19 March 1932
On this day in 1932 the Sydney Harbour Bridge connecting Millers Point in The Rocks and Milsons Point in the lower North Shore was oficially opened.
The bridge was formally opened on Saturday, 19 March 1932. Amongst those who attended and gave speeches were the state Governor, Sir Philip Game, the Minister for Public Works, and Lawrence Ennis the engineer in charge and main construction site supervisor. The Labor Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang, was to open the bridge by cutting a ribbon at its southern end.
However, just as Lang was about to cut the ribbon, a man in military uniform rode in on a horse, slashing the ribbon with his sword and opening the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the name of the people of New South Wales before the official ceremony began. He was promptly arrested. The ribbon was hurriedly retied and Lang performed the official opening ceremony. After he did so, there was a 21-gun salute and an RAAF flypast. The intruder was identified as Francis de Groot. He was convicted of offensive behaviour and fined £5 after a psychiatric test proved he was sane. He was a member of a right-wing paramilitary group called the New Guard, opposed to Lang’s leftist policies and resentful of the fact that a member of the Royal Family had not been asked to open the bridge.