1932 5s Sydney Harbour Bridge

15/08/2012     Australia

The 1932 5s blue-green Sydney Harbour Bridge is, surely, one of the most iconic stamps to be issued by the Commonwealth of Australia. This beautiful stamp, one of three values issued together showing a ship passing beneath the bridge, was designed by R. A. Harrison, engraved by Frank Manley, and printed by John Ash of Melbourne.

Known locally as "The Coathanger", Sydney Harbour Bridge is the worlds largest steel arch bridge, with it's highest point being 134 meters above the harbour. Designed by Dr. J. C. Bradfield of the NSW Government Public Works Department, the bridge was built by Dorman, Long & Co of Middlesbrough, and formally opened by the premier of New South Wales on 19 March 1932. Construction started in 1924 and took eight years to build at a cost of £4.2 million, with the homes of 800 families being demolished to make way for the bridge and it's approaches.

The bridge carries eight lanes of road traffic with 160,000 vehicles a day, plus two railway lines, as well as bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Right from the outset it was seen that the bridge would have tourist potential, and one of the four pylons can be ascended as a lookout. Following a series of illegal bridge climbs in the 1950's and 1960's, "BridgeClimb" was launched in 1998 to provide daily bridge climbing tours for the suitably intrepid!

Together with the nearby Opera House of 1973, these two structures are by far the most famous landmarks in Sydney, if not in all of Australia, being on a par with the likes of the Statue of Liberty in New York, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris - the 5s "Bridge" stamp easily an equal in the philatelic world.


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