19 March 1932

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is opened.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney harbour bridge new south wales.jpg
Viewed from Kirribilli in 2009
Coordinates33°51′08″S 151°12′38″E / 33.85222°S 151.21056°E / -33.85222; 151.21056Coordinates: 33°51′08″S 151°12′38″E / 33.85222°S 151.21056°E / -33.85222; 151.21056
CrossesPort Jackson (Sydney Harbour)
LocaleSydney, New South Wales, Australia
BeginsDawes Point (south)
EndsMilsons Point (north)
OwnerGovernment of New South Wales
Maintained byTransport for NSW
Preceded byGladesville Bridge
DesignThrough arch bridge
Pier constructionGranite-faced concrete
Total length1,149 m (3,770 ft)
Width48.8 m (160 ft)
Height134 m (440 ft)
Longest span503 m (1,650 ft)
No. of spans1
Clearance below49 m (161 ft) at mid-span
No. of lanes8
Rail characteristics
No. of tracks2
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Electrified1500 V DC overhead
Constructed byDorman Long & Co
Construction start28 July 1923 (1923-07-28)
Construction end19 January 1932 (1932-01-19)
Opened19 March 1932 (1932-03-19)
Inaugurated19 March 1932 (1932-03-19)
Replaced bySydney Harbour Tunnel
(concurrent use since 1992:
motor vehicles only)
TollTime-of-day (southbound only)
Official nameSydney Harbour Bridge, Bradfield Hwy, Dawes Point - Milsons Point, NSW, Australia
TypeNational Heritage List
Designated19 March 2007
Reference no.105888
Place File No.1/12/036/0065
Official nameSydney Harbour Bridge, approaches and viaducts (road and rail); Pylon Lookout; Milsons Point Railway Station; Bradfield Park; Bradfield Park North; Dawes Point Park; Bradfield Highway
TypeState heritage (complex / group)
Designated25 June 1999
Reference no.781
TypeRoad Bridge
CategoryTransport - Land

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is an Australian heritage-listed steel through arch bridge across Sydney Harbour that carries rail, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district (CBD) and the North Shore. The view of the bridge, the harbour, and the nearby Sydney Opera House is widely regarded as an iconic image of Sydney, and of Australia itself. The bridge is nicknamed "The Coathanger" because of its arch-based design.[1][2]

Under the direction of John Bradfield of the New South Wales Department of Public Works, the bridge was designed and built by British firm Dorman Long of Middlesbrough (who based the design on their 1928 Tyne Bridge in Newcastle upon Tyne) and opened in 1932.[3][4] The bridge's general design, which Bradfield tasked the NSW Department of Public Works with producing, was a rough copy of the Hell Gate Bridge in New York City. This general design document, however, did not form any part of the request for tender, which remained sufficiently broad as to allow cantilever (Bradfield's original preference) and even suspension bridge proposals. The design chosen from the tender responses was original work created by Dorman Long, who leveraged some of the design from their own Tyne Bridge which, though superficially similar, does not share the graceful flares at the ends of each arch which make the harbour bridge so distinctive.[5] It is the eighth longest spanning-arch bridge in the world and the tallest steel arch bridge, measuring 134 m (440 ft) from top to water level.[6] It was also the world's widest long-span bridge, at 48.8 m (160 ft) wide, until construction of the new Port Mann Bridge in Vancouver was completed in 2012.[7][8]

The Sydney Harbour Bridge went on to be added to the Australian National Heritage List on 19 March 2007[9] and to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 25 June 1999.[10]


Sydney Harbour from the air, showing the Opera House, the CBD, Circular Quay, the Bridge, the Parramatta River, North Sydney and Kirribilli in the foreground

The southern end of the bridge is located at Dawes Point in The Rocks area, and the northern end at Milsons Point in the lower North Shore area. There are six original lanes of road traffic through the main roadway, plus an additional two lanes of road traffic on its eastern side, using lanes that were formerly tram tracks. Adjacent to the road traffic, a path for pedestrian use runs along the eastern side of the bridge, whilst a dedicated path for bicycle use only runs along the western side; between the main roadway and the western bicycle path lies the North Shore railway line.

A close view of Sydney Harbour Bridge at night

The main roadway across the bridge is known as the Bradfield Highway and is about 2.4 km (1.5 mi) long, making it one of the shortest highways in Australia.[11]


One of the nuts that hold the bridge on its abutments; this one is at the north end.
The south-eastern pylon containing the tourist lookout, made of granite quarried at Moruya, NSW

The arch is composed of two 28-panel arch trusses; their heights vary from 18 m (59 ft) at the centre of the arch to 57 m (187 ft) at the ends next to the pylons.[12]

The arch has a span of 504 m (1,654 ft) and its summit is 134 m (440 ft) above mean sea level; expansion of the steel structure on hot days can increase the height of the arch by 18 cm (7.1 in).[13]

The total weight of the steelwork of the bridge, including the arch and approach spans, is 52,800 tonnes (52,000 long tons; 58,200 short tons), with the arch itself weighing 39,000 tonnes (38,000 long tons; 43,000 short tons).[14] About 79% of the steel, specifically those technical sections constituting the curve of the arch, was imported pre-formed from England, with the rest being sourced from Newcastle.[15] On site, the contractors (Dorman Long and Co.) set up two workshops at Milsons Point, at the site of the present day Luna Park, and fabricated the steel into the girders and other required parts.[15]

The bridge is held together by six million Australian-made hand-driven rivets supplied by the McPherson company of Melbourne,[16][17] the last being driven through the deck on 21 January 1932.[15][18] The rivets were heated red-hot and inserted into the plates; the headless end was immediately rounded over with a large pneumatic rivet gun.[19] The largest of the rivets used weighed 3.5 kg (8 lb) and was 39.5 cm (15.6 in) long.[14][20] The practice of riveting large steel structures, rather than welding, was, at the time, a proven and understood construction technique, whilst structural welding had not at that stage been adequately developed for use on the bridge.[19]


At each end of the arch stands a pair of 89-metre-high (292 ft) concrete pylons, faced with granite.[21] The pylons were designed by the Scottish architect Thomas S. Tait,[22] a partner in the architectural firm John Burnet & Partners.[23]

Some 250 Australian, Scottish, and Italian stonemasons and their families relocated to a temporary settlement at Moruya, NSW, 300 km (186 mi) south of Sydney, where they quarried around 18,000 m3 (635,664 cu ft) of granite for the bridge pylons.[15] The stonemasons cut, dressed, and numbered the blocks, which were then transported to Sydney on three ships built specifically for this purpose. The Moruya quarry was managed by John Gilmore, a Scottish stonemason who emigrated with his young family to Australia in 1924, at the request of the project managers.[15][24][25] The concrete used was also Australian-made and supplied from Kandos, New South Wales.[26][27][28][29]

Abutments at the base of the pylons are essential to support the loads from the arch and hold its span firmly in place, but the pylons themselves have no structural purpose. They were included to provide a frame for the arch panels and to give better visual balance to the bridge. The pylons were not part of the original design, and were only added to allay public concern about the structural integrity of the bridge.[30]

Although originally added to the bridge solely for their aesthetic value, all four pylons have now been put to use. The south-eastern pylon contains a museum and tourist centre, with a 360° lookout at the top providing views across the harbour and city. The south-western pylon is used by the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) to support its CCTV cameras overlooking the bridge and the roads around that area. The two pylons on the north shore include venting chimneys for fumes from the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, with the base of the southern pylon containing the RMS maintenance shed for the bridge, and the base of the northern pylon containing the traffic management shed for tow trucks and safety vehicles used on the bridge.[citation needed]

In 1942, the pylons were modified to include parapets and anti-aircraft guns designed to assist in both Australia's defence and general war effort.[31] The top level of stonework was never removed.[citation needed]


Early proposals

Sketches of designs submitted when tenders were called for a harbour crossing in 1900

There had been plans to build a bridge as early as 1815, when convict and noted architect Francis Greenway reputedly proposed to Governor Lachlan Macquarie that a bridge be built from the northern to the southern shore of the harbour.[6][32] In 1825, Greenway wrote a letter to the then "The Australian" newspaper stating that such a bridge would "give an idea of strength and magnificence that would reflect credit and glory on the colony and the Mother Country".[32]

Nothing came of Greenway's suggestions, but the idea remained alive, and many further suggestions were made during the nineteenth century. In 1840, naval architect Robert Brindley proposed that a floating bridge be built. Engineer Peter Henderson produced one of the earliest known drawings of a bridge across the harbour around 1857. A suggestion for a truss bridge was made in 1879, and in 1880 a high-level bridge estimated at £850,000 was proposed.[32]

In 1900, the Lyne government committed to building a new Central railway station and organised a worldwide competition for the design and construction of a harbour bridge. Local engineer Norman Selfe submitted a design for a suspension bridge and won the second prize of £500. In 1902, when the outcome of the first competition became mired in controversy, Selfe won a second competition outright, with a design for a steel cantilever bridge. The selection board were unanimous, commenting that, "The structural lines are correct and in true proportion, and... the outline is graceful".[33] However due to an economic downturn and a change of government at the 1904 NSW State election construction never began.[citation needed]

Ernest Stowe Proposed Sydney Harbour Bridge
Stowe's 1922 Proposal

A unique three-span bridge was proposed in 1922 by Ernest Stowe with connections at Balls Head, Millers Point, and Balmain with a memorial tower and hub on Goat Island.[34][35]


In 1914 John Bradfield was appointed "Chief Engineer of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Metropolitan Railway Construction", and his work on the project over many years earned him the legacy as the "father" of the bridge.[3] Bradfield's preference at the time was for a cantilever bridge without piers, and in 1916 the NSW Legislative Assembly passed a bill for such a construction, however it did not proceed as the Legislative Council rejected the legislation on the basis that the money would be better spent on the war effort.[32]

Following World War I, plans to build the bridge again built momentum.[6] Bradfield persevered with the project, fleshing out the details of the specifications and financing for his cantilever bridge proposal, and in 1921 he travelled overseas to investigate tenders. His Confidential Secretary Kathleen M. Butler handled all the international correspondence during his absence, her title belying her role as a technical adviser.[36][37] On return from his travels Bradfield decided that an arch design would also be suitable[32] and he and officers of the NSW Department of Public Works prepared a general design[6] for a single-arch bridge based upon New York City's Hell Gate Bridge.[5][38] In 1922 the government passed the Sydney Harbour Bridge Act No. 28, specifying the construction of a high-level cantilever or arch bridge across the harbour between Dawes Point and Milsons Point, along with construction of necessary approaches and electric railway lines,[32] and worldwide tenders were invited for the project.[3]

Norman Selfe's winning design at the second competition c.1903
The Hell Gate Bridge in New York City inspired the final design of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

As a result of the tendering process, the government received twenty proposals from six companies; on 24 March 1924 the contract was awarded to British firm Dorman Long and Co Ltd, of Middlesbrough well known as the contractors who later built the similar Tyne Bridge of Newcastle Upon Tyne, for an arch bridge at a quoted price of AU£4,217,721 11s 10d.[3][32] The arch design was cheaper than alternative cantilever and suspension bridge proposals, and also provided greater rigidity making it better suited for the heavy loads expected.[32] In 1924, Kathleen Butler travelled to London to set up the project office within those of Dorman, Long & Co., "attending the most difficult and technical questions and technical questions in regard to the contract, and dealing with a mass of correspondence".[39]

Bradfield and his staff were ultimately to oversee the bridge design and building process as it was executed by Dorman Long and Co, whose Consulting Engineer, Sir Ralph Freeman of Sir Douglas Fox and Partners, and his associate Mr. G.C. Imbault, carried out the detailed design and erection process of the bridge.[3] Architects for the contractors were from the British firm John Burnet & Partners of Glasgow, Scotland.[23] Lawrence Ennis, of Dorman Long, served as Director of Construction and primary onsite supervisor throughout the entire build, alongside Edward Judge, Dorman Long's Chief Technical Engineer, who functioned as Consulting and Designing Engineer.

