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William Jolly Bridge, Brisbane. An old black and white image of the bridge taken from a distance.
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The William Jolly Bridge

The Grey Street Bridge opening over the Brisbane River was a grand event on 30 March 1932, eleven days after the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and nearly eight years before the Story Bridge (Moy 2015) 1. The rivalry between the two cities was well underway and Brisbane was immensely proud of its new Bridge. The Brisbane Courier described the Harbour Bridge opening as having "acclamation of the whole of Australia, but if that were in Brisbane it would be a monstrosity. The Grey Street Bridge was a bridge of classical design over the most beautiful river in the Commonwealth."

The Bridge was called the Grey Street Bridge from its opening  till 5 July 1955 when it was renamed after William Jolly, the first Lord Mayor of the Greater Brisbane City Council, 1925 - 1931. He was Mayor during the time the Bridge was built and died in 1955.

Julie Hornibrook is the recipient of the 2015 Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame Fellowship.

Read the William Jolly Bridge essay >

Read more about the 2015 Fellowship >

Problem solving and inspection of some foundation materials on site of the WIlliam Jolly Bridge construction. Manuel Hornibrook is on the right.
This photo, in the Album of the Queensland Cement & Lime Company Limited Photograph Albums, shows the caissons being built within the sand-island method. This innovative method was designed by Manuel Hornibrook for the unique requirements of sinking the pylons to the Brisbane River bed.
Photo taken of Manuel Hornibrook as he looks over building site of Grey St Bridge as pylon and approach to Bridge on north side is being built. MR Hornibrook Pty Ltd contractors sign in background.
Construction of the William Jolly Bridge, then called Grey Street Bridge, under construction as the Brisbane River flooded in 1931, photographed 7 February 1931. Each rib of the three spans consisted of structural steel fabricated under a sub-contract by M. R. Hornibrook Ltd. to Evans, Deakin and Co., Brisbane. This steelwork was designed to support the concrete during construction without falsework.
William Jolly Bridge under construction, with the steel archways being suspended and slotted into place by cables
The two halves of the second arch of the Grey Street Bridge, now called the William Jolly Bridge, being joined
Concrete work in progress to become arches supporting the road of the Bridge on the south side. Across the Brisbane River the Helidon Spa company warehouse and housing along Coronation Drive can be seen. Hornibrook's site office is by the river in the middle distance at left, with construction workshops in the left foreground.
Construction site that will support the southern roadway approach to the William Jolly Bridge (then called Grey Street Bridge). Hornibrook Contractors' construction workshops are visible behind the pylons at middle right.
A construction site for the Montague Road end of the William Jolly Bridge. You can see houses in the background of the construction.
Manuel Hornibrook, owner of the company that built the William Jolly Bridge, stands behind a large boxy 1930s microphone with speech notes in hand.
The image captures the moment of cutting the blue ribbon to open the Grey Street Bridge. The golden scissors had been handed to him by Manuel Hornibrook, standing behind him, not wearing a hat. An umbrella is held over the Lord Mayor W.J. Greene and the Lady Mayoress next to him. Local police and military police assist with managing the crowds.
The image shows men and women mingling in the crowd at the opening of the Grey Street Bridge. Manuel Hornibrook, in centre of photo is one of the few men not wearing a hat on the day.
24-year old German aviatrix Fraulein Elli Beinhorn, was presented to the Governor, Sir John Goodwin, at the opening of the William Jolly Bridge on Wednesday 30 March 1932. Fraulein Beinhorn had just completed a solo flight from Berlin to Australia. She started her flight in Berlin on 4 December 1931 and arrived at Archerfield Aerodrome on 29 March 1932. She flew a Klemm 80 h.p. monoplane. The Brisbane Courier described Elli as wearing a sleeveless blue and white sailor style frock with a deep square collar
The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress photographed at the opening of the Bridge. They have an air of anticipation - perhaps to be collected for the car procession over the Bridge? The Brisbane Courier wrote that the Lady Mayoress wore Gothic patterned silk in two tones of delphinium blue with a deep white satin rever collar and a white fancy panama hat.’ (31 March 1932).
Photo taken as car of the Governor, His Excellency Sir John Goodwin, leads the procession over the Bridge behind the musicians playing bagpipes, after the blue ribbon has been cut. Stalls for the festivities include Tristrams and Peters, seen in left of photo, and other gaily decorated stalls. Riviera Hotel seen in background on north side of river. People crowd the balconies to watch the procession.
This photo was printed in the Brisbane Courier (31/3/1932 issue) and shows the moments after the lights were turned on for the first time on the Grey Street Bridge at the opening event. Lady Mayoress Greene turned on the switch and was given a memento of the switch, mounted on rosewood, as well as an engraved clock, by Manuel Hornibrook and Harding Frew.
Photo taken after the opening of the Bridge, with a mix of traffic use visible including pedestrians, horses and carts, motorbikes, trucks and other vehicles.
Aerial photo of the bridge taken soon after the opening, showing detail of the cityscape and roads on north and south sides of the river.
Illustrated cover page from the Queenslander of the William Jolly Bridge (then called the Grey Street Bridge), which was officially opened 30 March 1932. The Brisbane Courier on the same day gave most of its edition to coverage of the opening of the Grey Street Bridge, from history to speeches, ladies' dress and events. It also highlighted the prospectus for the Hornibrook Highway.