The objective of this project was to capture some of the personal stories behind the Sydney Harbour Bridge maintenance cranes, prior to their removal. The cranes had played a very important part in both the construction and ongoing maintenance of the bridge. During construction of the main arch between 1929 and 1931, two huge creeper cranes moved outwards, laying their tracks as they progressed. Behind them moved the four maintenance cranes, used initially by the riveting and painting gangs until they had to be dismantled to allow the creeper cranes to pass by and be removed in pieces near the pylons. The maintenance cranes were then re-erected on the arch and remained in service until their removal in 1997.
The study yielded 12 hours of taped interviews with some of the many people who had worked with the maintenance cranes - riggers, crane drivers, crane chasers, bridge engineers and works supervisors. They discussed topics such as the movement of the cranes over the arch, their maintenance and operation and the many hazards involved.
A compilation CD summarising the key themes uncovered during the course of the project have been prepared, and may be ordered from the Transport Library at a cost of A$11 plus postage and handling. Orders may also be placed by fax to the Transport Library on 61 2 8849 2488.
The opinions expressed in the oral history interview tapes are those of the individuals concerned and do not necessarily represent in whole or in part the position of RMS.
Researchers and historians wishing to access the source interview tapes and associated logs should contact the Transport Library by phone on 61 2 8849 2913.