Monday, March 20, 2017

Building bridges

Yesterday marked 85 years since the official opening of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. I'm not one to toot my own horn, but I have walked across it at street level, from the Rocks to Milson's Point.

The State Library of New South Wales has set up an online archive of interviews with bridge workers.

The opening ceremony was memorable because the ceremonial ribbon cutting by New South Wales Premier, Jack Lang, was interrupted by a man on horseback in military uniform slashing at the ribbon with a sword. He turned out to be Francis de Groot, a member of the semi-fascistic New Guard.

The New Guard was a paramilitary organisation, active in Australia during the Great Depression, but it eventually fizzled out. De Groot was in the Australian Army during the Second World War, but he later returned to his furniture business. He died in Dublin in 1969.

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