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Anniversary of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Michelle Morgan - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's 82 years ago since the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on 19 March 1932.

You can watch online videos of the opening of the bridge on the Screen Australia website: http://aso.gov.au/titles/newsreels/opening-sydney-harbour-bridge/clip2/  This video shows the Premier of NSW, Jack Lang, cutting the ribbon to officially open the bridge, followed by the big parade and people walking across the bridge for the very first time.

But the newsreel doesn't show Captain Francis De Groot charging ahead on horseback and slashing the ribbon with his sword, beating the Premier to the task. While De Groot was escorted away by police, the ribbon was retied for the official cutting by the Premier.

Around 750,000 people gathered in the streets of Sydney and around the bridge to take part in the pageant. Aircraft led by Charles Kingsford Smith in "Southern Cross" flew overhead while ferries, yachts and ships sailed around the harbour. There were fireworks later in the evening to mark this significant event.

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