Mon, March 19, 2012
World > Asia-Pacific

Sydney Harbour Bridge turns 80

2012-03-19 07:35:45 GMT2012-03-19 15:35:45(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

A group of Sydney Symphony Orchestra musicians scaled the city's Harbour Bridge (pictured in 2010) for an exclusive concert on Monday to celebrate the sweeping structure's 80th birthday

Guests arrive for Breakfast on the Bridge in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010. The famous bridge turned 80 on Monday, March 19, 2012.

Climbers ascend the Sydney Harbour Bridge at dawn on October 10, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. The famous bridge turned 80 on Monday, March 19, 2012. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The sky above the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the city center lights up at midnight during the fireworks display to celebrate the New Year's Day in Sydney, Australia, 2011. March 19, 2012 is the 80th anniversary of the bridge opening.

In this photograph provided by Crave Sydney International Food Festival - A view of Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge on Sunday, October 10, 2010. 7,500 people enjoyed “Breakfast on the Bridge” as part of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival, a month long celebration offering extraordinary food experiences in unique Sydney locations. (Crave Sydney International Food Festival via AP Images)

A group of Sydney Symphony Orchestra musicians scaled the city's Harbour Bridge for an exclusive concert on Monday to celebrate the sweeping structure's 80th birthday.

Known as the "Grand Old Dame" of Sydney, or more colloquially "The Coathanger", the bridge was officially opened to traffic on March 19, 1932, joining the harbour's northern and southern shores for the first time.

It was an ambitious project that took eight years to complete, with construction of the 1,149-metre (3,770-foot) span claiming the lives of 16 men.

To celebrate its 80th anniversary, 11 brass section musicians from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra -- also turning 80 this year -- climbed to the top of the bridge's 134-metre high arch to perform for a select group of guests.

"The musicians performed Aaron Copland's 'Fanfare for the Common Man' plus the theme music from the movie Chariots of Fire," a Symphony spokeswoman said.

The small audience featured seven "Bridge heroes" with a special connection to the structure, according to event organisers.

They included descendants of the bridge's engineer J.J.C Bradfield, a man whose uncle placed the very first rivet, and Joan McDonald, whose birth certificate reads "Place of Birth: in ambulance on Sydney Harbour Bridge".

Ralph Bradfield Bonner, born on the bridge's 1932 opening day and named after its chief engineer, also scaled the arch, along with Lloyd Poulter -- the bridge's most frequent climber -- who celebrated his 46th trip to the top.

The bridge is one of Sydney's most-photographed and best-known landmarks and is often the centrepiece of fireworks displays in the city.

"Today we celebrate this engineering masterwork we're so privileged to share with the whole world," said Edward Owens from BridgeClimb, which ran the event.

"We look forward to sharing many more birthdays with the Sydney Harbour Bridge."

(Agencies)

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