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Glebe Island Bridge
Blackbutts Bridge was the first bridge from Pyrmont to Glebe Island, built in 1857 from Tasmanian blackbutt timber, with a manual swing span. It eased access to Glebe Island, and meat could be taken from Glebe Island abattoirs across Pyrmont Bridge to Sydney.
The bridge was privately owned. At the turn of the century it was in such a poor state of repair that the Government bought it and began planning to replace it.
In 1899, the bridge collapsed. The Australian Town and Country Journal reported that the collapse was caused by unsecured ballast, put in place for the new swing bridge already under construction. The new four-lane swing opened in 1903 – among the first electrically operated opening bridges in the world.
It was decided in the early 1990s to replace the low-level swing bridge to permit uninterrupted road traffic. The design is a cable-stayed structure, supported by two diamond-shaped concrete towers. Work began in 1992, and Glebe Island’s third bridge was completed late in 1995. On the opening day the Smith Family raised funds by selling tickets for a walk across the bridge. More than 65,000 people took up the offer, also walking across the old swing bridge for the last time before it was opened permanently for water traffic.
The new bridge has been re-named Anzac Bridge. The old bridge is closed occasionally and its future is being discussed as part of the Bays Precinct Urban Transformation Program.