Sydney is undeniably the best known and most popular of Australia’s cities, packed full of landmarks and world famous attractions. Connecting the northern and southern shores of Sydney’s harbour, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an instantly recognisable symbol of Australia, affectionately known as the ‘Coathanger’ by locals. Here’s our list of interesting facts about Sydney Harbour Bridge – some you might know and some which may surprise you.


  • The construction of Sydney Harbour Bridge began on 28 July 1923, using the labour of 1,400 workers and was completed eight years later. Approximately six million hand driven rivets and 53,000 tonnes of steel were used in the construction, and 272,000 litres of paint were used.


  • You’ll be familiar with the analogy of painting the Forth Bridge to describe a never-ending task – this was literally the case for the Sydney Harbour Bridge! As the bridge took so long to paint, at one point the team commissioned to paint it were virtually permanently employed as once the last coat of paint was finished, it was time to paint the next one.


  • The bridge plays a part in some of the best annual events in Sydney most notably as the focal point of the New Year’s Eve fireworks spectacular. At the stroke of midnight, specially placed firing points along the bridge shoot thousands of fireworks into the sky. It’s also an integral part of Vivid Sydney a yearly festival of lights, music and the arts.


  • Before finding fame as an actor and comedian, Paul Hogan, the star of Crocodile Dundee, worked as a painter on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


  • When the Sydney Harbour Bridge first opened in 1932, it cost a car 6 old pence to cross over. Today, it costs approximately $4, but to speed up travel times and avoid congestion, there are no toll booths on the bridge; instead there is an electronic tag system with automatic number plate recognition.



  • The four huge granite-faced pylons found at either end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge play no part in supporting the bridge whatsoever, and are there for purely aesthetic reasons.


  • The bridge has eight traffic lanes and two railway lines. There is a pedestrian walkway on the eastern side of the bridge and a cycleway on the western side, making the Sydney Harbour Bridge surely one of the most scenic commuter routes in the world.


  • The arch of the bridge can rise or fall by as much as 18 centimetres (7 inches) due to heating and cooling caused by varying temperatures.


  • Many famous faces have made the BridgeClimb, including Jamie Oliver, Kylie Minogue, Robert de Niro, Prince Harry, and the entire Tottenham Hotspur football team!


We hope you’ve found this information on the Sydney Harbour Bridge interesting, and when you visit Sydney you’ll see the Coathanger in a whole new light.


Image: Greg O’Beirne, available under Creative Commons