The building of the bridge coincided with the construction of a system of underground railways in Sydney's CBD, known today as the City Circle, and the bridge was designed with this in mind. The bridge was designed to carry six lanes of road traffic, flanked on each side by two railway tracks and a footpath. Both sets of rail tracks were linked into the underground Wynyard railway station on the south (city) side of the bridge by symmetrical ramps and tunnels. The eastern-side railway tracks were intended for use by a planned rail link to the Northern Beaches;[40] in the interim they were used to carry trams from the North Shore into a terminal within Wynyard station, and when tram services were discontinued in 1958, they were converted into extra traffic lanes. The Bradfield Highway, which is the main roadway section of the bridge and its approaches, is named in honour of Bradfield's contribution to the bridge.


Sydney Harbour Bridge under construction
The arch being constructed
Aerial view of Sydney and Circular Quay on the day of the official opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 19 March 1932
HMAS Canberra sailing under the completed arch from which the deck is being suspended in 1930

Bradfield visited the site sporadically throughout the eight years it took Dorman Long to complete the bridge. Despite having originally championed a cantilever construction and the fact that his own arched general design was used in neither the tender process nor as input to the detailed design specification (and was anyway a rough copy of the Devil's Gate bridge produced by the NSW Works Department), Bradfield subsequently attempted to claim personal credit for Dorman Long's design. This led to a bitter argument, with Dorman Long maintaining that instructing other people to produce a copy of an existing design in a document not subsequently used to specify the final construction did not constitute personal design input on Bradfield's part. This friction ultimately led to a large contemporary brass plaque being bolted very tightly to the side of one of the granite columns of the bridge in order to makes things clear.[citation needed]

The official ceremony to mark the "turning of the first sod" occurred on 28 July 1923, on the spot at Milsons Point on the north shore where two workshops to assist in building the bridge were to be constructed.[41][42]

An estimated 469 buildings on the north shore, both private homes and commercial operations, were demolished to allow construction to proceed, with little or no compensation being paid. Work on the bridge itself commenced with the construction of approaches and approach spans, and by September 1926 concrete piers to support the approach spans were in place on each side of the harbour.[41]

As construction of the approaches took place, work was also started on preparing the foundations required to support the enormous weight of the arch and loadings. Concrete and granite faced abutment towers were constructed, with the angled foundations built into their sides.[41]

Once work had progressed sufficiently on the support structures, a giant "creeper crane" was erected on each side of the harbour.[43] These cranes were fitted with a cradle, and then used to hoist men and materials into position to allow for erection of the steelwork. To stabilise works while building the arches, tunnels were excavated on each shore with steel cables passed through them and then fixed to the upper sections of each half-arch to stop them collapsing as they extended outwards.[41]

Arch construction itself began on 26 October 1928. The southern end of the bridge was worked on ahead of the northern end, to detect any errors and to help with alignment. The cranes would "creep" along the arches as they were constructed, eventually meeting up in the middle. In less than two years, on Tuesday, 19 August 1930, the two halves of the arch touched for the first time. Workers riveted both top and bottom sections of the arch together, and the arch became self-supporting, allowing the support cables to be removed. On 20 August 1930 the joining of the arches was celebrated by flying the flags of Australia and the United Kingdom from the jibs of the creeper cranes.[41][44]

Grace Cossington Smith's painting of the arch under construction.
John Bradfield riding the first test train across the bridge on 19 January 1932

Once the arch was completed, the creeper cranes were then worked back down the arches, allowing the roadway and other parts of the bridge to be constructed from the centre out. The vertical hangers were attached to the arch, and these were then joined with horizontal crossbeams. The deck for the roadway and railway were built on top of the crossbeams, with the deck itself being completed by June 1931, and the creeper cranes were dismantled. Rails for trains and trams were laid, and road was surfaced using concrete topped with asphalt.[41] Power and telephone lines, and water, gas, and drainage pipes were also all added to the bridge in 1931.[citation needed]

The pylons were built atop the abutment towers, with construction advancing rapidly from July 1931. Carpenters built wooden scaffolding, with concreters and masons then setting the masonry and pouring the concrete behind it. Gangers built the steelwork in the towers, while day labourers manually cleaned the granite with wire brushes. The last stone of the north-west pylon was set in place on 15 January 1932, and the timber towers used to support the cranes were removed.[21][41]

On 19 January 1932, the first test train, a steam locomotive, safely crossed the bridge.[45] Load testing of the bridge took place in February 1932, with the four rail tracks being loaded with as many as 96 steam locomotives positioned end-to-end. The bridge underwent testing for three weeks, after which it was declared safe and ready to be opened.[41] The construction worksheds were demolished after the bridge was completed, and the land that they were on is now occupied by Luna Park.[46]

The standards of industrial safety during construction were poor by today's standards. Sixteen workers died during construction,[47] but surprisingly only two from falling off the bridge. Several more were injured from unsafe working practices undertaken whilst heating and inserting its rivets, and the deafness experienced by many of the workers in later years was blamed on the project. Henri Mallard between 1930 and 1932 produced hundreds of stills[48] and film footage[49] which reveal at close quarters the bravery of the workers in tough Depression-era conditions.[citation needed]

Interviews were conducted between 1982-1989 with a variety of tradesmen who worked on the building of the bridge. Among the tradesmen interviewed were drillers, riveters, concrete packers, boilermakers, riggers, ironworkers, plasterers, stonemasons, an official photographer, sleepcutters, engineers and draughtsmen.[50]

The total financial cost of the bridge was AU£6.25 million, which was not paid off in full until 1988.[51]


The bridge was formally opened on Saturday, 19 March 1932.[52] Among those who attended and gave speeches were the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Philip Game, and the Minister for Public Works, Lawrence Ennis. The Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang, was to open the bridge by cutting a ribbon at its southern end.[53]

De Groot cutting the ribbon at the official opening of the Bridge, 19 March 1932

However, just as Lang was about to cut the ribbon, a man in military uniform rode up 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.[54] The ribbon was hurriedly retied and Lang performed the official opening ceremony and Game thereafter inaugurated the name of the bridge as 'Sydney Harbour Bridge' and the associated roadway as the 'Bradfield Highway'. After they 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, but this verdict was reversed on appeal. De Groot then successfully sued the Commissioner of Police for wrongful arrest and was awarded an undisclosed out of court settlement. De Groot 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.[54] De Groot was not a member of the regular army but his uniform allowed him to blend in with the real cavalry. This incident was one of several involving Lang and the New Guard during that year.[citation needed]

A similar ribbon-cutting ceremony on the bridge's northern side by North Sydney's mayor, Alderman Primrose, was carried out without incident. It was later discovered that Primrose was also a New Guard member but his role in and knowledge of the de Groot incident, if any, are unclear.[citation needed] The pair of golden scissors used in the ribbon cutting ceremonies on both sides of the bridge was also used to cut the ribbon at the dedication of the Bayonne Bridge, which had opened between Bayonne, New Jersey, and New York City the year before.[55][56]

Despite the bridge opening in the midst of the Great Depression, opening celebrations were organised by the Citizens of Sydney Organising Committee, an influential body of prominent men and politicians that formed in 1931 under the chairmanship of the lord mayor to oversee the festivities. The celebrations included an array of decorated floats, a procession of passenger ships sailing below the bridge, and a Venetian Carnival.[57] A message from a primary school in Tottenham, 515 km (320 mi) away in rural New South Wales, arrived at the bridge on the day and was presented at the opening ceremony. It had been carried all the way from Tottenham to the bridge by relays of school children, with the final relay being run by two children from the nearby Fort Street Boys' and Girls' schools. After the official ceremonies, the public was allowed to walk across the bridge on the deck, something that would not be repeated until the 50th anniversary celebrations.[32] Estimates suggest that between 300,000 and one million people took part in the opening festivities,[32] a phenomenal number given that the entire population of Sydney at the time was estimated to be 1,256,000.[58]

There had also been numerous preparatory arrangements. On 14 March 1932, three postage stamps were issued to commemorate the imminent opening of the bridge. Several songs were composed for the occasion.[59] In the year of the opening, there was a steep rise in babies being named Archie and Bridget in honour of the bridge.[60]

The bridge itself was regarded as a triumph over Depression times, earning the nickname "the Iron Lung", as it kept many Depression-era workers employed.[61]


In 2010, the average daily traffic included 204 trains, 160,435 vehicles and 1650 bicycles.[62]


The roadway of the bridge, from the southern or city approach. From left: walkway, eight traffic lanes (the two leftmost once carried the Sydney trams), two railway tracks, and cycleway. The gantries with lights controlling traffic tidal flow are clearly visible, while the tollbooths can be seen near the bases of the high-rise buildings

From the Sydney CBD side, motor vehicle access to the bridge is normally via Grosvenor Street, Clarence Street, Kent Street, the Cahill Expressway, or the Western Distributor. Drivers on the northern side will find themselves on the Warringah Freeway, though it is easy to turn off the freeway to drive westwards into North Sydney or eastwards to Neutral Bay and beyond upon arrival on the northern side.[citation needed]

The bridge originally only had four wider traffic lanes occupying the central space which now has six, as photos taken soon after the opening clearly show. In 1958 tram services across the bridge were withdrawn and the tracks replaced by two extra road lanes; these lanes are now the leftmost southbound lanes on the bridge and are still clearly distinguishable from the other six road lanes. Lanes 7 and 8 now connect the bridge to the elevated Cahill Expressway that carries traffic to the Eastern Distributor.

