‘’Perspective view of Circular Quay as U 'will appear when the City ‘'Railway and the Sydney Harbour ‘Bridge are completed.

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Published on the occasion of the Exhibition organised by Farmer & Company, Limited, and held in the Exhibition Hall, April 3rd to 9th, 1923.

Officially opened by His Excellency, Sir IValter Davidson, K.C.M.G., Governor of New South IVales. cApril 3rd, 1923.



"X /ANY of the problems confronting the twentieth century are closely related to the need for ensuring an economic distribution of the world’s produce. As one means to that end it is essential to effect every possible improvement in methods of communication. Mechanical skill increases its victories every day; by sea, land and air, there are witnesses to the triumphs of engineering. The Great War demonstrated that good communications are far more important than brilliant strategy or sound tacftics. An efficient transport system is equally imperative in times of peace.

The modern state is so intricate and complex in its organisation that it renders inevitable and necessary the congregation of a large number of individuals in a relatively small area. It then devolves upon mechanical science to devise the best and most expeditious means of transporting each one of those individuals to and from the daily task which constitutes his share of the community life.

Has this been done in Sydney ? There can be but one answer—No.    The city has outgrown its transport

system ; doubt and delay have been allowed to impede every scheme for improvement. But times are changing ; the moment has at last arrived when a sustained effort is being made to commence the building of two vital arteries—the Harbour Bridge, and the City Railway.

BRIDGE-BUILDING is coeval with the known history of tlie world. From the earliest days man has crossed natural obstacles by artificial means. T he gigantic steel construction which projects its mighty arms hundreds of feet over the void, finds its prototype in past civilisations. The ancient Greeks, in 1100 b.c., used the “corbeled arch,” which, strictly speaking, is a form of cantilever construction and not an arch at all.

Railways, on the other hand, are of modern origin; little more than a century has elapsed since Stephenson’s epoch-making invention revolutionised transport. Yet it is a far cry from the “Rocket’’ to the electrically propelled locomotive which represents the maximum efficiency yet obtained.

London pioneered the underground railway system; Paris and New York quickly followed suit. Each of these cities has a subterranean network which extends its ramifications every year.

The New York “Rapid Transit Subway,” which cost approximately 3,000,000 dollars per mile, was built for the same reasons as underlie the Sydney City Railway proposal—namely, the imperative need for relieving the heavily congested road traffic.

Modern bridges are majestic monuments to engineering skill. The Forth Bridge, built on the cantilever principle and completed in 1890, has two central spans of 1710 feet each—the longest in the world—and contains 38,000 tons of steel.

The Brooklyn Suspension Bridge has a central span of 1595^ feet; the Williamsburgh Suspension Bridge, New York, has a span of 1600 feet. Both carry light electric railway traffic.

The Viaur Viaduct, which is of the “arch” type, has a span of 721 feet; the Hell Gate Bridge at New York City, a central “arch” of 977 feet, the largest arch in the world.

The famous Forth Bridge.

TO Francis H. Greenway, Government Architect in 1815, must be accorded the honour of first suggesting a harbour bridge. In 1857 Mr. Peter Henderson made the earliest recorded drawing of a harbour bridge. In 1879 Mr. T. S. Parrott prepared a sketch design of a truss bridge of seven spans.

I11 1880 the Government entered into negotiations with a company which was prepared to build a high-level bridge; but no finality was reached, and the company withdrew its offer.

In 1888 a deputation waited upon Sir Henry Parkes to urge the construction of the Bridge as an undertaking worthy to mark the centenary of the colony. But a Royal Commission appointed in 1890 reported adversely on the scheme.

Legislative Proposals since 1890.

Draft Bills were introduced into Parliament from time to time; all met the same fate. In 1908, a second Royal Commission reported in favour of subways, as opposed to a bridge.

In 1911 the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Public Works rejected the subway scheme, and recommended in its stead the single-span cantilever bridge designed by Air. J. J. C. Brad-field, Chief Engineer, Metropolitan Railway Construction, Public. Works Department.

A Bill embodying this proposal was passed by the Assembly in 1916, but was rejected by the Council. A similar Bill was introduced in 1921, and stood for its second reading in the Council when Parliament was dissolved.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Act, 1922.

The present Enabling Act was passed by both the Assembly and the Council in 1922, and received the Royal Assent on November 24th of that year. Thus, after many years of waiting, legislative sanction has been given to the proposal, and the beginning is in sight; in a decade the Bridge wTill be a reality.

A cantilever bridge of the above type will have shore and harbour arms each 500 feet long, the harbour arms supporting a central span of 600 feet. The distance between the two main piers is therefore 1600 feet.

