The Sydney Harbour Bridge on Stamps, Postal Stationery and Postmarks

(Note : This article covers the period up to about 2000 or 2001 and I do not, at present, have plans to keep it up-to-date.)

Opened in 1932 as a combined road / rail bridge, Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the premier icons of Australia. It appears on numerous postage stamps, miniature sheets ( including sheet borders ), several items of postal stationery, a Parcel label and even a Commemorative Telegram.
Unlike many of the railway articles, this is an ongoing project, as new issues will, no doubt, continue to appear. I hope it is reasonably complete, but please let me know of anything omitted or when anything new appears.

Gutter Pairs: Many of the Australian stamps exist in gutter ( interpanneau ) pairs. I have included information on these only for the inaugural 1932 issue and later issues where the gutter is pictorial. I have only included one or two catalogue numbers ( SG ), where such detail might help to identify a stamp.

The scans in this article are immediately ABOVE the stamp, stationery or postmark descriptions. The listing has been produced in five sections:

Section 1 : Stamp Issues of Australia
Section 2 : Numerous worldwide m/s for Olympics 2000 with identical central label with the Bridge
Section 3 : Other world stamp issues
Section 4 : Postal Stationery and a Telegram
Section 5 : Postmarks relating to the Bridge.

A feature of the stamps of the Bridge is that only one of them actually shows a train - or even the tracks, and the one that does, 2004 50c, shows only a distant view of a train. So, to illustrate the railway properly, please find below a very pleasing portrait of a train leaving the Bridge, reproduced by kind permission of Maikha Ly of Australia. Please note that his photograph is copyright.

Sydney harbour Bridge .
K98 rolls off the bridge on a Hornsby bound service - 20-11-2002 - by Maikha Ly

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Section 1 : Stamp Issues of Australia

My thanks to Horst Brix for his help in compiling the listings in the first three sections. I have not provided illustrations of most of the stamps pre-1996, since these are well covered by most railway thematic catalogues

Australia 1932 2d
Above: 2d Recess ( optd. O S ); below: Typographed 2d ( with gutter ).
Note: The wavy-line appearance of the typographed 2d is not present on the stamps, but was created by my scanner.

1932 ( Mar 14 ) : Opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge
[ . . ] 2d Scarlet ( recess-engraved ) No watermark, Perf.11 ( SG 141 )
[ . . ] 3d Blue No watermark, Perf 11
[ . . ] 5s Blue-Green No watermark, Perf 11

[ . . ] 2d Scarlet ( typographed ) Watermark ' Crown C of A ', Perf 10 ( SG 144 )
[ . . ] - ditto - with vertical gutter ( horizontal pair )

[ . . ] 2d Scarlet POSTAL FORGERY Typographed Perf 11 No watermark
Note : This Forgery was produced to defraud the Post Office, not the collector.

1932 ( March ) : As above, overprinted O S ( for Official Use ):
[ . . ] 2d Scarlet ( recess-engraved ) No wmk. Perf 11
[ . . ] 3d Blue No wmk. Perf 11

John Ash Imprint : All the 1932 values above ( except for the forgery, I presume ! ) exist with the Printer's Name ( John Ash etc. ) in the centre of the bottom margin of the sheet. In the case of the typographed 2d, this imprint is across the gutter. Many Australia collectors are quite keen on these imprints.

[ . . ] 1979 35c Ferry Lady Denman under the Bridge

[ . . ] 1982 27c Stamp-on-stamp of 1932 5s Bridge

[ . . ] 1988 $1 Shakespeare and Bridge ( issued se-tenant with $1 cricket )
This stamp is part of a joint issue with Great Britain ( q.v. ). The Australian version was printed with the rows offset, so that both horizontal and vertical se-tenant pairs were produced. On the G.B. stamps, only horizontal se-tenant pairs exist.

[ . . ] 1988 2c Sydney Bridge charm on charm bracelet ( one of the more bizarre railway thematics! )
[ . . ] - ditto - Booklet ( value 80c ) 1 x 2c and 2 x 39c ( kettle )
Note: This stamp was ONLY issued in booklet form and is rouletted x imperf.

[ . . ] 1992 45c x 2 composite horizontal se-tenant pair Bridge ( and tunnel ) Perf 14 ( SG 1375/76 )
[ . . ] - ditto - Perf 15 ( SG 1375b/76b )

[ . . ] 1994 45c Yachts under Bridge ( se-tenant with non-Bridge 45c ) Perf 14 ( SG 1491/92 )
[ . . ] - ditto - but self-adhesive and Perf 11 (SG 1493/94 )
The sheet stamps ( Perf 14 ) were arranged within the sheet to produce both horizontal and vertical se-tenant pairs. The self-adhesive stamps came se-tenant in rolls of 100 stamps.

