APPT Sydney: A span with a plan
By Landon Blackhall
It's one of the most famous landmarks in Sydney - the locals know it as "The Coathanger" but to the rest of the world it's known as the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The 39,000-tonne, 134-metre high steel and concrete structure spans more than 1.1 kilometres from Millers Point adjacent to the Sydney CBD to Milsons Point on the North Shore.
Though the idea of building the bridge was first proposed back in 1815 as the then-new city began to grow, it wasn't until after World War I that Dr John Bradfield's design was selected with construction starting in 1923.
Much of the material used in the building of the Harbour Bridge was locally-made and it provided many Sydneysiders with employment just as the country was emerging from The Great Depression, so the bridge was viewed as a symbol of progress and hope for the future. Such an awesome structure deserved a dramatic opening, and it duly arrived in 1932 as the Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang, prepared to cut the ceremonial ribbon.
Out of nowhere, Francis de Groot rode through the crowd on horseback in full military uniform, whipped out his ceremonial sword and deftly sliced the ribbon in two, declaring the bridge "open in the name of the decent and respectful people of New South Wales," in protest against the government.
De Groot was subsequently arrested and tried in the Supreme Court, convicted of offensive behaviour and fined the sum of £5. You still can't ride a horse on the bridge but there are numerous opportunities to view it close up, the best known being the BridgeClimb.
It's one of Sydney's most famous and popular tourists attractions - the view from the top is well worth the two-and-a-half-hour hike and often "breezy" conditions. Speaking of breeze, the day 1C field has just breezed in and out of the Star City Poker Room after the first break of the afternoon. When they return, blinds will be at 100/200 with an ante of 25.