The three approach spans on either side of the main spans are each 200 feet long, the remainder of the approaches consisting of concrete arches. Such a bridge will carry four railway tracks, a main roadway 57 feet wide, and two footways each 10 feet wide.

A bridge of the suspension type might perhaps be more graceful in appearance, but would be much less rigid under the heavy railway loading contemplated. It would probably cost slightly more than a cantilever bridge.

The buildings are drawn to scale, and will convey some idea of the vastness of the central span.

A bridge of the arch design affords the same accommodation for traffic as the cantilever. The span from shore to shore is 1650 feet, with a clear headway for shipping of 170 feet throughout a length of 600 feet. The top of the arch is 470 feet above sea level.

THE decision to transport traffic to and from North Sydney by means of a bridge, in preference to subways, has had an important bearing on the type of the electric railways which form an integral part of the scheme.

It will now be possible for the greater part of the [Metropolitan Railways to be in the open air. Had the subway scheme been adopted, the railways would have to be mainly underground, owing to the necessity for descending to a great depth beneath the Harbour, in order to provide a safe clearance for shipping.

Increased costs would also have followed a decision to build subways, underground railways being more expensive to construct, maintain, and operate. Other objections arise from the point of view of health, subterranean tunnels generating great heat, and causing much humidity and dust.

A system of deep underground railways would become objectionable in Sydney, owing to climatic conditions. Heat is generated by the traffic more quickly than the lining of the subway and the surrounding soil can conduct it away. The temperature of subways is always rising, slowly but steadily.

As at present proposed, only the railways in the city proper will be underground. Except for other short tunnels which are rendered unavoidable by the topography of the country, the whole of the railways will be in the open, and passengers will enjoy the maximum of fresh air and sunlight.

It is incidental to the entire scheme that it will be possible to effect many improvements in the appearance of the foreshores— where the Bridge will cross the Harbour-—and of those localities in Sydney where the stations are to be situated.

The Harbour foreshores at Lavender Bay and Dawes Point will be improved out of all recognition; Grosvenor Square will be remodelled. These are but a few of the proposed alterations.

The metropolitan and suburban railway scheme is the result of a careful examination of every aspect of the matter by Mr. J. J. C. Bradfield. It is very comprehensive, and will, when completed, undoubtedly meet with the approval of the travelling public, and solve the most pressing of Sydney’s traffic problems.

Design, by Mr. J. J. C. Bradfield, of a cantilever bridge from    Each of the main piers will carry a load of fifty-four thousand

Dawes Point to Milson’s Point. This bridge, when completed,    eight hundred tons, and will be built of concrete, faced with

will be the world’s heaviest steel structure.    granite masonry. All the piers will be constructed first.


Plan of Sydney, showing the route of the City Railway, and the connection of the Northern Suburbs Railway with the existing line at Bay Road Station. The reclaimed portion of Darling Harbour and the proposed wharf accommodation are also clearly marked.

The following railway connections, forming part of the city and suburban transit system, are shown:— Eastern Suburbs Railway, at Hyde Park.

Western Suburbs Railway, at Wynyard Square. Mosman, Manly, Narrabeen—at North Sydney.


THE estimated cost of a cantilever bridge, with approaches to Bay Road and Wynyard Square, is £5,500,000; an arch bridge should be somewhat cheaper. The expense is to be borne by the parties directly benefited.

The Railway Commissioners are to provide two-thirds, that is, the cost of providing four lines of railways from Wynyard Square, across the Harbour, to Bay Road.

Lt is estimated that the profit from these lines will be more than £250,000 during the first year after the bridge is opened.

The remaining one-third is to be raised by a tax of one halfpenny in the pound on the unimproved capital value of land in the City of Sydney, the Municipalities of North Sydney, Mosman, Manly, Lane Cove, and Willoughby, in the Shires of Ku-ring-gai and Warringah, and in that portion of the Shire of Hornsby directly served by the railway system.

The owner of an average suburban residence will thus be called upon to pay a special tax of about twelve or fifteen shillings per annum for fifteen or sixteen years.

It has been computed that the tax will yield sufficient revenue to finance the municipal portion of the cost during construction, and to liquidate its share of the capital cost, including interest, within seven years after the opening of the bridge for traffic.

The retention of the tax for one additional year only would create a fund the interest on which would provide for the maintenance ot the roadways and the annual upkeep of the structure for all time.

The growth of traffic since 1900.

There is every reason to anticipate a very great volume of traffic to and from North Sydney, because statistics of the railway, tramway, and ferry services show that traffic is increasing far more rapidly than the population figures.