In 1988, work began to build a tunnel to complement the bridge. It was determined that the bridge could no longer support the increased traffic flow of the 1980s. The Sydney Harbour Tunnel was completed in August 1992 and carries only motor vehicles.

The Bradfield Highway is designated as a Travelling Stock Route[63] which means that it is permissible to herd livestock across the bridge, but only between midnight and dawn, and after giving notice of intention to do so. In practice, the last time livestock crossed the bridge was in 1999 for the Gelbvieh Cattle Congress.[64]

Tidal flow

The bridge is equipped for tidal flow operation, permitting the direction of traffic flow on the bridge to be altered to better suit the morning and evening rush hours' traffic patterns.[65]

The bridge has eight lanes in total, numbered one to eight from west to east. Lanes three, four and five are reversible. One and two always flow north. Six, seven, and eight always flow south. The default is four each way. For the morning rush hour, the lane changes on the bridge also require changes to the Warringah Freeway, with its inner western reversible carriageway directing traffic to the bridge lane numbers three and four southbound.[citation needed]

The bridge has a series of overhead gantries which indicate the direction of flow for each traffic lane. A green arrow pointing down to a traffic lane means the lane is open. A flashing red "X" indicates the lane is closing, but is not yet in use for traffic travelling in the other direction. A static red "X" means the lane is in use for oncoming traffic. This arrangement was introduced in the 1990s, replacing a slow operation where lane markers were manually moved to mark the centre median.[citation needed]

It is possible to see odd arrangements of flow during night periods when maintenance occurs, which may involve completely closing some lanes. Normally this is done between midnight and dawn, because of the enormous traffic demands placed on the bridge outside these hours.[citation needed]

When the Sydney Harbour Tunnel opened in August 1992, Lane 7 became a bus lane.[66][67]


Northbound view of toll gates, 1933

The vehicular traffic lanes on the bridge are operated as a toll road. As of October 2019, there is a variable tolling system for all vehicles headed into the CBD (southbound). The toll paid is dependent on the time of day in which the vehicle passes through the toll plaza. The toll varies from a minimum value of $2.50 to a maximum value of $4.[68] There is no toll for northbound traffic (though taxis travelling north may charge passengers the toll in anticipation of the toll the taxi must pay on the return journey). In 2017, the Bradfield Highway northern toll plaza infrastructure was removed and replaced with new overhead gantries to service all southbound traffic.[69] And following on from this upgrade, in 2018 all southern toll plaza infrastructure was also removed.[70] Only the Cahill Expressway toll plaza infrastructure remains. The toll was originally placed on travel across the bridge, in both directions, to recoup the cost of its construction. This was paid off in 1988, but the toll has been kept (indeed increased) to recoup the costs of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel.[71][72]

After the decision to build the Sydney Harbour Tunnel was made in the early 1980s, the toll was increased (from 20 cents to $1, then to $1.50, and finally to $2 by the time the tunnel opened) to pay for its construction. The tunnel also had an initial toll of $2 southbound. After the increase to $1, the concrete barrier on the bridge separating the Bradfield Highway from the Cahill Expressway was increased in height, because of the large numbers of drivers crossing it illegally from lane 6 to 7, to avoid the toll. The toll for all southbound vehicles was increased to $3 in March 2004.[citation needed]

Originally it cost a car or motorcycle six pence to cross, a horse and rider being three pence. Use of the bridge by bicycle riders (provided that they use the cycleway) and by pedestrians is free. Later governments capped the fee for motorcycles at one-quarter of the passenger-vehicle cost, but now it is again the same as the cost for a passenger vehicle, although quarterly flat-fee passes are available which are much cheaper for frequent users.[73] Originally there were six toll booths at the southern end of the bridge, these were replaced by 16 booths in 1950.[74] The toll was charged in both directions until 4 July 1970 when changed to only be applied to southbound traffic.[75]

In July 2008 a new electronic tolling system called e-TAG was introduced. The Sydney Harbour Tunnel was converted to this new tolling system while the Sydney Harbour Bridge itself had several cash lanes. The electronic system as of 12 January 2009 has now replaced all booths with E-tag lanes.[76] In January 2017 work commenced to remove the southern toll booths.[77] In August 2020, the remaining toll booths at Milsons Point were removed.[78][79]


A cyclist using the cycleway. Side fences were added to prevent people from committing suicide by jumping from the bridge.

The pedestrian-only footway is located on the east side of the bridge. Access from the northern side involves climbing an easily spotted flight of stairs, located on the east side of the bridge at Broughton St, Kirribilli. Pedestrian access on the southern side is more complicated, but signposts in the Rocks area now direct pedestrians to the long and sheltered flight of stairs that leads to the bridge's southern end. These stairs are located near Gloucester Street and Cumberland Street.[citation needed]

The bridge can also be approached from the south by accessing Cahill Walk, which runs along the Cahill Expressway. Pedestrians can access this walkway from the east end of Circular Quay by a flight of stairs or a lift. Alternatively it can be accessed from the Botanic Gardens.[80]


The bike-only cycleway is located on the western side of the bridge. Access from the northern side involves carrying or pushing a bicycle up a staircase, consisting of 55 steps, located on the western side of the bridge at Burton St, Milsons Point. A wide smooth concrete strip in the centre of the stairs permits cycles to be wheeled up and down from the bridge deck whilst the rider is dismounted. A campaign to eliminate the steps on this popular cycling route to the CBD has been running since at least 2008.[81][82] On 7 December 2016 the NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay confirmed that the northern stairway would be replaced with a A$20 million ramp alleviating the needs for cyclists to dismount. At the same time the NSW Government announced plans to upgrade the southern ramp at a projected cost of A$20 million. Both projects are expected to completed by late 2020.[83][84][85] Access to the cycleway on the southern side is via the northern end of the Kent Street cycleway and/or Upper Fort Street in The Rocks.[86]


The bridge lies between Milsons Point and Wynyard railway stations, located on the north and south shores respectively, with two tracks running along the western side of the bridge. These tracks are part of the North Shore railway line.

In 1958, tram services across the bridge were withdrawn and the tracks they had used were removed and replaced by two extra road lanes; these lanes are now the leftmost southbound lanes on the bridge and are still clearly distinguishable from the other six road lanes. The original ramp that took the trams into their terminus at the underground Wynyard railway station is still visible at the southern end of the main walkway under lanes 7 and 8, although around 1964, the former tram tunnels and station were converted for use as a carpark for the Menzies Hotel and as public parking. One of the tunnels was converted for use as a storage facility after reportedly being used by the NSW police as a pistol firing range.[87]


The Sydney Harbour Bridge requires constant inspections and other maintenance work to keep it safe for the public, and to protect from corrosion. Among the trades employed on the bridge are painters, ironworkers, boilermakers, fitters, electricians, plasterers, carpenters, plumbers, and riggers.[38]

The most noticeable maintenance work on the bridge involves painting. The steelwork of the bridge that needs to be painted is a combined 485,000 m2 (120 acres), the equivalent of sixty football fields. Each coat on the bridge requires some 30,000 L (6,600 imp gal) of paint.[38] A special fast-drying paint is used, so that any paint drops have dried before reaching the vehicles or bridge surface.[20] One notable identity from previous bridge-painting crews is Australian comedian and actor Paul Hogan, who worked as a bridge rigger before rising to media fame in the 1970s.[6]

In 2003 the Roads & Traffic Authority began completely repainting the southern approach spans of the bridge. This involved removing the old lead-based paint, and repainting the 90,000 m2 (22 acres) of steel below the deck. Workers operated from self-contained platforms below the deck, with each platform having an air extraction system to filter airborne particles. An abrasive blasting was used, with the lead waste collected and safely removed from the site for disposal.[38]

Between December 2006 and March 2010 the bridge was subject to works designed to ensure its longevity. The work included some strengthening.[88]

Since 2013, two grit-blasting robots specially developed with the University of Technology, Sydney have been employed to help with the paint stripping operation on the bridge.[89] The robots, nicknamed Rosie and Sandy,[90] are intended to reduce workers' potential exposure to dangerous lead paint and asbestos and the blasting equipment which has enough force to cut through clothes and skin.[91]


Historic tourist signs for the pylon lookout, from Rentoul's 'All Australian Exhibition', 1948 – 1971
BridgeClimb participants, wearing the mandatory special jumpsuits
BridgeClimbers admire the view mid-climb, while a second group reach the top of the arch. Note also the light fixtures and extensive use of rivets

South-east pylon

Even during its construction, the bridge was such a prominent feature of Sydney that it would attract tourist interest. One of the ongoing tourist attractions of the bridge has been the south-east pylon, which is accessed via the pedestrian walkway across the bridge, and then a climb to the top of the pylon of about 200 steps.[18]

Not long after the bridge's opening, commencing in 1934, Archer Whitford first converted this pylon into a tourist destination.[92] He installed a number of attractions, including a café, a camera obscura, an Aboriginal museum, a "Mother's Nook" where visitors could write letters, and a "pashometer". The main attraction was the viewing platform, where "charming attendants" assisted visitors to use the telescopes available,[92] and a copper cladding (still present) over the granite guard rails identified the suburbs and landmarks of Sydney at the time.[93]

The outbreak of World War II in 1939 saw tourist activities on the bridge cease, as the military took over the four pylons and modified them to include parapets and anti-aircraft guns.[94]

In 1948, Yvonne Rentoul opened the "All Australian Exhibition" in the pylon. This contained dioramas, and displays about Australian perspectives on subjects such as farming, sport, transport, mining, and the armed forces. An orientation table was installed at the viewing platform, along with a wall guide and binoculars. The owner kept several white cats in a rooftop cattery, which also served as an attraction, and there was a souvenir shop and postal outlet.[95] Rentoul's lease expired in 1971, and the pylon and its lookout remained closed to the public for over a decade.[96]

The pylon was reopened in 1982, with a new exhibition celebrating the bridge's 50th anniversary.[97] In 1987 a "Bicentennial Exhibition" was opened to mark the 200th anniversary of European settlement in Australia in 1988.[98]

The pylon was closed from April to November 2000 for the Roads & Traffic Authority and BridgeClimb to create a new exhibition called "Proud Arch". The exhibition focussed on Bradfield, and included a glass direction finder on the observation level, and various important heritage items.[99]

