Image 'Southern Sun' above Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1931

TLF ID R3164

This is a gelatin silver-toned composite photograph measuring 32 cm x 25.5 cm, created by E.W. Searle. The Avro-10 Southern Sun plane piloted by Charles Ulm celebrated the arrival in Sydney of aviatrix Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia. Amy Johnson had crash landed in Brisbane and was flown to Sydney by Ulm. The image shows the plane flying over the partially constructed Sydney Harbour Bridge, escorted by a biplane. The view is from the northwest, probably McMahons Point. In the foreground, the image shows a ship docked at the bridge construction workshops wharf. East Circular Quay wharf, the Bennelong Point tram sheds, Government House and Farm Cove are all in the background. This asset demonstrates a creative photographic technique called montage, in which the images of the aeroplanes have been superimposed on an aerial photograph of Sydney Harbour taken in about June 1930. The depicted flight over the bridge never happened: the flattened tyres and immobile propeller on the 'Southern Sun' in the foreground indicate that the aeroplane was probably photographed on the ground. It suggests the investigative skills needed to accurately date some historical images. Hall and Co created the composite photograph in 1931 but by that year the arch on the Sydney Harbour Bridge was joined and the creeper cranes were no longer in place.

Educational details

Educational value
  • It shows the progress of Sydney Harbour Bridge, with 580-tonne electrically operated creeper cranes on each side of the main arch, a few months before the arch was joined on 19 August 1930 - built to an original design by Dr John Bradfield of the NSW Public Works Department and constructed by the British firm Dorman Long and Co, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is the biggest steel arch bridge in the world.
  • It shows the Sydney Harbour Bridge at a stage before steel decking was hung from the arch, with road, tram and railway lines yet to come and with the bridge construction site, later the site of Luna Park, in the foreground on the left - the Bridge was officially opened on 19 March 1932.
  • It portrays Sydney Harbour in 1930 with harbour ferries and other shipping, the Bennelong Point tram sheds, now the site of the Sydney Opera House, and eastern suburbs such as Kings Cross in the distance.
Year level

F; 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • HASS F-6
  • History
  • Studies of society and environment

Other details

  • Author
  • Name: E. W. Searle
  • Organization: E. W. Searle
  • Description: Author
  • Contributor
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Description: Content provider
  • URL:
  • Name: E. W. Searle
  • Organization: E. W. Searle
  • Description: Author
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements