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By ANNA USHER

Sydney will come alive with free music concerts; pop-up art galleries and a spectacular light show in celebration of the Sydney Harbour Bridge 90th anniversary this weekend.

Australia’s most famous landmark opened to the public on 19 March 1932.

The ground-breaking infrastructure was the vision of engineer John Bradfield. He believed the Sydney Harbour Bridge should be more than a road across the harbour. Bradfield advocated for a design that would unite communities, boost the economy and future-proof the city.

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On opening day, around one million people crossed the bridge on trains, trams, cars, on foot and on horses. In the ’30s, it earned the nickname the ‘Iron Lung’ because it supported the city’s economy and provided work through the Depression. Since then, it has been the centrepiece of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, the backdrop for the walk for reconciliation and a much-loved symbol of Australia.

19 March 2022 is NSW’s chance to celebrate this vital and beautiful bridge from all angles.

What’s happening?

The fun begins tonight, Thursday 17 March, when nearly 50,000 brilliant LED pixels light up the Sydney Harbour Bridge from 8pm. The spectacular light show runs for four nights and starts with a tribute to the Gadigal and Cammeraygal people. It will highlight Bradfield’s vision, the Bridge’s construction, and memorable moments in the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s history.

From Friday 18 March Sydneysiders can walk through a free pop-up art gallery with installations dotted between Town Hall and Campbells Cove. The curated images in eye-catching cubes bring back moments in Sydney’s history and take inspiration from their location.

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On Saturday 19 March Sydney’s streets will buzz with energy. ARIA Award winning artists such as Tex Perkins and James Morrison will hit the stage along with Bananas in Pyjamas at Campbells Cove.

While street performers, caricature artists and musicians will entertain the crowds outside train stations, in marketplaces and on street corners, the Sydney Harbour Bridge will be the star of the show, with vintage trains, buses and bicycles crossing the bridge in a birthday salute.

Sydney Harbour Bridge light spectacular

When: Thursday 17 March to Sunday 20 March 8pm to 11pm
Where: Sydney Harbour Bridge – best viewed from the eastern side

Nearly 50,000 brilliant LED pixels will illuminate the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The eastern pylons will dazzle the crowds with a moving tribute to the Gadigal and Cammeraygal people, John Bradfield, and the Sydney Harbour bridge’s history. The light show runs for about 15 minutes and will repeat through the night.

Pop-up art gallery

Where: Between Town Hall and Campbells Cove
When: Friday 18 March to Sunday 20 March

Explore Sydney’s fascinating history as you walk through the pop-up art gallery. The curated images in vivid cubes take inspiration from their location and moments in Sydney’s history. The best way to explore the gallery is on foot. Grab your free map from one of 1930s paper kids.

Campbells Cove Sydney Harbour Bridge party

Where: Campbells Cove
When: Saturday 19 March 10am to late

Whether you’re aged 9 or 90, Campbells Cove is the place to party. The event kicks off with a Welcome to Country by Uncle Allen Madden at 10am before the much-loved Bananas in Pyjamas take to the stage live. From 10.50 families can try their luck at 1930s street games such as Capture the Flag, checkers, and hopscotch. Apple the Magician will dazzle the crowd with spellbinding 1930s magic tricks and families can wander through a vintage car and bicycle display.

In the afternoon, ARIA Award-winners James Morrison, Tex Perkins and Christina Anu will join ABC host Dan Bourchier on a musical adventure through the decades. Don’t miss Jem Cassar-Daley’s special tribute to the Bridge and Sydney’s Harbour at 7.30pm.

Town Hall Station 90th birthday celebration

Where: QVB entrance opposite Town Hall corner of George and Druitt Street
When: From 10am Saturday 19 March

The Sydney Harbour Bridge anniversary party starts as soon as you jump off the train or bus.
Find the on-street 1930s paper kids to grab your free copy of the Daily Telegraph, a map of the events and a 90th anniversary limited edition Reg Mombassa puzzle.
Catch the Eaton Gorge Theatre performers at the QVB entrance from 10am to 4pm. At 1pm the Cat and Fiddle Band will rock the crowd with an acoustic set.

Wynyard Station 90th birthday celebration

Where: Wynyard Station George Street Sydney
When: From 10am Saturday 19 March

Look for the 1930s paper kids to grab your free copy of the Daily Telegraph, a map of the events and a free jigsaw puzzle. Watch the Eaton Gorge Theatre performance on George Street from 10am to 4pm. At 2.30pm the Cat and Fiddle band will get toes tapping with their acoustic set.

Sydney Harbour Bridge vintage transport salute

When: Saturday 19 March 2022 from 8.30am
Where: Sydney Harbour Bridge

Head to the city early to watch dozens of vintage bicycles and cars cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge shortly after 8.30am. Soon after, a red F1 Vintage Electric Train Set will meet a NSW Waratah Train in the middle of the Bridge. One of the carriages on this train, C-3426 was the leading car on the first electric train to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932. This will be a spectacular ‘old versus new’ moment not to be missed.

Recent extreme weather triggered track impacts that prevent Locomotive 3801 Steam Train safely travelling to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Track works are underway but could not be completed in time. As a result of the cancellation, the Sydney Harbour Bridge viewing platform will no longer go ahead.

Vintage Electric Train Set F1

When: Saturday 19 March from 10am
Where: Waverton and Milsons Point Stations

One of the oldest working trains in the world, the F1 was a prominent feature of Sydney’s railways up until the 1980s. Tickets to ride the much-loved Vintage Electric Train Set F1 have now sold out. However, you can view this incredible train from Waverton and Milsons Point Stations – no tickets required.

90th Anniversary NSW Waratah train ride

When: Saturday 19 March 9am – 9.20am
Where: Sydney Harbour Bridge. Board the train at: Strathfield 8:49am, Burwood 8:52am, Redfern 9:02am, Central 9:05am (Platform 16), Town Hall 9:09am, Wynyard 9:12am

Tap and go to board this special Waratah train from Strathfield to North Sydney via Central you will be in for a treat. The 900-seat commuter train will arrive at the southern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 9.14am. It will then journey across the bridge to meet the vintage F1 Electric Train Set in the middle. Passengers can hop off at Milsons Point to explore the bus and tram museum and catch the free ferry over to Campbells Cove or continue to North Sydney.

Vintage bus tour

When: Saturday 19 March 10am to 4pm
Where: Wynyard, North Sydney and Milsons Point

  • Wynyard Station York Street bus stop stand J
  • North Sydney Blue Street bus stop stand E and D
  • Milsons Point Wharf bus stop Olympic Drive
  • Milsons Point Museum bus stop Alfred Street South

Hop on board a vintage double-decker bus for a ride back in time. As the bus makes its way across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a 1930s tour conductor will reveal how the bus and the Sydney Harbour Bridge changed Sydney’s transport network.

Passengers can also take a smaller bus loop from North Sydney station to Milsons Point Station and Milsons Point wharf.

The vintage buses will run every five minutes. Passengers can pay a gold coin donation to ride.

Due to the age and construction of the heritage buses, accessibility may be limited. Should you require the use of a wheelchair please contact us ahead of the day to register your needs.

Heritage ferry harbour cruise

When: Saturday 19 March 10am – 4pm
Where: Campbells Cove Wharf 2 Pontoon, The Rocks and Milsons Point Wharf, Olympic Drive

Jump on board a 1972 vintage ferry between Milsons Point and Campbells Cove for a stunning view of the Bridge. The free ferries leave every 30 minutes.

Pop-up tram and bus museum

When: Saturday 19 March from 10am
Where: Burton Street Milsons Point

If you love vintage transport, make sure you visit the one-day-only tram and bus museum at Milsons Point. The NSW Railway Brass Band will perform at the museum from 11am and from 2pm you can join in the fun with a 1930s swing dance display.

Download the full Event Program here:

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We’d love to see your photos this weekend. Share them on Mosman Collective’s Facebook, Instagram – or email anna@mosmancollective.com