Online Exhibition Showcases Sydney Harbour Bridge At Age 85

The recent opening of Quarry Park at Granite Town on the north bank of the Moruya River paid tribute to Moruya’s towering role in the Sydney Harbour Bridge story. Here, over seven years from 1925, 173,000 huge granite blocks were cut and engineered for the bridge’s massive pylons and piers.

A fascinating new online exhibition celebrating Sydney Harbour Bridge’s 85th birthday is now open for all to enjoy. It features rare archival footage documenting the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the six years leading up to its opening on 19 March 1932.

Film footage starts with preliminary excavations, moving through to construction of the span and final stages. Aerial shots show Sydney Harbour and the surrounding cityscape as the bridge takes shape and emerges as an engineering wonder — then the world's longest arch bridge.

This online exhibition, put together by the National Film and Sound Archive, also recounts the bridge’s controversial opening as Major Francis de Groot slashes the ribbon with his sword, ahead of the official opening by Premier Jack Lang.

Online visitors can explore the many roles that the 'The Coathanger' has played as one of Australia's most recognisable icons.

Listen to songs about the bridge and hear the Queen Mother sing its praises. Paul Hogan uses it as a fabulous prop in his cheeky tourism ad, an eight-year-old boy stands on top of it without safety gear and there's a post-apocalyptic imagining of Sydney from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

The exhibition reminds us that the bridge has been the site for fireworks, marathons, stunts and protests. Watch Greg Norman carry the Olympic torch across the bridge in 2000.

We see how often the bridge appears in film and television. It featured in the Australian film Starstruck and has been destroyed in Hollywood blockbusters such as Pacific Rim, World War Z, and the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

When it comes to the bridge’s pylons, the exhibition explains that they were ‘just for show’, having been added to give the public confidence in the bridge's stability. Nevertheless, those famous ‘made-in-Moruya’ granite towers are integral to the bridge’s profile as one of Australia's most recognisable icons.


The Sydney Harbour Bridge online exhibition is available here: or

There is also a curated collection with extended content at the following links: or

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