I was surprised to read your report of the controversy surrounding the design of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (News last week) as I have two booklets from Australia marking the 50th anniversary of Jack Lang's Coathanger in 1982.
These clearly state that the first proposal was made in 1815 by Francis Greenway, the first architect to practice in Australia. Peter Henderson, a Sydney engineer, generated in 1857 a drawing of a bridge, the first recorded, to fulfil the need.
In 1900 designs were prepared and tenders invited, but the proposal lapsed before any action was decided.
Legislation was passed for the construction of a bridge in 1922. Tenders were called for and the plans and specifications set out by Dr JJ Bradfield, the chief engineer of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Metropolitan Construction. Dr Bradfield and his staff supervised contractors throughout the construction of the chosen design.
The booklets go on to confirm that the tender from Dorman Long of Middlesbrough, 'substantially in accordance with Dr Bradfield's proposals, was accepted.
'The nal design was carried out by the contractor's consulting engineer, Sir Ralph Freeman, and the fabrication and construction were under the direct charge of Mr Lawrence Ennis, a director of the firm.' D Little (G), 9 Sayer Way, Knebworth, Herts SG3 6BN