In 1901 the rides per head of population—Sydney and suburbs— were 266; in 1910, the figure had increased to 473; in 1920, to 523. This shows that the estimate of revenue to be derived from railway traffic across the Bridge is not exaggerated.

The incidence of the "Harbour Bridge ” Tax.

The tax being imposed this year instead of being deferred until the completion of the Bridge, the taxpayer will be saved interest accrued during construction. This would have amounted to more than £500,(XX); if the taxpayers had only begun to pay off this interest, together with the principal, after the Bridge had been completed, they would have to pay over £1,250,000 more than they will do by beginning to pay this year.

The following table gives details of the assessments, and an estimate of the amount of the tax for this year:—

Shire or






Capital Value

of Tax



City of Sydney




£6 14


Manlv .......






Lane Cove ..






Mosman ......






North Sydney ..






Willoughby ..






Hornsby ......






Ku-ring-gai ..






Warringah ....










£1 5


Structural features of the designs.

Special attention has been given to the architectural design of the gateways, which will be dignified and in keeping with the magnitude of the main structure.

The main piers—as shown above—and the anchor piers will first be constructed. Later the approach piers will be built, and the steel trusses of the approach spans placed in position.

Throughout the building of the bridge no inconvenience will be caused to shipping or ferry traffic.

The main piers will be founded on solid rock about twenty feet below sea-level. The construction of the shore spans—that is, between the main and anchor piers on each side—will be effected by means of “falsework,” or staging, erected from the ground to the level of the piers. Travelling gantries will be used to expedite construction.

The cantilever arms will be built out from the main piers without staging. When these two arms are completed, the central span, 600 feet long, will be floated into position ready for lifting by means of 1000 ton hydraulic jacks.

As the central span has to be lifted to a height of 170 feet above sea level it is estimated that the operation may take three or four days to complete. This span will contain as much steel as the whole of the bridges on the North Coast Railway from West Maitland to Grafton.

THE map shows that population increases most in districts which have a direct rail or tram connection with the city proper. The average population density of the Northern Suburbs is 0.64 per acre; of the City and Southern Suburbs, 6.57 per acre. In other words, the density of Southern to Northern is io.i to 1. This discrepancy has been rendered inevitable by the lack of direct communication between Sydney and the North Shore, in spite of the fact that the lands on the northern side of the Harbour have a much greater altitude, and are more attractive from every point of view for residential purposes. The means of intercommunication have not kept pace with, but are actually hampering, the development of Northern Sydney.

The Sydney and Suburbs of twenty years hence.

THE City Transit Scheme, which includes the Harbour Bridge, the electrification of the suburban railways, and the construction of additional metropolitan and suburban lines, is an integral part of the railway system of the State, and will fill an important place in the railway system of Australia when the gauge is unified.

The whole of the suburban railway service will ultimately be taken around the city, without passengers being obliged to change trains. The inter-State and country express trains can traverse the system without restriction.

All suburbs will have direct and rapid communication with the City. Manly will be within eighteen minutes of the G.P.O.; Narrabeen within half an hour. Eastwood and all stations beyond will be two miles nearer to the G. P.O., via St. Leonards and the Bridge, than via Central Station.

All stations north of Hornsby will be seven miles nearer by rail than at present. Passengers from Bondi Junction will reach the city in twelve minutes; from Newtown Bridge, in thirteen minutes; from Weston Road, Balmain, in ten minutes.

There is a wider aspect to the scheme. It is not difficult to visualise the day when the Trans-Continental Express will start from Rockhampton on its run of 4020 miles to Albany, and will pass through Sydney via the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The same carriages will run right through, steam and electric locomotives only being changed at pre-arranged stopping places; Sydney will become, in a manner of speaking, a wayside station.

The Transcontinental Express can, and will probably, be run electrically from the Queensland border to Harden or beyond, using electricity generated by hydro-electric power stations on the Clarence and Shoalhaven Rivers, and by coal power stations at West Maitland, Sydney, Port Kembla, and other localities. With the Snowy River and other hydro-electric power stations developed, the whole of the railway from Queensland to Albury could be economically run by electricity.

The fulfilment of this splendid scheme rests on the good will and understanding of every member of the community.

The illustrations in this booklet are reproduced from designs and drawings made by Mr. J. J. C. Bradfield, Chief Engineer, Metropolitan Railway Construction, who also supplied the information for the letterpress.

At the termination of this Exhibition, the plans of the Sydney Harbour Bridge are to be exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition, which will be held in London during 1924.

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cApril—19 23.