Constructing Australia: The Bridge


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2007, 55 Minutes

Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, this is the definitive story of how a giant steel arch resembling a coat hanger became one of world's most recognised structures and an engineering triumph.

Massive, majestic and breathtaking, the bridge was the greatest engineering challenge of its day anywhere on earth. Nothing like it had ever been attempted in Australia. It not only altered the life of a city forever, it became a symbol of a bold young nation and a changing world.

And it was certainly visionary. At a time when there were only 30,000 cars and trucks in the entire city, the Bridge could carry 6000 vehicles and 160 trains every hour and all of Sydney's people could  have easily crossed it in a single afternoon. With its graceful arch rising high above the famous harbour, it remained the tallest structure in the city until the late 1960s.

The tale of its construction combines immense practical problems and intense human drama; personal conflicts and political intrigues. Completed during the dark days of the Great Depression and opened in March 1932, it is the legacy of a fateful partnership between two very different men—a brilliant engineer, JJC Bradfield and a maverick  politician, Jack Lang—who shared a relentless ambition to create "the people's bridge". Along the way, they managed to stir up more than  one hornets' nest, both at home and in Britain.

Today, it is impossible to imagine Sydney, and Australia, without it, but as the film reveals, the bridge the world has come to love may not only have been utterly different, but may never have been built at all.

A Film Australia Making History Production in association with Real Pictures. Developed with the assistance of the New South Wales Film and Television Office. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.


Constructing Australia SERIES

FREE Teachers' Notes - Download here


Director: Simon Nasht

Narrator: Wendy Hughes

Year: 2007

Running Time: 55 Minutes

Classification: PG. Consumer advice: Mild themes

Curriculum Links: Australian History; SOSE; Australian Studies; Civics and Citizenship; Technology & Applied Design; Town Planning; Architecture; Politics; NSW English Stage 6 'The Way We Worked' - exploring our past through industrial events in Australia; Media.


Calling Sydney Harbour

SKU 200520301
Brand Film Australia

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