The pylon again closed for four weeks in 2003 for the installation of an exhibit called "Dangerous Works", highlighting the dangerous conditions experienced by the original construction workers on the bridge, and two stained glass feature windows in memory of the workers.[100]


In the 1950s and 1960s, there were occasional newspaper reports of climbers who had made illegal arch traversals of the bridge by night. In 1973 Philippe Petit walked across a wire between the two pylons at the southern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Since 1998, BridgeClimb[101] has made it possible for tourists to legally climb the southern half of the bridge. Tours run throughout the day, from dawn to night, and are only cancelled for electrical storms or high wind.[102]

Groups of climbers are provided with protective clothing appropriate to the prevailing weather conditions, and are given an orientation briefing before climbing. During the climb, attendees are secured to the bridge by a wire lifeline. Each climb begins on the eastern side of the bridge and ascends to the top. At the summit, the group crosses to the western side of the arch for the descent. Each climb takes three-and-a-half-hours, including the preparations.[102]

In December 2006, BridgeClimb[101] launched an alternative to climbing the upper arches of the bridge. The Discovery Climb allows climbers to ascend the lower chord of the bridge and view its internal structure. From the apex of the lower chord, climbers ascend a staircase to a platform at the summit.[101]


Since the opening, the bridge has been the focal point of much tourism and national pride.[103]

50th Anniversary celebrations (1982)

In 1982, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the bridge was celebrated. For the first time since its opening in 1932, the bridge was closed to most vehicles with the exception of vintage vehicles, and pedestrians were allowed full access for the day.[15] The celebrations were attended by Edward Judge, who represented Dorman Long.[citation needed][104]

Postage stamp, Australia, 1932

Bicentennial Australia Day celebrations (1988)

Australia's bicentennial celebrations on 26 January 1988 attracted large crowds in the bridge's vicinity as merrymakers flocked to the foreshores to view the events on the harbour. The highlight was the biggest parade of sail ever held in Sydney, square-riggers from all over the world, surrounded by hundreds of smaller craft of every description, passing majestically under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The day's festivities culminated in a fireworks display in which the bridge was the focal point of the finale, with fireworks streaming from the arch and roadway. This was to become the pattern for later firework displays.[citation needed]

Sydney New Year's Eve (1993–present)

The Harbour Bridge has been an integral part of the Sydney New Year's Eve celebrations, generally being used in spectacular ways during the fireworks displays at 9pm and midnight. In recent times, the bridge has included a ropelight display on a framework in the centre of the eastern arch, which is used to complement the fireworks. The scaffolding and framework were clearly visible for some weeks before the event, revealing the outline of the design.

During the millennium celebrations in 2000, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit up with the word "Eternity", as a tribute to the legacy of Arthur Stace a Sydney artist who for many years inscribed that word on pavements in chalk in beautiful copperplate writing despite the fact that he was illiterate.[105]

The effects have been as follows:[citation needed]

The opening sequence to the 2008–09 Midnight Fireworks, using the Sun for its bridge effect.

The numbers for the New Year's Eve countdown also appear on the eastern side of the Bridge pylons.[107]

Walk for Reconciliation (2000)

In May 2000, the bridge was closed to vehicular access for a day to allow a special reconciliation march—the "Walk for Reconciliation"—to take place. This was part of a response to an Aboriginal Stolen Generations inquiry, which found widespread suffering had taken place amongst Australian Aboriginal children forcibly placed into the care of white parents in a little-publicised state government scheme. Between 200,000 and 300,000 people were estimated to have walked the bridge in a symbolic gesture of crossing a divide.[108]

Sydney 2000 Olympics

During the Sydney 2000 Olympics in September and October 2000, the bridge was adorned with the Olympic Rings. It was included in the Olympic torch's route to the Olympic stadium. The men's and women's Olympic marathon events likewise included the bridge as part of their route to the Olympic stadium. A fireworks display at the end of the closing ceremony ended at the bridge. The east-facing side of the bridge has been used several times since as a framework from which to hang static fireworks, especially during the elaborate New Year's Eve displays.[109]

Formula One promotion (2005)

In 2005 Mark Webber drove a Williams-BMW Formula One car across the bridge.[110]

75th anniversary (2007)

Walkers with LED caps on the bridge's 75th Anniversary
The commemorative hats given to walkers

In 2007, the 75th anniversary of its opening was commemorated with an exhibition at the Museum of Sydney, called "Bridging Sydney".[111] An initiative of the Historic Houses Trust, the exhibition featured dramatic photographs and paintings with rare and previously unseen alternative bridge and tunnel proposals, plans and sketches.[112]

On 18 March 2007, the 75th anniversary of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was celebrated. The occasion was marked with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the governor, Marie Bashir and the premier of New South Wales, Morris Iemma. The bridge was subsequently open to the public to walk southward from Milsons Point or North Sydney. Several major roads, mainly in the CBD, were closed for the day. An Aboriginal smoking ceremony was held at 19:00.[113][114]

Approximately 250,000 people (50,000 more than were registered) took part in the event. Bright yellow souvenir caps were distributed to walkers. A series of speakers placed at intervals along the bridge formed a sound installation. Each group of speakers broadcast sound and music from a particular era (e.g. King Edward VIII's abdication speech; Gough Whitlam's speech at Parliament House in 1975), the overall effect being that the soundscape would "flow" through history as walkers proceeded along the bridge. A light-show began after sunset and continued late into the night, the bridge being bathed in constantly changing, multi-coloured lighting, designed to highlight structural features of the bridge. In the evening the bright yellow caps were replaced by orange caps with a small, bright LED attached. The bridge was closed to walkers at about 20:30.[citation needed]

Breakfast on the Bridge (2009–10)

On 25 October 2009, turf was laid across the eight lanes of bitumen, and 6,000 people celebrated a picnic on the bridge accompanied by live music.[115] The event was repeated in 2010.[116] Although originally scheduled again in 2011, this event was moved to Bondi Beach due to traffic concerns about the prolonged closing of the bridge.[117][118]

80th anniversary

On 19 March 2012, the 80th anniversary of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was celebrated with a picnic dedicated to the stories of people with personal connections to the bridge.[119] In addition, Google dedicated its Google Doodle on the 19th to the event.[120] The proposal to upgrade the bridge tolling equipment was announced by the NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay.[121]


The "International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark" plaque presented to Sydney Harbour Bridge by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1988

There the proud arch Colossus like bestride
Yon glittering streams and bound the strafing tide.

— Prophetic observation of Sydney Cove by Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin, from his poem "Visit of Hope to Sydney Cove, near Botany Bay", (1789).

I open this bridge in the name of His Majesty the King and all the decent citizens of NSW.

— Francis de Groot "opening" the Sydney Harbour Bridge, (1932). His organisation, the New Guard, had resented the fact that King George V had not been asked to open the bridge.[122]

To get on in Australia, you must make two observations. Say, "You have the most beautiful bridge in the world" and "They tell me you trounced England again in the cricket." The first statement will be a lie. Sydney Bridge [sic] is big, utilitarian and the symbol of Australia, like the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower. But it is very ugly. No Australian will admit this.

— James Michener assesses the Sydney Harbour Bridge in his book Return to Paradise, (1951).[123]

...in a gesture of anomalous exhilaration, at the worst time of the depression Sydney opened its Harbour Bridge, one of the talismanic structures of the earth, and by far the most striking thing ever built in Australia. At that moment, I think, contemporary Sydney began, perhaps definitive Sydney.

— Jan Morris gives her own assessment of the bridge in her book Sydney, (1982)[124]

...you can see it from every corner of the city, creeping into frame from the oddest angles, like an uncle who wants to get into every snapshot. From a distance it has a kind of gallant restraint, majestic but not assertive, but up close it is all might. It soars above you, so high that you could pass a ten-storey building beneath it, and looks like the heaviest thing on earth. Everything that is in it – the stone blocks in its four towers, the latticework of girders, the metal plates, the six-million rivets (with heads like halved apples) – is the biggest of its type you have ever seen... This is a great bridge.

— American travel-writer Bill Bryson's impressions of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in his book Down Under (2000).[125]
Sydney Harbour Bridge as viewed from Kirribilli on the North Shore, with the Sydney Opera House on the left.

Heritage listing

At the time of construction and until recently, the bridge was the longest single span steel arch bridge in the world. The bridge, its pylons and its approaches are all important elements in townscape of areas both near and distant from it. The curved northern approach gives a grand sweeping entrance to the bridge with continually changing views of the bridge and harbour. The bridge has been an important factor in the pattern of growth of metropolitan Sydney, particularly in residential development in post World War II years. In the 1960s and 1970s the Central Business District had extended to the northern side of the bridge at North Sydney which has been due in part to the easy access provided by the bridge and also to the increasing traffic problems associated with the bridge.[126][10]

Sydney Harbour Bridge was listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 25 June 1999 having satisfied the following criteria.[10]

The place is important in demonstrating the course, or pattern, of cultural or natural history in New South Wales.

The bridge is one of the most remarkable feats of bridge construction. At the time of construction and until recently it was the longest single span steel arch bridge in the world and is still in a general sense the largest.[126][10]

Bradfield Park North (Sandstone Walls)

"The archaeological remains are demonstrative of an earlier phase of urban development within Milsons Point and the wider North Sydney precinct. The walls are physical evidence that a number of 19th century residences existed on the site which were resumed and demolished as part of the Sydney Harbour Bridge construction".[10][127][128]

The place is important in demonstrating aesthetic characteristics and/or a high degree of creative or technical achievement in New South Wales.

The bridge, its pylons and its approaches are all important elements in townscape of areas both near and distant from it. The curved northern approach gives a grand sweeping entrance to the bridge with continually changing views of the bridge and harbour.[126][10]

The place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group in New South Wales for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

The bridge has been an important factor in the pattern of growth of metropolitan Sydney, particularly in residential development in post World War II years. In the 1960s and 1970s the Central Business District had extended to the northern side of the bridge at North Sydney which has been due in part to the easy access provided by the bridge and also to the increasing traffic problems associated with the bridge.[126][10]

The place has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of the cultural or natural history of New South Wales.