Sydney 1996 Construction
[ . . ] 1996 $ 1 Painting of Bridge under construction

Sydney 2000 Olympic Symbol
[ . . ] 1999 45c Olympic Flame and Bridge
[ . . ] - ditto - sheetlet of 10 ( 5 x 2 )

Australia Expo 2000 sheetlet
[ . . ] 2000 Stamp Expo Sheetlet 45c x 10 ( Kangaroo ) - Bridge ( twice ) in sheet border
This sheet is a non-album-friendly A4 size, approx 11.75" x 8.25" ( 29.85 cms x 20.95 cms).

Sydney 2000 50c $1.50
2000 From a set/8 with values to $10.00. Although definitives, the Bridge values also have olympic rings
[ . . ] 50c Opera House ( Harbour Bridge behind )
[ . . ] $1.50 Harbour Bridge by night

Sydney 2004 Bridges
[ . . ] 2004 Set/5 bridges (all 50c ), one the Sydney Harbour Bridge, se-tenant strip/5, normal gum.
[ . . ] - ditto - two strips separated by vertical gutter, with sketches related to each bridge
[ . . ] Sheetlet/4 ( all are Sydney Harbour Bridge ). Normal Gum. Bridge also in background design.
[ . . ] 2004 Set/5 bridges but as a SELF-ADHESIVE se-tenant strip/5
[ . . ] - ditto - booklet pane with 2 each of the five bridge stamps, self-adhesive, not se-tenant.
The sheetlet/4 comes from the Landmark Bridges ' Prestige Collection ' booklet, which includes several photographs and some text on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as well as a night view of the Bridge on the booklet cover.
Note: The Lockyer Creek Bridge in this set is also railway ( and also comes as a sheetlet/4 in the prestige booklet )

[ . . ] 2004 $2 Shipping Lines: Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line and Bridge

Pacific Explorer sheet
[ . . ] 2005 Pacific Explorer sheetlet/10 self-adhesive 'ship' stamps - Bridge ( 3 times ) in sheet border

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Parcel Post Stamp ( for the Sydney area )

Australia Across Town Label

[ . . ] 1991 ( April 2 ) Undenominated ( sold at Aus $ 3.25 ) self-adhesive imperforate label ' Across Town Sydney '
Sold by Australia Post only in bulk quantities, I believe, principally to businesses and only for use on parcels within the Sydney area. A similar issue was made for Perth, but with the Bridge replaced by a Swan. These labels are not in the main stamp catalogues, presumably because, technically, they are Local Post stamps. The road bridge image is from a 1989 ( Sept 1st ) 41c Urban Environment booklet stamp ( SG 1216 ).

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Section 2 : Olympics 2000 Miniature Sheet 'Omnibus'

A number of countries issued Olympic 2000 miniature sheets with the same central, pictorial view of the Bridge ( although the stamps in each sheet are different ). Some of these m/s exist imperforate; perhaps all of them do. I have marked those I know to exist Imperf with ' ** ' and an additional check-box

Maldives Olympic 2000 m/s

[ . . ] Antigua (& Barbuda?) ** [ . . ]
[ . . ] Barbuda ?
[ . . ] Bhutan
[ . . ] Burkina Faso

[ . . ] Dominica
[ . . ] The Gambia ** [ . . ]
[ . . ] Ghana
[ . . ] Grenada

[ . . ] Grenada Grenadines
[ . . ] Guyana ** [ . . ]
[ . . ] Lesotho ** [ . . ]
[ . . ] Maldive Islands
[ . . ] Micronesia

[ . . ] Nevis
[ . . ] Palau
[ . . ] St. Vincent
[ . . ] Sierra Leone
[ . . ] Turks & Caicos Islands

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Section 3 : Other World stamp Issues

Sydney-Algeria 2000
[ . . ] Algeria 2000 24d Bridge, Opera House & Sports Symbols

[ . . ] Anguilla 1984 $ 1.00 Stamp-on-Stamp of 1932 2d Bridge
[ . . ] - ditto - same with Ausipex 84 se-tenant label ( probably interpanneau label )

[ . . ] Barbados 1999 $ 4.00 m/s ( World Stamp Expo ). Bridge in sheet border

[ . . ] Belize 1984 $ 3.00 m/s Stamp-on-Stamp of 1932 5/- Bridge

[ . . ] Cocos Islands 1988 $ 3.00 Sydpex m/s. Bridge in sheet border

[ . . ] Great Britain 1988 34p Shakespeare and Bridge ( issued se-tenant with 34p cricket )
This stamp is part of a joint issue with Australia( q.v. ). Unlike the Australian version, which was printed with the rows offset, providing both horizontal and vertical se-tenant pairs , the G. B. stamps only exist in horizontal se-tenant pairs.

