Australians commemorated the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge’s 90th anniversary on Saturday.
According to the news agency, a slew of events dotted Sydney’s harbour as locals and tourists celebrated the bridge’s ninth decade of service, including a spectacular nighttime lighting of the bridge, a number of pop-up art galleries and museums displaying the bridge’s history, musical and dramatic performances, and a commemorative vintage train ride.
A crimson F1 Vintage Electric Train and a New South Wales (NSW) Waratah Train, the city’s most contemporary train, headed across the bridge in opposing directions to kick off Saturday’s festivities – a symbolic meeting of “old and new.”
Excited children and nostalgic seniors piled into the train as it rolled into the platform just north of Sydney Harbour Bridge for the historic voyage.
Performers and actresses warmed up on the other side of the bridge in anticipation of large audiences. An actor costumed as a newsboy from the 1930s handed out papers and talked about the bridge’s history.
He exclaimed to passers-by, “Extra, extra read everything about it, Sydney Harbour Bridge’s construction utilised over 6 million rivets!”
Plaques containing information and stories about the bridge’s construction and lengthy history bordered the port, and performers added colour to the drab grey skies.
The bridge, which is more than just a tourist attraction, was originally opened to the public on March 19, 1932. It still connects Sydney’s northern and western districts and plays an important role in the growth of the country’s largest city.
David Elliott, the NSW Minister for Transport and Veterans, lauded the bridge as an important element of Sydney’s history in terms of how residents move around the city.
“On this day 90 years ago, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, together with the idea of a modern Sydney, came to life. “On the day the bridge opened, more than 1 million people crossed it in trams, trains, and on foot, which was practically the entire population of Sydney at the time,” Elliot recalled.
Despite the magnitude of the undertaking, it was built and completed at a period of extreme poverty in Australia during the Great Depression, when unemployment reached a startling 32 percent in 1931.