In 1992, 60 years after the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened, a second crossing was forged from East Circular Quay to North Sydney, easing considerably the congestion on the Bridge. However, this time the crossing was below the water. The first photograph shows the entrance to the Harbour Tunnel from the Domain descending gradually beneath the Botanic Gardens about 35m below ground level, the tunnel continues beneath the Opera House Forecourt until it enters the immersed tunnel section which rests on the seabed 25m below water level.
It continues through this sleeve for about 1km before gradually rising the 55m to where my father is sitting on the bench surfacing about 300m behind him. The two photographs on either side of Dad, show a similar scene to each other but from opposing directions. The photo on the left is taken from the northern shore and shows the greenery of the Botanic Gardens in the centre of the image and the stretch of water to the right of the SOH beneath which the tunnel rests. The photo on the right is taken from the Tarpeian Way (on the southern shore )within the greenery of the Botanic Gardens. Beneath that chugging ferry, 86,000 cars each day pass through the immersed sleeve that is two totally separate 2 lane highways (oops ... lowways). The sleeve rests in a trench carved through the sea-floor (which was back-filled) with the sleeve then encased in a form of rock armour to protect it from maritime disasters and earthquakes.
I have not been able to date this old photograph of that sweep of Circular Quay that I have now shown on a couple of occasions. However, there is a horse and cart in the foreground, the tram appears to be of the trolley variety pre-electrification, and I can see the towers of Fort Macquarie on Bennelong Point which makes it pre-1905 at the latest. The tunnel now goes beneath that steam ship that is on the diagonal.