The attentive reader may recall that I have previously climbed Auckland harbour bridge. While in Sydney, off I went up its much more ambitious, iconic and grander cousin.
It is interesting to note that over 6 million rivets were used in construction. The two different types of steel came from either Middlesbrough in England (as for Auckland) or from Newcastle in Australia. Workers had no safety harnesses and 16 people died relating to construction…although not many from falling off. Workers who were hammering the white hot rivets into place had a bucket in which to catch them (!!)…you don’t try to make a diving catch in that scenario! The towers at the end are largely ornamental.
If you fall off from the top, it would take around 5 seconds to hit the water (134m from the top). During construction someone fell 50 metres into the harbour and went in feet first. His boots were ripped on impact and found halfway up his thighs and he survived with just 2 broken ribs. Lucky man.
It seems that whereas in NZ, they built a bridge and aimed small and tried to save money (and then had to expand the bridge), in Sydney, they built a bridge and aimed large to put Australia on the map. Sure, a tunnel has since been built as well but what a sight of the surroundings you get when you are up there. It really is a superb tourist activity and worth the expense.
Both bridges are interesting for different reasons, but this one is a better overall experience in my opinion.