Sydney-Guyana Swimmer
[ . . ] Guyana 1991 $ 30 Olympic Swimmer and Bridge ( SG 3110 )
[ . . ] - ditto - olympic sheetlet/9 x $ 30.00 including 1 x SG 3110

[ . . ] Ivory Coast 180f + 20f Bridge in background

[ . . ] Kiribati 1988 $ 2.00 m/s Ship under Bridge ( on stamp part of design )

Sydney-Laos m/s
[ . . ] Laos 2000 Olympic m/s ( sold at 10,000k ). Bridge on sheet border

Sydney-Lesotho
[ . . ] Lesotho 1988 20s Rod Laver & Bridge ( part of International Tennis stars set, ' Sydney ' mis-spelt )

Sydney-Lithuania
[ . . ] Lithuania 2000 m/s Olympic Medals and Bridge

[ . . ] New Caledonia 1981 29f Ship and Bridge ( faintly outlined behind the ship )

[ . . ] Niuafo'ou 1988 m/s containing 12 x 42s including cricket & Bridge on two se-tenant values
[ . . ] - ditto - all 12 stamps with underprint ( on gum ) XX UPU / CONGRESS / WASHINGTON / DC / 1989
[ . . ] Proof imperforate strip/3 stuck on card of the three cricketing values including the two Bridge stamps

[ . . ] Norfolk Island 1988 37c Sydpex & Bridge ( from normal sheets )
[ . . ] - ditto - m/s of 3 x 37c including one as above

Sydney-St-Vincent
[ . . ] St. Vincent 1991 $ 6.00 Disney m/s of Wilbur. Bridge in sheet border

[ . . ] Samoa ( Western ) 1980 $ 2 m/s ( Sydpex 80 ). Bridge in sheet border

Sydney-Sierra Leone
. . . LEFT: The issued LE 50 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RIGHT: The Error of Value LE 1.50

[ . . ] Sierra Leone 1987 LE 50 Scouting & Bridge
[ . . ] - ditto - but Error of Value LE 1.50 ( for LE 50 )

Sydney-Slovakia
[ . . ] Slovakia 2000 18Sk Sydney Olympics attached to label showing Bridge
Note: Bridge is on Label only. Alternate rows start with either the stamp of the label, providing the stamp se-tenant with the label both vertically and horizontally.

[ . . ] Solomon Islands 1985 35c Runners and Bridge ( stamp from normal sheets )
[ . . ] - ditto - m/s with above stamp ( and a non-bridge 25c )

[ . . } Solomon Islands 1988 35c Ship M.V.Papuan Chief & Bridge ( stamp from sheets )
[ . . ] Solomon Islands 1988 60c Ship M.V.Nimos and Bridge ( stamp from normal sheets )
[ . . ] - ditto - 35c and 60c as above but in m/s with two other ( non-bridge ) values
Note 1. The 35c & 60c in the m/s almost form a composite design of the bridge
Note 2. The stamps from normal sheets have a different watermark to the miniature sheet.

[ . . ] Tokelau 1988 Sydpex 50c Bridge ( 4th stamp in a horizontal strip of five )
Note: Stamps 3 and 5 in the strip show the raised approaches to the Bridge

[ . . ] Tonga 1988 m/s containing 12 x 42s including Bridge on two se-tenant values
[ . . ] - ditto - all 12 stamps with underprint ( on gum ) XX UPU / CONGRESS / WASHINGTON / DC / 1989
Note: A proof similar to that mentioned under Niuafo'ou probably exists ( perhaps as a pair )

Sydney-Tonga
[ . . ] Tonga 2000 80S Discus Thrower & Bridge ( from strip/5 )

Tunisia Sydney
[ . . ] Tunisia 2001 500M Bridge ( from normal sheets )
[ . . ] - ditto - single stamp as above in m/s ( exists #imperforate only )

[ . . ] Vatican City 1996 250L Pope Jean Paul II & Bridge

Yugoslavia Sydney
[ . . ] Yugoslavia 2000 Olympic Games, with Bridge on interpanneau ( gutter ) label.
The Bridge appears only in one of the four sheetlets in the set. It is the central label of a sheetlet/9 ( 8 stamps and the label ).
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Section 4 : Postal Stationery ( and a Telegram )

I should like to thank Keith Downing and Hans Eriksson for providing almost all of this part of the listing.

