There are moments in history that connect us and define a country. In our hearts and minds, some moments rely on us to hold onto a dream, face tough challenges, and put in a great deal of effort.
This illustrated children’s book follows the journey of one boy, who over the course of his entire lifetime, sees the Sydney Harbour Bridge grow from an idea, and then to a plan, and on to become a source of employment and a well-loved Australian icon that he can be proud to show his children. The illustrator uses red socks, to show the passing of time for the one character in the story.
As a child, he plays in his backyard near Milson’s Point. His family, along with other Sydneysiders, have to negotiate the journey across the harbour in either a boat or via a 20km journey involving 5 bridge crossings.
As a teenager, he is a clerk in the office of public works, where officials are trying to finalise plans for a bridge across the harbour ahead of a visit by the Duke of York. Older still, he witnesses the decision to appoint a chief engineer. Whilst momentum had reached a strong point, the Great War arrives, taking with it, the workforce and money to make the bridge a reality. Our lad, now a grown man, returns from the war himself, and continues the family he started before his own service.
Where jobs are few, the new bridge employs men in era of the Great Depression - a feat of engineering that came to be known as the Iron Lung for its contribution to the economy. Upon completion, the final bridge is a culmination of determination and hard work, and brings great joy to the people of Sydney.
Big dreams can take generations. It can also take six million hand driven rivets and 53,000 tonnes of steel. The Day We Built the Bridge celebrates our connection with one another, and declares that despite the greatest of challenges, together we can make history.