Asia

Australia's Sydney Harbour Bridge turns 80

  • 19 March 2012
  • From the section Asia
File photo of the Sydney Harbour Bridge 26 May, 2009
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Australia's most recognisable landmarks

One of Australia's most recognisable landmarks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, is celebrating its 80th birthday.

The festivities include a special performance by musicians from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra from the top of the 134m-high arch.

The 1,149m bridge, which took almost 10 years to build, was officially opened on 19 March 1932.

The attraction is listed as the world's widest long-span bridge by Guinness World Records.

The 11 musicians from the orchestra's brass section performed for an audience of invited guests, including descendents of some workers who had built the bridge.

Festivities for the ''grand old dame'' of Australia's biggest city also included a 1930s-themed picnic party on Sunday.

The bridge cost £6.25m to build and 16 men reportedly lost their lives in the construction process.

When the bridge - also known locally as ''the coathanger" - was opened, it connected the northern and southern shores of the harbour for the first time.

In its early days about 11,000 vehicles crossed the bridge daily. Now, it sees daily traffic of about 160,000 vehicles, Australian media says.

It is recognised around the world as the backdrop to many fireworks displays, including the annual New Year's Eve celebrations, and tourists flock to see the structure along with the nearby Sydney Opera House.

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