10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Sydney Harbour Bridge

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Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the most renowned landmarks in Australia, but there is plenty that many people don’t know about it. The focal point of New Year’s Eve fireworks, Vivid Sydney and Australia Day, Sydney Harbour Bridge is an unmissable icon.

Known to locals as the ‘coat hanger’ due to its distinctive arc shape, the impressive construction has captured the hearts of many tourists and locals alike, becoming the centre of attention for many Instagram shots. It’s hard to imagine Sydney Harbour without this vast structure, however the bridge has only been there for just under 90 years! The Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened in 1932 (bonus fact!) and has captivated a global audience ever since.

Whether you are an Australian resident or visitor from afar, here are 10 facts sure to wow your family and friends.

  1. Sydney Harbour Bridge is the World’s largest steel arch bridge!

It’s a record-breaking bridge! Casting a shadow on the rest, Sydney Harbour Bridge is 134 metres above sea level, 1149 metres long and 49 metres wide. It was the widest bridge in the world from opening in 1932 to 2012, when Vancouver Port Mann Bridge was opened, with a width of 65 metres.

  1. Cars used to cross the bridge for six pence.

Slightly more than the $4 it can now cost for a car to cross, six pence was all it cost to get from one side to another. Aside from cars, back in the early years of the bridge, horse and riders could cross for only 3 pence. Luckily for animal safety, horses are not allowed on the bridge now.

  1. The four pylons either side are completely decorative.

Although striking, the two sets of pylons at either end of the bridge serve no purpose – aside from platforms for stunning views. The four 89-metre concrete pylons are faced with granite, quarried from the historic town of Moruya and transported up the coast to Sydney Harbour.

Who’d have thought the huge constructions don’t support any weight?!

  1. All the steel used to build the bridge weighs 52,800 tonnes.

That’s a lot of steel! 79% of the steel was imported from England, with the remaining 21% from Australian sources.

  1. Sydney Harbour Bridge’s initial cost was 4.2 million dollars.

Building the bridge was no mean feat and required lots of funding. Nowadays that’s around $69.9 million! The huge costs took approximately 55 years to pay off.

  1. Before he was famous, Paul Hogan worked on Sydney Harbour Bridge!

Before fame and glory gracing the screens not just in Australia, but around the world, Paul Hogan was a rigger on Sydney Harbour Bridge. Most notable of his accomplishments is that of lead in the Crocodile Dundee film series, but he has many other credits and roles in his career as actor, writer, comedian, and television presenter.

The role of rigger involves using specialised skills with pulley systems to transport materials on the bridge, as well as supporting other workmen and ensuring their safety. There continue to be many roles involved in the upkeep of the bridge, however our next fact looks back at all the people involved in the build.

  1. 1,400 men built the bridge.

Sydney Harbour Bridge took 8 years to build, and across that time, 1,400 men worked on it. Unfortunately, the job was high risk and 16 men lost their lives during construction. Beginning 28th July 1923, construction on the bridge was an arduous task and was completed for opening on 14th March 1932.

  1. There are 8 vehicle lanes on Sydney Harbour Bridge.

…As well as 2 train lines, a footway, and a cycleway. Not all of these transport methods incur a toll charge either – walking is free! Road traffic has come a long way from when the bridge first opened, with horses replaced with bicycles and even more cars.

  1. Over 272,000 litres of paint were used to cover the bridge.

And that is why the bridge is grey! It was the only paint colour available in high enough quantities to do the job. Repainting the bridge can take a long time – even years.

10. The best view of Sydney Harbour Bridge is from the water.

Granted, this isn’t fact. But we at Karisma Cruises think it’s true! Sydney Harbour Bridge looks incredible from all angles, above and below. You can even climb the bridge and get some impressive views of the harbour. Standing on land gets you the photograph everyone else has. But from the water, you can get enviable exclusive views, without anyone crowding the background. Gain a new perspective on the bridge, which proudly stands 134 metres above sea level.

Charter your own private boat for the ultimate sightseeing experience. Beat the crowds and get premium views of the ultimate sights. Indulge in luxury, recline and relax, and take in the best Sydney has to offer. Make it a family day out with fun inflatables. Keep it grown up with BYO packages. Or go all out and celebrate a big event on board Karisma Cruises KI.

Want to experience the most exclusive sightseeing experience and access a unique view of Sydney Harbour Bridge? Get in contact with Karisma Cruises.

See more: Sightseeing Cruises Around Sydney – Everything You Need to Know