Bradfield Park North (Sandstone Walls)

"The archaeological remains have some potential to yield information about the previous residential and commercial occupation of Milsons Point prior to the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge transport link".[10][127][128]

Engineering heritage award

The bridge was listed as a National Engineering Landmark by Engineers Australia in 1988, as part of its Engineering Heritage Recognition Program.[129]

See also

Comparison of the side elevations of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and some notable bridges at the same scale. (click for interactive version)


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  118. ^ "Breakfast moves from bridge to beach". 15 October 2011. Archived from the original on 5 January 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  119. ^ "Sydney Harbour Bridge 80th Birthday". New South Wales government, Department of Transport, Roads & Maritime Services. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012.
  120. ^ "Google doodles for Sydney Harbour Bridge 80th birthday". Mumbrella. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  121. ^ "Harbour Bridge celebrates 80th birthday". The Age. Australian Associated Press. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  122. ^ "JJC Bradfield and JT Lang: the movers and shakers". Archived from the original on 2 December 2015. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  123. ^ Michener, James, Return to Paradise, (1951), Corgi Books:London, page 275
  124. ^ Morris, Jan, Sydney (1982), Faber&Faber : London. Page 24
  125. ^ Bryson, Bill (2000). Down Under. Transworld. pp. 80–81. ISBN 0-552-99703-X.
  126. ^ a b c d Walker and Kerr, 1974.
  127. ^ a b Statement of Heritage Impact - Sandstone Walls: Bradfield Park North, Milsons Point (2003: 8)
  128. ^ a b McFadyen and Stuart, HLA Envirosciences
  129. ^ "Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1932-". Engineers Australia. Retrieved 8 May 2020.


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  • BridgeClimb (2007). "BridgeClimb".
  • Di Fazio, B. (2001). Bradfield Park North, Milsons Point Archaeological Assessment.
  • Douglas, Peter (2005). Archaeological Management of Proposed Development of Bradfield Park Plaza, Bradfield Park South at Milsons Point NSW.
  • Four papers on the design and construction of the bridge in volume 238 of the Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 1935 Kinley
  • GHD Transportation Consultants Pty Ltd (1982). Environmental Impact Statement for ninth lane and fottway on Sydney Harbour Bridge Sydney NSW.
  • Hughes, Nathanael (Photographer) (2015). Archival Photographic Recording of Bay 9, Middlemiss Street, Lavender Bay, NSW.
  • Knezevic, Daniel,(1947), "The Lost Bridge"
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  • Russell, Meaghan; McFadyen, Kylie; HLA Envirosciences (2003). Section 65A Research Design: Cesspit or Well, Bradfield Park North, Milsons Point.
  • Ryan, Peter; Percival, Daniel (2005). Bradfield Park Lightning Pit: Photographic recording of Heritage Items (August 2005).
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External links



1 March 1932

Charles Lindbergh’s son is reportedly kidnapped.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr.
Wanted poster for missing child
Born(1930-06-22)June 22, 1930
DiedMarch 2, 1932(1932-03-02) (aged 1)
Cause of deathHead trauma[1]
Body discoveredMay 12, 1932, in Hopewell, New Jersey, U.S.
Resting placeAshes scattered in the Atlantic Ocean
Known forKidnap victim

On March 1, 1932, Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr., 20-month-old son of aviators Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was abducted from the crib in the upper floor of the Lindberghs' home, Highfields, in East Amwell, New Jersey, United States.[2] On May 12, the child's corpse[3] was discovered by a truck driver by the side of a nearby road.[4]

In September 1934, a German immigrant carpenter named Bruno Richard Hauptmann was arrested for the crime. After a trial that lasted from January 2 to February 13, 1935, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. Despite his conviction, he continued to profess his innocence, but all appeals failed and he was executed in the electric chair at the New Jersey State Prison on April 3, 1936.[5] Newspaper writer H. L. Mencken called the kidnapping and trial "the biggest story since the Resurrection".[6][7] Legal scholars have referred to the trial as one of the "trials of the century".[8] The crime spurred Congress to pass the Federal Kidnapping Act, commonly called the "Little Lindbergh Law", which made transporting a kidnapping victim across state lines a federal crime.[9]


At approximately 10 p.m. on March 1, 1932, the Lindberghs’ nurse, Betty Gow, found that 20-month-old Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr. was not with his mother, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, who had just come out of the bathtub. Gow then alerted Charles Lindbergh, who immediately went to the child's room, where he found a ransom note, containing bad handwriting and grammar, in an envelope on the windowsill. Taking a gun, Lindbergh went around the house and grounds with butler Olly Whateley;[10] they found impressions in the ground under the window of the baby's room, pieces of a cleverly designed wooden ladder, and a baby's blanket.[11] Whateley telephoned the Hopewell police department and Lindbergh contacted his attorney and friend, Henry Breckinridge, and the New Jersey state police.[11]


The ransom note
Re-creation of the ransom note's "signature", with black dots rep­re­sent­ing punc­tures in the paper

Hopewell Borough police and New Jersey State Police officers conducted an extensive search of the home and its surrounding area.

After midnight, a fingerprint expert examined the ransom note and ladder; no usable fingerprints or footprints were found, leading experts to conclude that the kidnapper(s) wore gloves and had some type of cloth on the soles of their shoes.[12] No adult fingerprints were found in the baby's room, including in areas witnesses admitted to touching, such as the window, but the baby's fingerprints were found.

The brief, handwritten ransom note had many spelling and grammar irregularities:

Dear Sir! Have 50.000$ redy 25 000$ in 20$ bills 15000$ in 10$ bills and 10000$ in 5$ bills After 2–4 days we will inform you were to deliver the mony. We warn you for making anyding public or for notify the Police the child is in gut care. Indication for all letters are Singnature and 3 hohls.[13]

At the bottom of the note were two interconnected blue circles surrounding a red circle, with a hole punched through the red circle and two more holes to the left and right.


Word of the kidnapping spread quickly. Hundreds of people converged on the estate, destroying any footprint evidence.[14] Along with police, well-connected and well-intentioned people arrived at the Lindbergh estate. Military colonels offered their aid, although only one had law enforcement expertise—Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. The other colonels were Henry Skillman Breckinridge, a Wall Street lawyer; and William J. Donovan, a hero of the First World War who would later head the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA. Lindbergh and these men speculated that the kidnapping was perpetrated by organized crime figures. They thought that the letter was written by someone who spoke German as his native language. At this time, Charles Lindbergh used his influence to control the direction of the investigation.[15]

They contacted Mickey Rosner, a Broadway hanger-on rumored to know mobsters. Rosner turned to two speakeasy owners, Salvatore "Salvy" Spitale and Irving Bitz, for aid. Lindbergh quickly endorsed the duo and appointed them his intermediaries to deal with the mob. Several organized crime figures – notably Al Capone, Willie Moretti, Joe Adonis, and Abner Zwillman – spoke from prison, offering to help return the baby in exchange for money or for legal favors. Specifically, Capone offered assistance in return for being released from prison under the pretense that his assistance would be more effective. This was quickly denied by the authorities.[citation needed]

New Jersey State Police Superintendent Norman Schwarzkopf, Sr.

The morning after the kidnapping, authorities notified President Herbert Hoover of the crime. At that time, kidnapping was classified as a state crime and the case did not seem to have any grounds for federal involvement. Attorney General William D. Mitchell met with Hoover and announced that the whole machinery of the Department of Justice would be set in motion to cooperate with the New Jersey authorities.[16]

The Bureau of Investigation (later the FBI) was authorized to investigate the case, while the United States Coast Guard, the U.S. Customs Service, the U.S. Immigration Service and the Washington, D.C. police were told their services might be required. New Jersey officials announced a $25,000 reward for the safe return of "Little Lindy". The Lindbergh family offered an additional $50,000 reward of their own. At this time, the total reward of $75,000 (approximately equivalent to $1,172,000 in 2019) was a tremendous sum of money, because the nation was in the midst of the Great Depression.

On March 6, a new ransom letter arrived by mail at the Lindbergh home. The letter was postmarked March 4 in Brooklyn, and it carried the perforated red and blue marks. The ransom had been raised to $70,000. A third ransom note postmarked from Brooklyn, and also including the secret marks, arrived in Breckinridge's mail. The note told the Lindberghs that John Condon should be the intermediary between the Lindberghs and the kidnapper(s), and requested notification in a newspaper that the third note had been received. Instructions specified the size of the box the money should come in, and warned the family not to contact the police.

John Condon

During this time, John F. Condon — a well-known Bronx personality and retired school teacher — offered $1,000 if the kidnapper would turn the child over to a Catholic priest. Condon received a letter reportedly written by the kidnappers; it authorized Condon to be their intermediary with Lindbergh.[17] Lindbergh accepted the letter as genuine.

Following the kidnapper's latest instructions, Condon placed a classified ad in the New York American reading: "Money is Ready. Jafsie "[18] Condon then waited for further instructions from the culprits.[19]

A meeting between "Jafsie" and a representative of the group that claimed to be the kidnappers was eventually scheduled for late one evening at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. According to Condon, the man sounded foreign but stayed in the shadows during the conversation, and Condon was thus unable to get a close look at his face. The man said his name was John, and he related his story: He was a "Scandinavian" sailor, part of a gang of three men and two women. The baby was being held on a boat, unharmed, but would be returned only for ransom. When Condon expressed doubt that "John" actually had the baby, he promised some proof: the kidnapper would soon return the baby's sleeping suit. The stranger asked Condon, "... would I 'burn'[a] if the package[b] were dead?" When questioned further, he assured Condon that the baby was alive.

On March 16, Condon received a toddler's sleeping suit by mail, and a seventh ransom note.[1] After Lindbergh identified the sleeping suit, Condon placed a new ad in the Home News: "Money is ready. No cops. No secret service. I come alone, like last time." On April 1 Condon received a letter saying it was time for the ransom to be delivered.

Ransom payment

The ransom was packaged in a wooden box that was custom-made in the hope that it could later be identified. The ransom money included a number of gold certificates; since gold certificates were about to be withdrawn from circulation,[1] it was hoped greater attention would be drawn to anyone spending them.[5][20] The bills were not marked but their serial numbers were recorded. Some sources credit this idea to Frank J. Wilson,[21] others to Elmer Lincoln Irey.[22][23]

On April 2, Condon was given a note by an intermediary, an unknown cab driver. Condon met "John" and told him that they had been able to raise only $50,000. The man accepted the money and gave Condon a note saying that the child was in the care of two innocent women.

