HISTORY | Bridge is the archway to fond memories

The Sydney Harbour Bridge in its nearly 90 years as a world icon and stage for the greatest welcome to each New Year, means different things to different people, particularly Australians.

The story of the building of the bridge is told in a photo display at LiverpoolRegionalMuseum that's brought back lots of memories and fond recollections for visitors over the last couple of months.

John and RitaKeane, of WestHoxton, are just one couple who welcomed the opportunity to view the amazing photos taken from all angles and at great risk to the late HenriMallard over four years from 1928 to the bridge's opening in 1932.

For Rita (nee Dudley), her memories relate to a story that her deceased mother, JeanDudley, (very) occasionally related.

Jean can lay claim as probably the first child (or girl, at least) to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge before it was officially opened, before those two magnificent arches connected and were only a fraction out!

Jean's father Fred once served with the Royal Navy and came from England. He worked as a rigger on the bridge and his brother Harry was a nightwatchman on the North Sydney side of the bridge.

Under the cover of darkness and with no indication given to Jean's parents, Harry took his teenaged niece, 14, up the north pylon and they created their own "little piece of Harbour Bridge history".

Fred and Bertha were far from impressed by this unscheduled night excursion. Jean herself always felt she'd get into trouble about the climb, to the point that when she turned 100 she still reminded her son-in-law John not to tell anyone.

Jean always felt she'd get into trouble about the climb. When she turned 100, she still reminded her son-in-law John to keep her secret.

John's own link with the bridge is more recent and has a romantic flavour.

Standing under the large photo of the bridge in the foyer at the museum last month he said: "As a point of interest, I proposed to Rita one night at Gray's Point with the fully-lit bridge in the background."

The Sydney Harbour Bridge Exhibition of Mallard's photos that have been rarely seen in the public domain are on view for an extended period.

The museum is open from 10am to 4pm every day from Tuesday to Saturday (except public holidays). Entry is free and school and community groups are welcome.

This story So, underneath the arches first appeared on Liverpool City Champion.

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