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State Library celebrates the Sydney Harbour Bridge turning 85

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The State Library of NSW is celebrating 85 years of the Sydney Harbour Bridge by releasing its entire collection of unedited historic interviews with the fascinating people who built the iconic Australian landmark.

For the first time the Sydney Harbour Bridge builders oral history collection will be made available online using the Library’s innovative new tool Amplify, developed by the State Library in partnership with the New York Public Library.

“These interviews are part of the State Library’s collection of over 13,000 hours of digital sound recordings. Amplify gives the public unparalleled access to our extensive oral history collection and enables digital volunteers to help us transcribe the interviews. This anniversary is the perfect opportunity to make them freely available for all to explore and transcribe,” says Lucy Milne, acting NSW State Librarian and Chief Executive.

Work on the Sydney Harbour Bridge commenced in 1923 and construction was completed by early 1932. Over eight years 1,400 builders worked on the bridge and it cost the NSW Government nearly 10 million Australian pounds. On 19 January 1932, the first train made its way across the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of load testing. The bridge was officially opened in March 1932.

The State Library hopes the anniversary will inspire people from across Australia and around the world to explore the amazing stories on Amplify and to get involved in the important task of transcribing the interviews as digital volunteers.

Download full media release (PDF 109 KB)