10 Things You Don't Know about the Sydney Harbour BridgeJuly 29, 2014

If not for the Sydney Opera House, then the Sydney Harbour Bridge would be overlooked. Sydneysiders would object to this, as the panorama of both structures is the iconic image of Australia. But this would be Port Jackson. It would be unfair to compare the Bridge, as what most Aussies called it, to the Golden Gate Bridge. It's a fine piece of work, immoratlized in countless movies. (Golden Gate last appeared in Gareth Edwards's "Godzilla", where the military made its last stand against three huge monsters. Golden Gate ended up in tatters.) You only need to wait for the sun to go down to figure out what the Sydneysiders are talking about, and it's not about a good photograph. So to appreciate the Bridge more, here are ten tidbits that will make you go there in a jiffy: 1. Construction began on the Sydney Harbour Bridge on July 29, 1923. It took eight years and 1,400 men to complete. 2. The inauguration event was supposed to be highlighted with the ceremonial ribbon cutting, but what happened in the Bridge on March 19, 1932 turned out be more memorable. Captain Francis de Groot (of the New Guard paramilitary group) cut the ribbon with a sword. No one could beat that. 3. The people managing the Bridge may be superstitious. After its opening, the people were allowed to walk across the deck of the bridge. It was done again in 1982, which was fifty years afterwards. The next one will be in 2032. 4. If you're thinking that the structure will give in to the weight of vehicles passing by, then you're dead wrong. The Bridge was load tested with 96 steam locomotives in various configurations. Do the math if you still have doubts. 5. The Bridge is the world's largest steel bridge, but not the longest. 6. The Sydney Harbour Bridge has been featured in stamps many times, the 2000 Summer Games issue in particular. Consider yourself lucky if you have a stamp commemorating its opening. But it must be in good condition. 7. The Bridge has been part of major celebrations from Bicentennial Australia Day to New Year's Eve. Numerous events were also held to commemorate its 75th and 80th anniversary of its opening. Expect another big one on 2017, which marks its 85th year. 8. It is nicknamed the Coathanger because of its arch-based design. Writers like James Michener liked it, having composed poetic descriptions about it. 9. It was 1998 when the bridge climb began. The view from the top is breathtaking, especially during night time. The best time to do it is during the final days of May and the early part of June, when Vivid Sydney is held. One can witness the changing of the light colours in the nearby Opera House. 10. Sandy and Rosey must be commended for keeping the depths of the Bridge clean. They're not divers, but robots who are confined underwater for this never-ending task. Perhaps others are not keen to be part of the maintenance team.

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