Note 1: Where an item is marked ' Postcard* ', it indicates that both the ' stamp ' and the view side of the card include the bridge.

Maxicard Back
Note 2: The Maximum Cards ( Maxicards ) listed have a ' Paid ' frank on the obverse side and a postage stamp on the reverse side, as issued by Australia Post. An illustration of a typical obverse ( frank ) side appears above. The reasons surrounding this double franking are not clear to me, but may perhaps involve postal regulations requiring adequate postage to be on the address side ? I do not know if these cards may be purchased mint, without adhesives ( i.e. stamps ) on the reverse side and, therefore, whether or not they may strictly be considered to be postal stationery.

Postcard S1 3-76
[ . . ] 18c 1976 postcard* - S1 3.76 Aerial view with Bridge

Postcard S1 4-76
[ . . ] 18c 1976 postcard* - S1 4.76 Bridge with opera house

Postcard S1 6-76
[ . . ] 18c 1976 postcard* - S1 6.76 Bridge with tree framing view

Postcard 2-N1
[ . . ] 20c 1978 postcard* - 2-N1 Night view of Bridge with opera house

Postcard 2-N2
[ . . ] 20c 1978 postcard* - 2-N2 Aerial view of Bridge

Postcard 3-N1
[ . . ] 22c 1981 postcard* - 3-N1 Aerial view of Bridge

Postcard 3-N2
[ . . ] 22c 1981 postcard* - 3-N2 Night view of Sydney including Bridge

Postcard 3-N5
[ . . ] 22c 1981 postcard - 3-N5 three views, one including Bridge

[ . . ] 22c 1981 postcard - 3-N6 Opera House and Bridge

[ . . ] 27c 1982 Postcard - 4N3 Three views including the Bridge

1988 Diabetes
[ . . ] 39c 20 Nov 1988 Club200 envelope for bi-centennial / Diabetes.

Airletter 13-2-89
[ . . ] 60c 13 - Feb - 1989 Aerogramme - Child's drawing of Bridge

Maxicard 1992
[ . . ] 'Paid' 28 - Aug - 92 maxicard - Building the Bridge

Airletter 4-2-93
[ . . ] 'Paid' 4 Feb 1993 aerogramme - View of harbour; stamp shows aircraft's shadow over landscape

Airletter 7-4-93
[ . . ] 'Paid' 7 - Apr - 93 envelope - Stamp shows Bridge ( at left )
[ . . ] - ditto - Later reprints with imprint under flap
[ . . ] 'Paid' 24 - Sept - 93 envelope - Olympic emblem added

1994 Zoo envelope
[ . . ] 45c 28 -Sept -94 envelope - Sydney Zoo includes Bridge in design

[ . . ] 55c 1 -Oct -94 envelope - Moora Centenary cachet at left (stamp as 7-Apr-93)

[ . . ] 55c 28 -Dec -94 envelope - Jamboree of Far Horizons cachet at left(stamp as 7-Apr-93)

[ . . ] 55c ?-?-95 envelope - Catalina Club cachet at left(stamp as 7-Apr-93)

[ . . ] 55c ?-?-95 envelope - Sisters of St John of God cachet at left(stamp as 7-Apr-93)

[ . . ] 55c 8-Jun-95 large window envelope - stamp shows bridge.
[ . . ] - ditto - also later version with 4 conditions (1996)
[ . . ] 55c - reissued 1997 without window

Epilepsy Envelope
[ . . ] 45c 4 - Sept - 95 envelope - Epilepsy Congress envelope; stamp shows Bridge outline

Window Env 1995
[ . . ] 'Paid' Nov 95 ' window ' envelope - Stamp shows Bridge

Maxicard 1996
[ . . ] ' Paid ' 16 - Jan - 1996 : Maxicard $1 Building the Bridge

[ . . ] 'Paid' 16 - Jan - 1997 postcard : View of Bridge with train ( 90c Australia Day stamp on picture side )

[ . . ] 'Paid' 16 - Jan - 97 maxicard - 'The Balcony' picture shows Bridge

[ . . ] 'Paid' 16 - Jan - 98 maxicard - Building Bridge

Maxicard 2000
[ . . ] 'Paid' 20 - Jun - 2000 maxicard - View of Bridge

Maxicard 2003
[ . . ] 'Paid' 6 - May - 03 maxicard - View of art galley with Bridge in background

Maxicard 2004
[ . . ] 'Paid' 2 - Mar - 04 maxicard - View of Bridge. Paid Frank on back. Scan shows attached adhesive on front.

