge.

8. Sydney Harbour Bridge Measurements

  • How high is the Harbour Bridge – Harbour Bridge Height

    • The height of the Harbour Bridge is 134 m i.e. 440 feet from the top point of the bridge to the water level below.
    • The under deck clearance for shipping is about 49 meters i.e. 161 feet.
    • The Pylons are 89 m i.e. 292 feet high.
  • How Long is the Sydney Harbour Bridge – Sydney Harbour Bridge Length

    • The length of Sydney Harbour Bridge is about 1,149 m i.e. 3770 feet including approach spans.
    • The Arch Span is about 503m i.e. 1650 feet
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge Width

    • The bridge is 48.8 m i.e. 160 feet wide with 8 lanes of traffic, 2 railway tracks (North Shore Line), a dedicated bike, and a pedestrian path.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Lanes

  • Sydney Harbour Bridge Weight

    • The total weight of the bridge is 52,800 tonnes, which includes:
      • 13,800 tonnes of Steelwork
      • 39,000 tonnes in the arch.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Measurements

9. What is the Sydney Harbour Bridge made of – Sydney Harbour Bridge Materials

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is made of:

  • 52,800 tonnes of steel
  • 6 million rivets weighing 3,200 tonnes
  • 95,000 meters cube of concrete.
  • 272,000 liters of paint

10. Sydney Harbour Bridge History

  • In 1788 before the arrival of Europeans in Australia, the Eora people lived on both sides of Sydney Harbour.
  • It was in 1815 when the first time the idea of connecting both sides of the Sydney Harbour through a Bridge was suggested by an architect named Francis Greenway.
  • In 1857, the construction of a cast-iron bridge was proposed from the Milsons Point to Dawes Point by an engineer named Peter Henderson.
  • Then another proposal was made in 1878 for a floating bridge by the Commissioner named WC Bennet.
  • In 1879, TS Parrot designed a high-level bridge.
  • In 1881 a plan for bridge was presented by JE Garbett which was accepted by the Government but was never implemented. A suggestion for a tunnel was also made in the same year.
  • In 1890, a Royal Commission examined eight different proposals including the tunnel and laid down criteria for future proposals.
  • No progress was made till 1900 when a design competition was proposed by Dr.JJC Bradfield who was the Minister for Works.
  • In 1912, Dr.JJC Bradfield was appointed as the Chief Engineer of Metropolitan Railway Station and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • It was in 1922 when the Government of New South Wales invited tenders from worldwide for the construction of the bridge. The tender was won by an English firm Dorman Long and Co Ltd.

Sydney Harbour Bridge History

11. Sydney Harbour Bridge Construction – Building the Sydney Harbour Bridge

  • The cost of construction was around 6.25 million pounds. Which were fully paid till 1988.
  • 800 families were relocated due to construction and their homes were demolished. These families were not compensated for their loss.
  • Thousands of people worked in the construction of the bridge which included carpenters, stonemasons, joiners, architects, draughtsmen, riveters, secretaries, crane drivers, and boilermakers.
  • The construction of the bridge served as the largest employment project in Australia when the world was heading towards an economic depression.
  • Two workshops were set up on the North Shore where steel was fabricated into gliders etc.
  • A 12.2-meter deep foundation was dug for the four main bearings that were supposed to hold the weight of the main span. The foundation was then filled with reinforced high-grade concrete.
  • About 250 stonemasons were involved in the construction of the four 89 meter high pylons, which were made near Moruya from concrete and granite. These were made into 18,000 cubic meters of cut which were then transported using three ships north of Sydney.
  • Work on the main arch started when the approach spans were erected. Two separate half arches were made from each shore, which was supported by 128 cables anchored underground.
  • Creeper cranes were used to lift and position the steel members placed onto barges. These members were fabricated in the workshops.
  • The two half arches from both sides of the harbor were joined on 20 August 1930.
  • Then the steel deck was hung from the arch and was placed completely in the next nine months from the center towards the shore
  • About 6 million rivets were driven through the deck by 21 January 1932.
  • 96 steam locomotives were used for the load test.

sydney harbour at night

12. When was the Sydney Harbour Bridge Opened

  • On Saturday 19 March 1932 the bridge was opened officially and about 0.3 to 1 million gathered for the ceremony.

13. How many People Died Building the Sydney Harbour Bridge

  • A total of 16 men died in the construction of the bridge.
  • Out of these 14 died while working on the bridge and 2 died in the quarries in Moruya.
  • The 16 persons who died:
    • 8 were ironworkers
    • 1 was a carpenter
    • 1 a painter
    • 2 were quarrymen,
    • 4 were laborers
  • One person survived the fall from the bridge to the harbor.

14. How long did it take to build the Sydney Harbor Bridge

  • It took 8 years 5 months 22 days to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

15. Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon

  • There are four 89 meter high pylons of the bridge.
  • The pylons were made from concrete and then faced with granite.
  • The southeast pylon of the bridge has been set for the Pylon Lookout and tourists can get an awesome view of the opera house and harbor from that point.
  • There are 200 steps in total to climb the pylon.
  • The lookout has 360-degree views and a museum on the history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

16. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb – How long does the Bridge Climb Take

  • The bridge climb takes about 3 ½ hours long.
  • 1,332 steps would burn around 50 calories.
  • After the top of the bridge, you get to view a 360-degree view of Sydney, including the Opera House.

17. Interesting Facts about Sydney Harbour Bridge

  • As the bridge is made from steel, it experiences thermal expansion. Due to thermal expansion, the top of the arch rises and falls about 180 mm.
  • When the Bridge was first opened, the toll for a horse and rider was 3 pence and for a car, it was sixpence. Bicycle riders and pedestrians are free to cross.
  • Australia’s well-known celebrity, Paul Hogan, worked as a painter on the bridge.
  • Around 30,000 liters of paint is required for one coat on the bridge.
  • The road surface on the bridge is replaced every 15 years.
  • About more than 100 people work every day to maintain the bridge.

Murad Ali Khan is a researcher, writer & editor, who believes in generating quality content. He leads an awesome team of high school students, teachers & IT graduates who helps him in creating & maintaining educational Websites & Apps.
When not tinkering on the web, Murad enjoys going on hikes, read Latest Science News, plays tennis & hangs out with his friends.

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