The pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge were inspected in 1938 to find the best locations to install machine guns. No. 5 Section, 1st Anti-aircraft Battery (Lewis Gun Section), carried out training in all four pylons from 13 to 15 November 1939.

A memo dated 25 April 1942, described an inspection of the bridge pylons by the Australian Army prior to them taking control of all four pylons. Guns were installed in two of the pylons. The pylons were also used to accommodate troops.

B Tp of 221 LAA Bty installed the Bofors in July 1942 on the north west and south east pylons and manned them until December when D Tp took over. In August 1943, D Tp was used as the AMF component of 655 LAA Bty (Static) along with VDC men detached from 7 VDC Bn. In May 1944 the 654 LAA Bty (Static) took over, but only the AMF men moved while the VDC men from 7 VDC Bn remained in place. In July 1944 654 LAA Bty (Static) was disbanded and replaced by 654 LAA Bty (VDC) which was a fully VDC unit formed within 7 VDC Bn. They were stood down in October 1944.

HQ AA Defences NSW L of C Area was briefly renamed HQ 101 AA Regt in June 1942 before being renamed HQ AA Gp (Sydney) in July. They were the overall HQ for the AA defences around Sydney. 108 LAA Regt was formed from 48 Inf Bn at Ingleburn in July 1942. One of their batteries, 148 LAA Bty, was attached to AA Gp (Sydney) for training from February 1943 to May and although some crews may have trained at the Sydney Harbour Bridge, they were not the unit manning the guns. 108 LAA Regt was converted to 101 Composite AA Regt in July 1943 and left for NT.

Members of the 61st Anti-aircraft Searchlight Battery 61 (AASL Bty) had observers on the pylons of the bridge during WWII.

NRS 9771 Correspondence files – Miscellaneous, 1932-1978 [Department of Main Roads], File 42m457 Anti-Aircraft Defence – Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1942 [10/27345] contains information on both the building and the decommissioning of the anti-aircraft gun platforms on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the changes made to the Bridge pylons to accommodate the anti-aircraft guns. One report dated 8 December 1942 states that there were three military units in occupation on the Bridge:-

The file states that the officer in charge for the positioning of the guns in 1942 was Captain G Vincent of 221 Light Anti-Aircraft Battery. The anti-aircraft guns were located in the south-eastern and north-western pylons. There is also mention of sleeping accommodation being made for soldiers in the pylons, although details are not given. The anti-aircraft guns were removed on 23 October 1944. In a report on what would be needed to remove traces of the Army’s occupation, dated 8 November 1944, Item 2 and 3 are removing 8 x HD bolts from the south-eastern and north-western pylons, Item 4 is sealing 4 x MS cover plate and Item 5 is removing 8 x Lewis gun bed-plates.

The bridge guards would have come from the 11th Garrison Battalion.


Photo:- “1943 AUSIMAGE © Jacobs Group (Australia) Pty Ltd”

Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1943


Photo:- “1943 AUSIMAGE © Jacobs Group (Australia) Pty Ltd”

A 40mm Bofors gun can just be seen on the NW pylon


Photo:- “1943 AUSIMAGE © Jacobs Group (Australia) Pty Ltd”

A 40mm Bofors gun can just be seen on the SE pylon



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This page first produced 20 March 2018

This page last updated 18 January 2020