An image of Building the Harbour Bridge I, beginnings

Jessie Traill

(Australia 29 Jul 1881 – 15 May 1967)

Building the Harbour Bridge I, beginnings

Other titles:
Building the Harbour Bridge No. I
Not on display
Further information

Jessie Traill’s Building the Harbour Bridge series is her most significant achievement as an artist, and a remarkable record of what was then the largest and most ambitious engineering project in Australian history.

Traill travelled from Melbourne to Sydney regularly between 1927 and 1932 to document the progress of the workers in
drawings and watercolours, leading to this six-etching series and two aquatints of the bridge. She was given special access to the
top deck to observe the workers, and felt herself an intrinsic part of the great national project. She wrote in 1929:

What we see is a solid mass of concrete and intricate lacework of iron made more intricate by the play of light and shade;
something that giants might play with as a child would with his Meccano set… In years to come when we dash over the Bridge
in our taxi or take a “walk” across (which will be about a mile) to see our Harbour, we, who have watched it progress and sketched
or photographed its parts, will feel with these workmen a sort of pride of possession, and it will be OUR BRIDGE too.

Place of origin
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
etching, foul bite, printed in brown ink with plate tone on cream wove paper
24.5 x 36.4 cm platemark; 32.9 x 45.5 cm sheet (irreg.)
Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. beneath platemark, pencil "JCA Traill 1927.".

Purchased 1975
Accession number
© Estate of the artist. Licensed by Copyright Agency