The Third Three Months' Work.

From Engineering Heritage New South Wales

Sydney Mail 7 May 1924

SHB Third Three Months Photo 1.JPG


The view, which is from Terranoa Buildings (close to Circular Quay), gives a true perspective of the bridge in relation to Sydney and the harbour foreshores. The bridge, although a striking and beautiful feature in the sky-line, will not dominate Sydney, but will be impressive by reason of the nobility of its proportions.

THE work of the third three months — February, March, and April — pulses with new life and interest in that the efforts of the Chief Engineer during the past eleven years were brought to a successful conclusion. The difficulties to be surmounted were numerous. On Saturday, February 16, at 9 p.m., Mr. Bradfield handed his report on the bridge tenders to Mr. T. B. Cooper, Under-Secretary. The report was reviewed by Mr. Cooper, approved by Mr. Ball. Minister for Works and Railways, and submitted to Cabinet on February 19. On February 24 the Chief Engineer's recommendation that the tender of Messrs. Dorman. Long, and Co. for a two-hinged arch bridge with abutment towers faced with granite masonry in accordance with the official plans and specification, at a cost of £4,217,721 11s. 10d. was approved by Cabinet, and the decision announced by Sir George Fuller. The culminating point was reached on Monday, March 24, when Mr. Ball signed the contract documents, which at a later hour that day were signed by Mr. L. Ennis, the managing director of Messrs. Dorman, Long, and Co. These documents were exchanged in the office of the Crown Solicitor the same afternoon, and the legal formalities being completed at 5.20 p.m., the contract was entered into.

    Now that the contract has been signed, for the next eight months the centre of activities will shift to London, where the detail plans of the bridge are to be prepared by Messrs. Dorman, Long, and Co., and checked by officers of the department, and where the correspondence in connection with this phase of the bridge must be undertaken and recorded. These plans must be approved and signed by the Chief Engineer.

Showing the double-line tunnel from Bank-street towards North Shore Station, where it will emerge as two single-line tunnels. 22 April 1924. SARA NRS12685.
The size of the man-handled spalls compared with the machine-handled blocks of sandstone affords a striking illustration of the utility of machinery in reducing the cost of the work. 10 April 1924. SARA NRS12685.

THE field work during the past three months has been a continuation and amplification of the work during the second three months. The jack-hammers have chattered their way through the open cut excavation from Bay-road to Bank-street, and at the site of North Shore station the excavation has also been pushed steadily forward. 60,000 cubic yards of rock being removed and spoiled in the tips at the head of Berry's Bay and Lavender Bay, making land at present of little utility valuable for public purposes.

The first picture gives a general view of the scheme, the footbridge to convey the tramway passengers from Glen-street to the top of the escalators, and the escalator frames in position. It is anticipated that the escalators will be completed on July 12th. 22 April 1924. SARA NRS12685.
In the second picture we have a view of the three escalator frames. They will be of the reversible type, and will convey the passengers up and down. 22 April 1924. SARA NRS12685.

    At Lavender Bay the size of the machine-handled blocks of stone as seen from the train, compared with the man-handled spalls, afford a striking example of the utility of machinery in reducing the cost of handling the material excavated. A small steam navvy has been installed for this purpose with a ¾-yard bucket powerful enough to lift blocks of solid sandstone up to two tons, thus saving the spalling of these blocks into sizes which can be man-handled into the lorries.

    Between Bay-road and Bank-street the excavation is nearing completion: the hard rock is prevented from scattering when blasted by a protective covering of mats made from twisted ropes: but occasionally a few loose fragments escape, causing excited interest amongst the children, mostly boys, who remain as close as possible to the danger zone, and often play catchers with the fragments as they fall.

    The tunnelling has also proceeded expeditiously: when completed, two double line tunnels will plunge boldly through the Grammar School Hill from Bank-street, and after passing the heart of the hill will emerge at North Shore station as four single-line tunnels, the trains from the tunnels serving the four sides of the two island platforms. One tunnel only is being proceeded with at present in order that the goods traffic may be diverted from Milson's Point as soon as possible.

MECHAN1CAL hauling devices to expedite and facilitate the work of the builder are about to be installed. The tunnels — a double line under Bank-street and a single line under Miller-street — are being driven from top headings, then excavated out to the full section, and close behind, the excavations and drillers the lining gangs will shortly work, concreting the tunnels. Three, shifts are being worked, and as the men withdraw at knocking-off time, and sometimes at crib time, the charges are fired: a dull, sullen roar reverberates down the tunnel, and, maybe, wakes the nearby suburbs half-an-hour before the dog-watch shift enters the tunnel to work from11.40 p.m. till early morn: but this inconvenience will soon be over. Twelve and a half chains of heading have been completed, and the full section is opened out as soon as possible after the heading is driven.

Showing the progress of the excavation, the steam navvy, and the tunnel heading. In October next the goods traffic for North Sydney should be diverted here from Milson's Point. 22 April 1924. SARA NRS12685.
The Euroka-street bridge is almost completed. It will be waterproofed with a layer of ¾in. asphalt and protected from the filling above by bricks laid on edge. The retaining walls as seen at either end of the bridge are progressing steadily. 22 April 1924. SARA NRS 12685.


    Once the compressed air has cleared the tunnel of the fumes and smoke after blasting, the air inside is cool and wholesome: the gloom is lit up by a line of electric lights, whilst the only noise is the hiss of the escaping air and the ceaseless chugging of the jack-hammers as they drill the holes forward and yet ever forward, so that in early June the headings will meet, after which date the completion of the tunnel should take about four months.

AT Lavender Bay the work of remodelling the station is in full swing: the escalator frames have been installed, and the steps are being placed in position. Early in June a trial run of the first escalator will be made. The bridge connecting Glen-street with the escalators for the convenience of North Sydney's tramway passengers is also nearing completion, and it is anticipated that the new station will be in operation early in August. The filling for the tramway diversion from Alfred-street along Dind-street to Glen-street has been placed in position, and the line of the tramway is about to commence, so that the Lavender Bay station may be brought into operation about Sunday, August 17th. The rails to Milson's Point station will then be taken up and the buildings demolished, when this area of land will be available for the construction of the bridge. On vacant land near Lincoln-street the excavation is being banked up above street level, and later on will be picked up by the steam navvy and placed in its final position in the main roadway approach to the bridge. Two hundred and sixty men are employed.

THE N.S. Wales Government decided that three young engineers — Messrs. Stuckey, Holt, and Powys, of the Public Works Department — should leave for England on matters connected with the building of the Sydney Harbour bridge. They and Miss K. Butler (confidential secretary to Mr. Bradfield) sailed last week. Miss Butler will look after the correspondence between the Government and Messrs. Dorman. Long, and Co., successful tenderers for the construction of the bridge. Mr. Ball (Minister for Works and Railways), referring to the matter, said that it was a very good policy to allow three young Australian engineers, who were University graduates, to visit England to take advantage of the experience they would receive. They would check the working drawings of the bridge. It was most essential that they should go, and Mr. Bradfield had made it clear that it would be the most economical way of arranging details. It was probable that they would return in about six months' time.

    Mr. Bradfield will go to England later.

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