Discovery of the body

An illustration of Charles Jr. on the cover of Time magazine on May 2, 1932

On May 12, delivery truck driver Orville Wilson and his assistant William Allen pulled to the side of a road about 4.5 miles (7.2 km) south of the Lindbergh home near the hamlet of Mount Rose in neighboring Hopewell Township.[4] When Allen went into a grove of trees to urinate, he discovered the body of a toddler.[24] The skull was badly fractured and the body decomposed, with evidence of scavenging by animals; there were indications of an attempt at a hasty burial.[3][24] Gow identified the baby as the missing infant from the overlapping toes of the right foot and a shirt that she had made. It appeared the child had been killed by a blow to the head. Lindbergh insisted on cremation.[25]

In June 1932, officials began to suspect that the crime had been perpetrated by someone the Lindberghs knew. Suspicion fell upon Violet Sharp, a British household servant at the Morrow home who had given contradictory information regarding her whereabouts on the night of the kidnapping. It was reported that she appeared nervous and suspicious when questioned. She committed suicide on June 10, 1932,[26] by ingesting a silver polish that contained cyanide just before being questioned for the fourth time.[27][28] Her alibi was later confirmed, and police were criticized for heavy-handedness.[29]

Condon was also questioned by police and his home searched, but nothing suggestive was found. Charles Lindbergh stood by Condon during this time.[30]

John Condon's unofficial investigation

After the discovery of the body, Condon remained unofficially involved in the case. To the public, he had become a suspect and in some circles was vilified.[31] For the next two years, he visited police departments and pledged to find "Cemetery John".

Condon's actions regarding the case were increasingly flamboyant. On one occasion, while riding a city bus, Condon claimed that he saw a suspect on the street and, announcing his secret identity, ordered the bus to stop. The startled driver complied and Condon darted from the bus, although his target eluded him. Condon's actions were also criticized as exploitative when he agreed to appear in a vaudeville act regarding the kidnapping.[32] Liberty magazine published a serialized account of Condon's involvement in the Lindbergh kidnapping under the title "Jafsie Tells All".[33]

Tracking the ransom money

A 1928 series $10 gold certificate

The investigators who were working on the case were soon at a standstill. There were no developments and little evidence of any sort, so police turned their attention to tracking the ransom payments. A pamphlet was prepared with the serial numbers on the ransom bills, and 250,000 copies were distributed to businesses, mainly in New York City.[1][20] A few of the ransom bills appeared in scattered locations, some as far away as Chicago and Minneapolis, but those spending the bills were never found.

By a presidential order, all gold certificates were to be exchanged for other bills by May 1, 1933.[34] A few days before the deadline, a man brought $2,980 to a Manhattan bank for exchange; it was later realized the bills were from the ransom. He had given his name as J. J. Faulkner of 537 West 149th Street.[20] No one named Faulkner lived at that address, and a Jane Faulkner who had lived there 20 years earlier denied involvement.[20]

Arrest of Hauptmann

During a thirty-month period, a number of the ransom bills were spent throughout New York City. Detectives realized that many of the bills were being spent along the route of the Lexington Avenue subway, which connected the Bronx with the east side of Manhattan, including the German-Austrian neighborhood of Yorkville.[5]

On September 18, 1934, a Manhattan bank teller noticed a gold certificate from the ransom;[1] a New York license plate number (4U-13-41-N.Y) penciled in the bill's margin allowed it to be traced to a nearby gas station. The station manager had written down the license number because his customer was acting "suspicious" and was "possibly a counterfeiter".[1][5][20][35] The license plate belonged to a sedan owned by Richard Hauptmann of 1279 East 222nd Street in the Bronx,[5] an immigrant with a criminal record in Germany. When Hauptmann was arrested, he was carrying a single 20-dollar gold certificate[1][5] and over $14,000 of the ransom money was found in his garage.[36]

Hauptmann was arrested, interrogated, and beaten at least once throughout the following day and night.[20] Hauptmann stated that the money and other items had been left with him by his friend and former business partner Isidor Fisch. Fisch had died on March 29, 1934, shortly after returning to Germany.[5] Hauptmann stated he learned only after Fisch's death that the shoebox that was left with him contained a considerable sum of money. He kept the money because he claimed that it was owed to him from a business deal that he and Fisch had made.[5] Hauptmann consistently denied any connection to the crime or knowledge that the money in his house was from the ransom.

When the police searched Hauptmann's home, they found a considerable amount of additional evidence that linked him to the crime. One item was a notebook that contained a sketch of the construction of a ladder similar to that which was found at the Lindbergh home in March 1932. John Condon's telephone number, along with his address, were discovered written on a closet wall in the house. A key piece of evidence, a section of wood, was discovered in the attic of the home. After being examined by an expert, it was determined to be an exact match to the wood used in the construction of the ladder found at the scene of the crime.

Hauptmann was indicted in the Bronx on September 24, 1934, for extorting the $50,000 ransom from Charles Lindbergh.[5] Two weeks later, on October 8, Hauptmann was indicted in New Jersey for the murder of Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr.[1] Two days later, he was surrendered to New Jersey authorities by New York Governor Herbert H. Lehman to face charges directly related to the kidnapping and murder of the child. Hauptmann was moved to the Hunterdon County Jail in Flemington, New Jersey, on October 19.[1]

Trial and execution


Lindbergh testifying at Hauptmann's trial. Hauptmann is in half-profile at right.

Hauptmann was charged with capital murder. The trial was held at the Hunterdon County Courthouse in Flemington, New Jersey, and was soon dubbed the "Trial of the Century".[37] Reporters swarmed the town, and every hotel room was booked. Judge Thomas Whitaker Trenchard presided over the trial.

In exchange for rights to publish Hauptmann's story in their newspaper, Edward J. Reilly was hired by the New York Daily Mirror to serve as Hauptmann's attorney.[38] David T. Wilentz, Attorney General of New Jersey, led the prosecution.

Evidence against Hauptmann included $20,000 of the ransom money found in his garage and testimony alleging that his handwriting and spelling were similar to those of the ransom notes. Eight handwriting experts, including Albert S. Osborn,[39] pointed out similarities between the ransom notes and Hauptmann's writing specimens. The defense called an expert to rebut this evidence, while two others declined to testify;[39] the latter two demanded $500 before looking at the notes and were dismissed when Lloyd Fisher, a member of Hauptmann's legal team,[40] declined.[41] Other experts retained by the defense were never called to testify.[42]

On the basis of the work of Arthur Koehler at the Forest Products Laboratory, the State introduced photographs demonstrating that part of the wood from the ladder matched a plank from the floor of Hauptmann's attic: the type of wood, the direction of tree growth, the milling pattern, the inside and outside surface of the wood, and the grain on both sides were identical, and four oddly placed nail holes lined up with nail holes in joists in Hauptmann's attic.[43][44] Condon's address and telephone number were written in pencil on a closet door in Hauptmann's home, and Hauptmann told police that he had written Condon's address:

I must have read it in the paper about the story. I was a little bit interested and keep a little bit record of it, and maybe I was just on the closet, and was reading the paper and put it down the address ... I can't give you any explanation about the telephone number.

A sketch that Wilentz suggested represented a ladder was found in one of Hauptmann's notebooks. Hauptmann said this picture and other sketches therein were the work of a child.[45]

Despite not having an obvious source of earned income, Hauptmann had bought a $400 radio (approximately equivalent to $7,740 in 2020) and sent his wife on a trip to Germany.

Hauptmann was identified as the man to whom the ransom money was delivered. Other witnesses testified that it was Hauptmann who had spent some of the Lindbergh gold certificates; that he had been seen in the area of the estate, in East Amwell, New Jersey, near Hopewell, on the day of the kidnapping; and that he had been absent from work on the day of the ransom payment and had quit his job two days later. Hauptmann never sought another job afterward, yet continued to live comfortably.[46]

When the prosecution rested its case, the defense opened with a lengthy examination of Hauptmann. In his testimony, Hauptmann denied being guilty, insisting that the box of gold certificates had been left in his garage by a friend, Isidor Fisch, who had returned to Germany in December 1933 and died there in March 1934. Hauptmann said that he had one day found a shoe box left behind by Fisch, which Hauptmann had stored on the top shelf of his kitchen broom closet, later discovering the money, which he later found to be almost $40,000 (approximately equivalent to $609,000 in 2019). Hauptmann said that, because Fisch had owed him about $7,500 in business funds, Hauptmann had kept the money for himself and had lived on it since January 1934.

The defense called Hauptmann's wife, Anna, to corroborate the Fisch story. On cross-examination, she admitted that while she hung her apron every day on a hook higher than the top shelf, she could not remember seeing any shoe box there. Later, rebuttal witnesses testified that Fisch could not have been at the scene of the crime, and that he had no money for medical treatments when he died of tuberculosis. Fisch's landlady testified that he could barely afford the $3.50 weekly rent of his room.

In his closing summation, Reilly argued that the evidence against Hauptmann was entirely circumstantial, because no reliable witness had placed Hauptmann at the scene of the crime, nor were his fingerprints found on the ladder, on the ransom notes, or anywhere in the nursery.[47]


Hauptmann was convicted and immediately sentenced to death. His attorneys appealed to the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals, which at the time was the state's highest court; the appeal was argued on June 29, 1935.[48]

New Jersey Governor Harold G. Hoffman secretly visited Hauptmann in his cell on the evening of October 16, accompanied by a stenographer who spoke German fluently. Hoffman urged members of the Court of Errors and Appeals to visit Hauptmann.

In late January 1936, while declaring that he held no position on the guilt or innocence of Hauptmann, Hoffman cited evidence that the crime was not a "one person" job and directed Schwarzkopf to continue a thorough and impartial investigation in an effort to bring all parties involved to justice.[49]

It became known among the press that on March 27, Hoffman was considering a second reprieve of Hauptmann's death sentence and was seeking opinions about whether the governor had the right to issue a second reprieve.[50]

On March 30, 1936, Hauptmann's second and final appeal asking for clemency from the New Jersey Board of Pardons was denied.[51] Hoffman later announced that this decision would be the final legal action in the case, and that he would not grant another reprieve.[52] Nonetheless, there was a postponement, when the Mercer County grand jury, investigating the confession and arrest of Trenton attorney, Paul Wendel, requested a delay from Warden Mark Kimberling.[53] This, the final stay, ended when the Mercer County prosecutor informed Kimberling that the grand jury had adjourned after voting to end its investigation without charging Wendel.[54]


Hauptmann turned down a large offer from a Hearst newspaper for a confession and refused a last-minute offer to commute his sentence from the death penalty to life without parole in exchange for a confession. He was electrocuted on April 3, 1936.

After his death, some reporters and independent investigators came up with numerous questions about the way in which the investigation had been run and the fairness of the trial, including witness tampering and planted evidence. Twice in the 1980s, Anna Hauptmann sued the state of New Jersey for the unjust execution of her husband. The suits were dismissed due to prosecutorial immunity and because the statute of limitations had run out.[55] She continued fighting to clear his name until her death, at age 95, in 1994.[56]

Alternative theories

A number of books have asserted Hauptmann's innocence, generally highlighting inadequate police work at the crime scene, Lindbergh's interference in the investigation, ineffectiveness of Hauptmann's counsel, and weaknesses in the witnesses and physical evidence. Ludovic Kennedy, in particular, questioned much of the evidence, such as the origin of the ladder and the testimony of many of the witnesses.

