When fiction and non-fiction come together in perfect harmony, something magical happens... With poignant and pared back text, much of the story is told through the beautiful illustrations that are filled to the brim with the most amazing details of the time.

This is definitely a book to take your time with. There is so much to look at, so much to discuss. And at the heart of it is a true story about a grand vision for a city and what it took to see it turned into reality. Schools and classrooms will love this story. It’s entertaining and interesting, and it will teach kids about a remarkable period in Australian history.

But it’s also a book for homes. It’s a lovely tale to read with your kids, to show them that big dreams can come true, and the evidence is one of Australia’s most iconic structures. Beautifully written and illustrated, this is a special picture book about a very special bridge.
— Kids' Book Review
In bookstores nationally on 1 February 2019

In bookstores nationally on 1 February 2019

Order your signed copy direct from the author here.

Written by Samantha Tidy,  Illustrated by Fiona Burrows
Published by MidnightSun Publishing, 1 February 2019
Distributed by NewSouth Books RRP $29.95
Download the Teacher’s Notes

This is a visually stunning encounter with a period of history that continues to define Australia to this day; the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This book is not a dry factual historical account. It is a tender testimony to the birth of a dream and an eloquent reminder that tenacity and determination keep dreams alive no matter how long they take to realise. For an absolute glorious commemoration of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and an evocative journey of the senses, you must experience this picture book.
— Dimity Powell, for Boomerang Books
The Day We Built the Bridge - Sample 1.jpg
Samantha Tidy and Fiona Burrows take the creation of a national icon, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and strip it back to a streamlined, succinct story of a need, an idea in 1890, and ultimately, in 1932, a reality....The story is one of hopes, dreams, stamina, and celebration, but is told in concise statements... A subtle nonverbal sub-story (reminiscent of Jeannie Baker’s Belonging and Window).
— Books + Publishing
An endearing history of the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
— The Australian.
This book is for all ages and will do well in all primary libraries for the historical and visual content alone. The narrative is engaging, with much to look at and discuss. This is an important book about a time in the history of Sydney, and Australia. Highly recommended.
— Liz Derouet, Magpies
Flatlay WW1.jpg


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.