The 75th Birthday Harbour Bridge Walk

March 23, 2007

Last Sunday, the Sydney Harbour Bridge – aka, the coat hangar – turned 75 years old. And we were there to celebrate this Australian icon.

While usually thousands of cars cross the Harbour Bridge on a daily basis to get from the city to the North Shore, on this day the bridge was closed to all forms of vehicles. Only pedestrians were allowed to walk along the bridge.

We were urged to register for the walk and this I did a month back. Though I had no idea how they would adminster the 500 000-odd people who wanted to walk the bridge. We were sure it would be absolutely chaotic.

On Sunday morning, Tam, Rich and I trained to North Sydney Station and met Mich, Greg, Terri, Mark, Emil and Jo at the station. There were wardens wearing lumo vests wherever you looked to ensure that the crowds of people followed the correct route to the bridge.

There was no real registration so we collected out free luminous lime green caps and joined the throngs on the historic walk.

Harbour Bridge WalkSydney definitely knows how to deal with big events – the crowd control was superb and I didn’t ever once feel claustrophobic or the need to bring out my elbows to get people out of the way. I guess the Sydneysiders are also naturally law-abiding and were quite happy to participate in a laid-back fashion.

The atmosphere was magic with music and voices of famous people broadcast out towards the harbour. When the distinctive voice of Nelson Mandela came over the loud speaker, our Saffa group gave a loyal shriek and Mich did a wonderful rendition of ulalating.

Looking forward, it was trully spectacular to watch this carpet of green (from the caps) rolling towards the city.

Steel DrummerAfter the toll booths, the path split into two – with the left leading to the Rocks and the right leading to Darling Harbour. T and R headed towards the latter while the rest of us took to the Rocks. We had lunch at the Cruise Bar (chicken burgers) and then just enjoyed the entertainment at circular quay. My favourite performer is the Rasta steel drummer which always transports me to the Caribbean.

It was really special to be able to share this birthday with the bridge.