The Sydney Harbour Bridge this year celebrated its historic 75th birthday. Whilst it has been a figure on the Sydney skyline for three quarters of a century, it continues to inspire awe from Sydneysiders and tourists alike. It is a national icon and world-famous.
The Bridge, released in time to mark this anniversary, is a comprehensive look at the story of the bridge from its beginnings as a seemingly unattainable dream, to the processes of planning and construction, its somewhat dramatic opening in 1932 and its story in the years since then.
This is very readable history. Author Peter Lalor blends factual recount with personal stories – eye witness accounts, letters and documents and, importantly, plenty of photographic records.
The human side of the construction of the bridge is a key element of the book – including the stories of John Bradfield, the engineer who was the chief driving force behind the government’s decision to build the bridge, the people displaced by the resumption and clearing of land on either side of the harbour, the men who worked on the construction of the bridge, even the people who attended the bridge’s opening. Some of these stories – such as that of Captain de Groot and his horse – have been told before. Others will be new to readers. Combined, however, they offer a well-rounded and intriguing story.
An outstanding non fiction offering.
The Bridge, by Peter Lalor
Allen & Unwin, 2006