According to author Lloyd Gardner, a fingerprint expert, Dr. Erastus Mead Hudson, applied the then-rare silver nitrate fingerprint process to the ladder, and did not find Hauptmann's fingerprints, even in places that the maker of the ladder must have touched. According to Gardner, officials refused to consider this expert's findings, and the ladder was then washed of all fingerprints.[57]

Jim Fisher, a former FBI agent and professor at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania,[58] has written two books, The Lindbergh Case (1987)[59] and The Ghosts of Hopewell (1999),[60] addressing what he calls a "revision movement" regarding the case.[61] He summarizes:

Today, the Lindbergh phenomena [sic] is a giant hoax perpetrated by people who are taking advantage of an uninformed and cynical public. Notwithstanding all of the books, TV programs, and legal suits, Hauptmann is as guilty today as he was in 1932 when he kidnapped and killed the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lindbergh.[62]

Another book, Hauptmann's Ladder: A step-by-step analysis of the Lindbergh kidnapping by Richard T. Cahill Jr., concludes that Hauptmann was guilty but questions whether he should have been executed.

According to John Reisinger in Master Detective[citation needed], New Jersey detective Ellis Parker conducted an independent investigation in 1936 and obtained a signed confession from former Trenton attorney Paul Wendel, creating a sensation and resulting in a temporary stay of execution for Hauptmann. The case against Wendel collapsed, however, when he insisted his confession had been coerced.[63]

Several people have suggested that Charles Lindbergh was responsible for the kidnapping. In 2010, Jim Bahm's Beneath the Winter Sycamores implied that the baby was physically disabled and Lindbergh arranged the kidnapping as a way of secretly moving the baby to be raised in Germany.[64]

Another theory is Lindbergh accidentally killed his son in a prank gone wrong. In Crime of the Century: The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax, criminal defense attorney Gregory Ahlgren posits Lindbergh climbed a ladder and brought his son out of a window, but dropped the child, killing him, so hid the body in the woods, then covered up the crime by blaming Hauptmann.[38]

Robert Zorn's 2012 book Cemetery John proposes that Hauptmann was part of a conspiracy with two other German-born men, John and Walter Knoll. Zorn's father, economist Eugene Zorn, believed that as a teenager he had witnessed the conspiracy being discussed.[65]

In popular culture

Record label of "Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr." by Bob Ferguson

In novels

In music

  • May 1932: Just one day after the Lindbergh baby was discovered murdered, the prolific country recording artist Bob Miller (under the pseudonym Bob Ferguson) recorded two songs for Columbia on May 13, 1932, commemorating the event. The songs were released on Columbia 15759-D with the titles "Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr." and "There's a New Star Up in Heaven (Baby Lindy Is Up There)".[71]

In film

See also


  1. ^ "burn" = be executed
  2. ^ "package" = the baby


External links


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Lindbergh Kidnapping". FBI History – Famous Cases. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
  2. ^ Gill, Barbara (1981). "Lindbergh kidnapping rocked the world 50 years ago". The Hunterdon County Democrat. Retrieved 30 December 2008. So while the world's attention was focused on Hopewell, from which the first press dispatches emanated about the kidnapping, the Democrat made sure its readers knew that the new home of Col. Charles A. Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh was in East Amwell Township, Hunterdon County.
  3. ^ a b Aiuto, Russell. "The Theft of the Eaglet". The Lindbergh Kidnapping. TruTv. Archived from the original on 7 October 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Lindbergh Kidnapping Index". Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Linder, Douglas (2005). "The Trial of Richard "Bruno" Hauptmann: An Account". University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Archived from the original on 9 July 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  6. ^ Notorious Murders Archived March 8, 2014, at the Wayback Machine; CrimeLibrary.com; accessed August 2015
  7. ^ Newton, Michael (2012). The FBI Encyclopedia. North Carolina, USA: McFarland. p. 197. ISBN 978-0-7864-6620-7. Archived from the original on 4 February 2017. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  8. ^ Bailey, Frankie Y.; Chermak, Steven (30 October 2007). Crimes and Trials of the Century [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 167. ISBN 9781573569736.
  9. ^ Glass, Andrew (26 March 2007). "This Day on Capitol Hill: February 13". The Politico. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  10. ^ Cahill, Richard T., Jr. (2014). Hauptmann's Ladder. Kent State University. pp. 7–8.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ a b Cahill, Richard T., Jr. (2014). Hauptmann's Ladder. Kent State University. pp. 7–8.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg
  13. ^ Zorn, Robert (2012). Cemetery John: The Undiscovered Mastermind of the Lindbergh Kidnapping. The Overlook Press. p. 68. ISBN 9781590208564.
  14. ^ Cahill, Richard T., Jr. (2014). Hauptmann's Ladder. Kent State University. p. 16.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ Fass, Paula S. (1997). "The nation's child ... is dead": The Lindbergh case. Kidnapped Child Abduction in America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 100. ISBN 9780195311419. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  16. ^ "Federal Aid In Hunt Ordered By Hoover". The New York Times. 3 March 1932. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  17. ^ Aiuto, Russell. "Parallel Threads, Continued". The Lindbergh Kidnapping. TruTv. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  18. ^ Note: "Jafsie" was a pseudonym based on a phonetic pronunciation of Condon's initials, "J.F.C."
  19. ^ Maeder, Jay (23 September 1999). "Half Dream Jafsie". Daily News. Archived from the original on 10 July 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  20. ^ a b c d e f Manning, Lona (4 March 2007). "The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping". Crime Magazine. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  21. ^ Eig, Jonathan (2010). Get Capone: The secret plot that captured America's most wanted gangster. Simon and Schuster. p. 372. ISBN 9781439199893.
  22. ^ Waller, George (1961). Kidnap: The story of the Lindbergh case. Dial Press. p. 71.
  23. ^ Folsom, Robert G. (2010). The Money Trail: How Elmer Irey and his T-men brought down America's criminal elite. Potomac Books. pp. 217–219.
  24. ^ a b "Crime: Never-to-be-Forgotten". Time. 23 May 1932. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  25. ^ "Murdered child's body now reduced to pile of ashes". The Evening Independent. 14 May 1932.
  26. ^ "Morrow Maid balks inquiry". www.lindberghkidnappinghoax.com. 10 June 1932.
  27. ^ Lindbergh, Anne (1973). Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 9780151421763.
  28. ^ Falzini, Mark W. (April 2006). "Studying the Lindbergh Case – A Guide to the Files and Resources Available at the New Jersey State Police Museum" (PDF). Violet Sharp collection. The New Jersey State Police. p. 20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  29. ^ "The Lindbergh Kidnapping". UK: The Biography Channel. Archived from the original on 10 July 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  30. ^ "The Lindbergh Kidnapping". The Biography Channel UK. Archived from the original on 10 July 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  31. ^ "Lindbergh Baby Booty". New York Press. 11 March 2003. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  32. ^ "Ministers protest billing of Condon; 25 see Jafsie Vaudeville Act scheduled for Plainfield as tragic exploitation". The New York Times. 5 January 1936. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  33. ^ "Milestones Jan. 15, 1945". Time Magazine. 15 January 1945. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  34. ^ Woolley, John; Peters, Gerhard. "Executive Order 6102 – Requiring Gold Coin, Gold Bullion and Gold Certificates to be Delivered to the Government April 5, 1933". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  35. ^ "National Affairs: 4U-13-41". Time Magazine. 1 October 1934. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  36. ^ "National Affairs Oct. 8, 1934". Time Magazine. 8 October 1934. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  37. ^ "The Kidnapping". PBS. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  38. ^ a b Ahlgren, Gregory; Monier, Stephen; Caso, Adolph (2009). Caso, Adolph (ed.). Crime of the Century: The Lindbergh kidnapping hoax. Branden Books.
  39. ^ a b Fisher, Jim (1 September 1994). The Lindbergh Case. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-2147-3.
  40. ^ "'Trial of the Century' over Lindbergh baby murder commemorated in new portraits". 4 December 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  41. ^ Gardner, Lloyd C. (June 2004). The Case That Never Dies. Rutgers University Press. p. 336. ISBN 978-0-8135-3385-8.
  42. ^ Farr, Julia (11 April 1935). Letter from Julia Farr to Lloyd Fisher. New Jersey State Police Museum and Learning Center Archives.
  43. ^ Schrager, Adam (2013). The Sixteenth Rail: The Evidence, the Scientist, and the Lindbergh Kidnapping. Fulcrum Publishing. ISBN 978-1-55591-716-6.
  44. ^ Ross, Amanda T. (31 March 2009). "CSI Madison, Wisconsin: Wooden Witness". Forest History Society.
  45. ^ The State of New Jersey vs. Bruno Richard Hauptmann. Hunterdon County Court of Oyer and Termner. 5. New Jersey State Law Library. 1935. p. 2606.
  46. ^ James, Bill (2011). "[no title cited]". Popular Crime. pp. 147–161.
  47. ^ The State of New Jersey vs. Bruno Richard Hauptmann. Hunterdon County Court of Oyer and Termner. 11. New Jersey State Law Library. 1935. pp. 4687–4788.
  48. ^ Lutz, William (c. 1937). Plain Facts about the Hauptmann Case. New Jersey State Police Museum and Learning Center Archives.
  49. ^ Hoffman, Harold Giles (26 January 1936). Letter from Governor Hoffman to Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf. New Jersey State Police Museum and Learning Center Archives.
  50. ^ "Hoffman seeks reprieve advice". The Daily Princetonian. Princeton University Library. March 28, 1936.
  51. ^ Herman, Albert B., Clerk of the Board of Pardons (March 30, 1936). "Board of Pardons Press Release". New Jersey State Police Museum and Learning Center Archives.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  52. ^ Blackman, Samuel G. (31 March 1936). "Pardons court again denies Hauptmann plea and governor declares "No reprieve"". The Titusville Herald.
  53. ^ Porter, Russell B. (1 April 1936). "Hauptmann gets a stay for at least 48 hours at grand jury request". The New York Times.
  54. ^ Marshall, Erwin E., Prosecutor of the Pleas (3 April 1936). Letter from Erwin Marshall to Colonel Mark O. Kimberling. New Jersey State Police Museum and Learning Center Archives.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  55. ^ Los Angeles Times (October 20, 1994). "Anna Hauptmann; Wife of Man Convicted in Lindbergh Murder". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 26, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  56. ^ "Hauptmann's Widow Dies". The New York Times. October 19, 1994. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on May 26, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  57. ^ Gardner, Lloyd G. (2004). The case that never dies. p. 344. ISBN 9780813554471.
  58. ^ Fisher, Jim. "Biography". Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  59. ^ Fisher, Jim (1994) [1987]. The Lindbergh Case. Rutgers University Press. p. 480. ISBN 0-8135-2147-5.
  60. ^ Fisher, Jim (1999). The Ghosts of Hopewell: Setting the Record Straight in the Lindbergh Case. Southern Illinois Univ Press. p. 224. ISBN 0-8093-2285-4.
  61. ^ Fisher, Jim. "The Lindbergh Case: A Look Back to the Future". p. 3. Retrieved 29 April 2011. For the Lindbergh case, the revisionist movement began in 1976 with the publication of a book by a tabloid reporter named Anthony Scaduto. In Scapegoat, Scaduto asserts that the Lindbergh baby was not murdered and that Hauptmann was the victim of a mass conspiracy of prosecution, perjury, and fabricated physical evidence.
  62. ^ Fisher, Jim. "The Lindbergh Case: How can such a guilty kidnapper be so innocent?". p. 3. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  63. ^ Reisinger, John (February 2012). Master Detective – Americas Real-life Sherlock. ISBN 978-0983881827.
  64. ^ Bahm, Jim (April 7, 2010). Beneath winter sycamores. ISBN 978-1449917685.
  65. ^ Colimore, Edward (8 July 2012). "Tale of a Lindbergh conspiracy draws attention". The Inquirer. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  66. ^ Jim Fisher (1 September 1994). The Lindbergh Case: A Story of Two Lives. Rutgers University Press. p. 249. ISBN 9780813521473.
  67. ^ Haase, Donald, ed. (1996). The Reception of Grimms' Fairy Tales: Responses, reactions, revisions. Wayne State University Press. p. 209. ISBN 9780814322086. In it, I am the Lindbergh baby.
  68. ^ "Extract: Along Came A Spider by James Patterson". Dead Good. April 26, 2017. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  69. ^ Mitchell, Elvis (April 6, 2001). "FILM REVIEW; Weaving an Intricate Web To Trap a Wily Kidnapper". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
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  71. ^ Russell, Tony (2004). Country music records: a discography, 1921–1942. US: Oxford University Press. p. 621.

