The ‘Coathanger’

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The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a world-recognised Australian landmark, easily distinguishable due to its coat hanger shape and its enormous magnitude that soars above Sydney Harbour.

Cardno’s co-founder Harold Davies was part of the team that designed and built the Harbour Bridge during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Being associated with such an iconic structure continues to be source of pride for all of those at Cardno.

After graduating from Sydney University, Mr Davies worked with the Department of Public Works as an assistant to John Bradfield, the designer of the Harbour Bridge. Mr Davies was involved with the construction of the project since it began in 1923, managing the design and construction of an overpass on the northern approach to the bridge, and was a supervising engineer for the central arch section, which joined the north and south sides in 1930.

It was a great privilege to recently contribute to another chapter of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, following completion of a Review of Environmental Factors on behalf of Roads and Maritime Services to provide step-free access to the Bridge for the first time. The project involved installing lift access to the pedestrian walkway at the northern and southern ends of the Bridge, regrading parts of the existing pedestrian footpath on the Bridge, and landscaping the site. 

Photograph taken in 1930s of Harold Davies standing on Sydney Harbour Bridge
Contributing to the initial construction and the delivery of the recent lift installments to the bridge, Cardno are thrilled to be involved in connecting the city in a way that allows residents and visitors to experience and travel the Sydney Harbour area.

Toni Doumith, Project Manager, shared that the pedestrian access project had presented some interesting challenges in order to ensure that the design provided safe access to and from the Bridge while also maintaining the heritage value of the site.

“Safety, community engagement, accessibility and heritage were the key themes of this project. The project team worked closely with stakeholders from Roads and Maritime Services, NSW Heritage Council and local councils – as well as expert sub-consultants, contractors and suppliers to deliver to their brief for a simple design that would minimise the visual impact on the bridge.

The selected glass lift structure provides a wonderful experience for users and also adds a modern element to the area. The architect designed a frit pattern on the glass that imitates the rivets of the bridge while reflecting light and reducing the solar absorption of the glass.

Image of access lift to Sydney Harbour Bridge

With construction of the lifts now complete, one of Sydney’s premier tourist attractions is now accessible to everyone, and we are proud to contribute to the life of this iconic structure.”


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75 years of great people, 75 years of community-defining projects and 75 years of making a difference. Make sure you check out the other moments in our history!

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