This Is What Sydney Looked Like Before The Harbour Bridge Was Built

The Coathanger made things SO much easier.

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Before the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built, getting from the south of the city to the north was a real hassle.

Sands & Kenny / State Library of NSW / Via sl.nsw.gov.au

A map of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River from 1858.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge opened to the public in 1932. Prior to that people wanting to cross the harbour from the southern to the northern suburbs relied on ferries and boats.

Melvin Vaniman / State Library of NSW / Via Flickr: statelibraryofnsw

A view of Circular Quay with Bennelong Point (left) - the future site of the Sydney Opera House - and Dawes Point (right), taken from the north side of the harbour in 1904.

Fondly known by locals as The Coathanger, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is 85 years old.

American & Australasian Photographic Company / State Library of NSW / Via Flickr: statelibraryofnsw

People looking at Sydney Harbour from Mrs Macquarie's Chair in the Royal Botanic Gardens, circa 1870-1875.

Which means there are people alive today who were around when you couldn't just drive from Sydney's south to its north. In 1932 the horse and cart was fading into history; cars and buses were gaining in popularity, but most people got around in trams and trains.

Sam Hood / State Library of NSW / Via Flickr: statelibraryofnsw

Horse-drawn traffic seen on Bridge Street, a block from Circular Quay, circa 1912.

Because there was an entire community already living on the other side of the water.

State Library of NSW / Via Flickr: statelibraryofnsw

A view of Milsons Point and Kirribilli taken from the south side at Dawes Point in 1921.

A lot of families settled in the north and commuted daily to the city.

Francis W. Robinson / State Library of NSW / Via Flickr: statelibraryofnsw

A view of Sydney Harbour taken from North Sydney in 1876, showing Lavander Bay.

But eventually Sydneysiders realised the city couldn't remain divided forever, and people began digging.

Ted Hood / State Library of NSW / Via Flickr: statelibraryofnsw

Early excavations of northern end of York Street, the future site of the southern approach to the Harbour Bridge, taken circa 1930-1932.

Thanks to them we can now travel to visit our northern neighbours by car, bus, train, ferry or on foot.

State Library of NSW / Via Flickr: statelibraryofnsw

The quarry at Moruya used for the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, circa 1925-1927.

So Happy 85th birthday Sydney Harbour Bridge! 🎉🎁🎈

Ted Hood / State Library of NSW / Via Flickr: statelibraryofnsw

Photographer Ted Hood took this photo of the Sydney Harbour Bridge while hanging upside down 130 metres above the harbour.