The Bridge: The epic story of an Australian icon - the Sydney Harbour Bridge

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Allen & Unwin, Dec 1, 2006 - History - 384 pages
'. . . in world terms, that great arch defined Sydney and for the most part, Australia . . .' - Hon. Paul Keating, former Prime Minister of Australia

When it was finally opened in March 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge had taken almost nine years to complete at a cost of sixteen lives and more than six million pounds. This is the epic story of the most recognisable symbol of Australia, and the people, political wranglings and incredible feats of engineering behind its creation.

The Bridge brings to life the stories of those who built it, dreamt it and were drawn to it: Lennie Gwyther, the nine-year-old boy who made a 900-mile solo journey on horseback to witness the opening; Dr J.J.C. Bradfield who eventually realised his dream of connecting Sydney's two shores; Vince Kelly, the larger-than-life boilermaker who fell from the arch and survived; and many other fascinating characters.

From the bizarre attempt to sabotage the bridge's opening ceremony to its role in the Sydney Olympics, this is a lively history of one of the world's most famous structures.

'Lalor has written a most intimately affectionate version of an epic story' Canberra Times

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Closing the arch
A bridge too far
Bradfields big plans
The first SOd
Work Starts
6The price of progress
Building the bridge
Lang robs the bank de Groot steals the show
The peoples bridge
Bridge lives
Bridge facts
Illustration Credits

Characters and calamities
Design controversy
Lennie Gwythers great adventure

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Page 45 - There ray'd from cities o'er the cultured land, Shall bright canals, and solid roads expand.— There the proud arch, Colossus-like, bestride Yon glittering streams, and bound the chasing tide ; Embellished villas crown the landscape scene, Farms wave with gold, and orchards blush between.
Page 45 - ye rising realms record Time's opening scenes, and Truth's unerring word. — There shall broad streets their stately walls extend, The circus widen, and the crescent bend ; There ray'd from cities o'er the...
Page 29 - We got into Port Jackson early in the afternoon, and had the satisfaction of finding the finest harbour in the world, in which a thousand sail of the line may ride in the most perfect security.
Page 47 - Thus in the event of a bridge being thrown across from Dawes' battery to the North Shore, a town would be built on that Shore ; and would have formed, with these buildings, a -grand whole that indeed would have surprised anyone on entering the harbour ; and have given an idea of strength and magnificence that would have reflected credit and glory on the colony, and the mother country ; and might have been easily accomplished (which I can prove) by the same number of hands that have worse...
Page 29 - At ten o'clock the Sirius, with all the ships, weighed, and in the evening anchored in Port Jackson, with a few trifling damages done to some of them, who had run foul of each other in working out of Botany Bay. Port Jackson I believe to be, without exception, the finest and most extensive harbour in the universe, and at the same time the most secure, being safe from all the winds that blow.
Page 123 - Cribb-lane, but the more significant name of Gallows Hill yet cleaves, I believe, to one of those. But in reality these streets are at least not roads, being scarcely traversable by vehicles, and destitute of all signs of forming, metalling, guttering, sewering. The houses which line them are small and comparatively ancient stone cottages, so unevenly and irregularly built that the doorstep of one residence sometimes approximates to the eaves of another. Where the erections are of wood their dilapidated,...
Page 123 - Durand's-alley may be sketched as a fair sample of the "oldhand haunts" of the colony. And yet, at the outset, the word alley scarcely conveys an idea of the place. It is, at least, a Seventeen Dials of alleys, one running into another, and most of the houses in which are single rooms with earthen floorings, and utterly destitute of windows, chimneys, and doors. Serpent-like gutters, choked with filth, trail before the tottering tenements, and a decayed water-butt, filled with greasy-looking raincatchings...
Page 123 - Rocks," in Sydney, are, in roguery and raffery, as vile as Whitechapel. Scenes of riot and debauchery — sin in its bizarre and most lurid aspects — are daily and nightly enacted in these localities. Here, in these Alsatias, the last attenuated remnant of convictism may be traced — the most hideous developments of old and new world ruffianism are presented.
Page 123 - ... cottages, so unevenly and irregularly built that the doorstep of one residence sometimes approximates to the eaves of another. Where the erections are of wood their dilapidated, filthy appearance is all the more striking. The interior of these abodes usually consists of two dirty bare rusty-coloured chambers, of small size, and yet too large for the scanty articles which constitute their furniture. Of the inhabitants I will not say much: in some cases misfortune may have led and may keep them...
Page 123 - I am acquainted with some of the worst parts of London, such as Jacob's Island, Golden Square, Lambeth, Drury Lane, Gravel Lane, etc., and with the most unhealthy parts of Liverpool, Paris and other towns, but nowhere have I seen such a retreat for filth and vice as "The Rocks

About the author (2006)

Peter Lalor is an award-winning author and journalist. Now a senior sports writer with The Australian, he has contributed articles to The Weekend Australian Magazine, Rolling Stone, Black + White Magazine, Luxury Travel and a number of books and international publications. In his two decades as a journalist he has covered numerous major stories including the Bali bombings, the Hoddle St massacre, the Tampa crisis, the Sydney and Athens Olympics and the Australian cricket team's 2004 tour of India. In 2002 his first book, Blood Stain, was published by Allen & Unwin. It became an instant bestseller and won the 2003 Ned Kelly Award for Best True Crime Writing and is the subject of a Discovery Channel documentary.

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