Lady Denman Card
[ . . ] ' Paid ' ? - ? - 200? Postcard : Bridge with imprinted 35c Lady Denman stamp illustration

Postcard 50c Bridges stamp
[ . . ] 'Paid' 6 - Sept - 2004 Postcard - View of Bridge with 50c bridges IMPRINTED stamp illustration.

Postcard 45c Kangaroo
[ . . ] 'Paid' 1 - Jan - 2004 Postcard - View of Bridge with imprinted 45c Kangaroo & flag stamp illustration

2003 A3 Env.
[ . . ] ' Paid ' 21 - June - 2005 : B4 - sized envelope : Night view of bridge

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1932 Commemorative Telegram.
[ . . ] Telegram
[ . . ] Its commemorative envelope

For a scan of this special telegram form (and its accompanying envelope), produced in 1932 to permit the public to send friends a souvenir message from the Bridge, please click the link below.
If you do not have Broadband, you may find that this is quite a large file to download!

Link to Sydney Harbour Bridge Telegram( opens in new tab )

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Section 5 : Postmarks relating to Sydney Harbour Bridge

Once again, my thanks to Keith Downing for providing so much of the material for the listing below:

Postmark NE Pylon
[ . . ] 19-Mar-1932 N.E.Pylon Sydney Harbour Bridge non pictorial handstamp

Postmark SE Pylon
[ . . ] 19-Mar-1932 S.E.Pylon Sydney Harbour Bridge non pictorial handstamp

[ . . ] 19-Mar-1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge -1- non pictorial handstamp (as shown on the scan of the telegram)

Postmark Celebrations
[ . . ] 19-Mar-1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge N.S.W. non pictorial slogan postmark reads 'Posted on Bridge during opening celebrations'

Postmark 13-3-78
[ . . ] 13-Mar-1978 Philatelic Sales Centre / Sydney NSW 2000 philatelic postmark shows bridge (postmark in long term use)

Postmark 19-3-82
[ . . ] 19-Mar-1982 Sydney Harbour Bridge / 50th anniversary of opening ( cranes )

Postmark 2-10-82
[ . . ] 27-Sept-1982 to 2-Oct-1982 Carlingford Shopping Square NSW 2118 / National Stamp Week Exhibition 1982 shows bearded postman with bridge

Postmark 28-9-88
[ . . ] 28-Sept-1988 Sydney NSW 2000 / First Day of Issue shows tourists with bridge behind

Luna Park
[ . . ] (from) 12-July-1990 North Sydney NSW shows entrance to Luna Park with bridge in background - at least 2 designs used (postmark in long term use)

Postmark 2-4-91
[ . . ] 2-Apr-1991 GPO Sydney NSW 2000 / First Day of Issue shows bridge

Postmark 28-8-92
[ . . ] 25-Aug-1992 Sydney NSW 2000 / First Day of Issue shows stylised outline of bridge above water and tunnel

Postmark 25-3-96
[ . . ] (from) 25-Aug-1992 Royal Exchange NSW 2000 : Bridge & Tunnel ( postmark in long term use )

Postmark 24-9-93
[ . . ] 24-Sept-1993 Sydney NSW 2000 / First Day of Issue shows Opera House with part of bridge in background

End of Listing.

For those interested in the routes which run over the Harbour Bridge, there is an excellent rail map of the Sydney area ( with access via that page's sidebar to maps of other parts of the Australian rail network) if you click on this Australian webpage ( opens in new tab )

For those taking part in one of those quiz nights ( ! ), Sydney Harbour Bridge spans Jackson Port and was built by Freeman. The span of the arch is 1654 feet ( 504 m ) and the height of the road / rail deck above sea-level is 171 feet ( 52 m ). The deck is 98 feet ( 30 m ) wide with 4 railway tracks, a 6-lane highway and 2 footpaths. The towers, also known as pylons, are 505 feet ( 154 m ) high.
For more information, click here for a Non-philatelic website about the Bridge ( opens in new tab ).

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