Coordinates: 40°25′26″N 74°46′04″W / 40.4240°N 74.7677°W / 40.4240; -74.7677

28 January 1932

Japanese forces attack Shanghai.

January 28 incident
Shanghai 1932 19th route.jpg
The Chinese 19th Route Army in a defensive position
DateJanuary 28 – March 3, 1932
In and around Shanghai, China
Result Ceasefire;
Shanghai demilitarized
 China  Japan
Commanders and leaders
19th Route Army:
Jiang Guangnai
Cai Tingkai
5th Army:
Zhang Zhizhong
Yoshinori Shirakawa
Chief of staff:
Kanichiro Tashiro
Units involved
Republic of China (1912–1949) 19th Route Army
Republic of China (1912–1949) 5th Army
Empire of Japan Shanghai Expeditionary Army
 Imperial Japanese Navy
50,000 100,000+
80 ships
300 airplanes
Casualties and losses
13,000, including 4,000 KIA 5,000, including 3,000+ KIA[1]
10,000–20,000 civilian deaths

The January 28 incident or Shanghai incident (January 28 – March 3, 1932) was a conflict between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. It took place in the Shanghai International Settlement which was under international control. Japanese army officers, defying higher authorities, had provoked anti-Japanese demonstrations in the international District of Shanghai following the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. The Japanese government sent a sect of militant ultranationalist Japanese Buddhist priests belonging to the Nichiren sect to Shanghai. The monks were shouting anti-Chinese, pro-Japanese nationalist slogans in Shanghai, promoting Japanese rule over East Asia.[2] In response, a Chinese mob formed killing one monk and injuring two.[2] In response, the Japanese in Shanghai rioted and burned down a factory, killing two Chinese.[2] Heavy fighting broke out, and China appealed with no success to the League of Nations. A truce was finally reached on May 5, calling for Japanese military withdrawal, and an end to Chinese boycotts of Japanese products.

Internationally, the episode intensified opposition to Japan's aggression in Asia. The episode helped undermine civilian rule in Tokyo; Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi was assassinated on May 15, 1932.[3]


In Chinese literature it is known as the January 28 incident (simplified Chinese: 一·二八事变; traditional Chinese: 一·二八事變; pinyin: Yī Èrbā Shìbiàn), while in Western sources it is often called the Shanghai War of 1932 or the Shanghai incident. In Japan it is known as the first Shanghai incident, alluding to the second Shanghai incident, which is the Japanese name for the Battle of Shanghai that occurred during the opening stages of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937.


After the Mukden Incident, Japan had acquired control over Manchuria and would eventually establish the puppet government of Manchukuo. However, the Japanese military planned to increase Japanese influence further, especially into Shanghai where Japan, along with the various western powers, had extraterritorial rights. On January 18, five Japanese Buddhist monks, members of an ardently nationalist sect, shouted anti-Chinese slogans, and were beaten near Shanghai's Sanyou Factory (simplified Chinese: 三友实业社; traditional Chinese: 三友實業社; pinyin: Sānyǒu Shíyèshè) by agitated Chinese civilians.[2] Two were seriously injured, and one died.[2][4] Over the next few hours, a Japanese group burnt down the factory, killing two Chinese in the fire.[2][4]

One policeman was killed and several more hurt when they arrived to quell the disorder.[4] This caused an upsurge of anti-Japanese and anti-imperialist protests in the city and its concessions, with Chinese residents of Shanghai marching onto the streets and calling for a boycott of Japanese-made goods.


Chinese military police in combat
Japanese troops burning residential districts

The situation continued to deteriorate over the next week. By January 27, the Japanese military had already concentrated some 30 ships, 40 airplanes and nearly 7,000 troops around the shoreline of Shanghai to put down any resistance in the event that violence broke out. The military's justification was that it had to defend its concession and citizens. The Japanese issued an ultimatum to the Shanghai Municipal Council demanding public condemnation and monetary compensation by the Chinese for any Japanese property damaged in the monk incident, and demanding that the Chinese government take active steps to suppress further anti-Japanese protests in the city. During the afternoon of January 28, the Shanghai Municipal Council agreed to these demands.

Throughout this period, the Chinese 19th Route Army had been massing outside the city, causing consternation to the civil Chinese administration of Shanghai and the foreign-run concessions. The 19th Route Army was generally viewed as little more than a warlord force, posing as great a danger to Shanghai as the Japanese military. In the end, Shanghai donated a substantial bribe to the 19th Route Army, hoping that it would leave and not incite a Japanese attack.[5]

However, at midnight on January 28, Japanese carrier aircraft bombed Shanghai in the first major aircraft carrier action in East Asia. Barbara W. Tuchman described this as also being "the first terror bombing of a civilian population of an era that was to become familiar with it",[6] preceding the Condor Legion's bombing of Guernica by five years. Three thousand Japanese troops attacked targets, such as the Shanghai North railway station, around the city and began an invasion of the de facto Japanese settlement in Hongkew and other areas north of Suzhou Creek. In what was a surprising about-face for many, the 19th Route Army, which many had expected to leave after having been paid, put up fierce resistance. Also on the 28th, the Chinese Air Force dispatched nine planes to the Hongqiao Aerodrome, and the first aerial battle between Chinese and Japanese aircraft occurred on that day, although neither side suffered losses.[7]

Though the opening battles took place in the Hongkew district of the International Settlement, the conflict soon spread outwards to much of Chinese-controlled Shanghai. The majority of the concessions remained untouched by the conflict, and it was often the case that those in the Shanghai International Settlement would watch the war from the banks of Suzhou Creek. They could even visit the battle lines by virtue of their extraterritoriality. The Oriental Library built by The Commercial Press was destroyed. [8] On January 30, Chiang Kai-shek decided to temporarily relocate the capital from Nanjing to Luoyang as an emergency measure, due to the fact that Nanjing's proximity to Shanghai could make it a target.[9]

Because Shanghai was a metropolitan city with many foreign interests invested in it, other countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France, attempted to negotiate a ceasefire between Japan and China. However, Japan refused, instead continuing to mobilize troops in the region. On February 12, American, British and French representatives brokered a half-day cease fire for humanitarian relief to civilians caught in the crossfire.

The same day, the Japanese issued another ultimatum, demanding that the Chinese Army retreat 20 km from the border of the Shanghai concessions, a demand promptly rejected. This only intensified fighting in Hongkew. The Japanese were unable to take the city by the middle of February. Subsequently, the number of Japanese troops was increased to nearly 90,000 with the arrival of the 9th Infantry Division and the , supported by 80 warships and 300 airplanes.

Map of the fighting in Shanghai

On February 14, Chiang Kai-shek sent the , including the and 88th divisions, into Shanghai.

On February 20, Japanese bombardments were increased to force the Chinese away from their defensive positions near , while commercial and residential districts of the city were set on fire. The Chinese defensive positions deteriorated rapidly without naval and armored support, with the number of defenders dwindling to fewer than 50,000. Japanese forces increased to over a 100,000 troops, backed by aerial and naval bombardments.

On February 28, after a week of fierce fighting characterized by the stubborn resistance of the troops mainly from Guangdong, the Japanese, supported by superior artillery, took the village of Kiangwan (now Jiangwanzhen), north of Shanghai.[10]

On February 29, the Japanese 11th Infantry Division landed near Liuhe behind Chinese lines. The defenders launched a desperate counterattack from 1 March, but were unable to dislodge the Japanese. On March 2, the 19th Route Army issued a telegram stating that it was necessary to withdraw from Shanghai due to lack of supplies and manpower. The next day, the 19th Route Army and the 5th Army retreated from Shanghai, marking the official end of the battle.[11]

Peace process

Remembrance service for fallen Chinese troops

On March 4, the League of Nations passed a resolution demanding a ceasefire, though sporadic fighting persisted. On March 6, the Chinese unilaterally agreed to stop fighting, although the Japanese rejected the ceasefire. On March 14, representatives from the League of Nations arrived at Shanghai to broker a negotiation with the Japanese. While negotiations were going on, intermittent fighting continued in both outlying areas and the city itself.[12]

On May 5, China and Japan signed the Shanghai Ceasefire Agreement (simplified Chinese: 淞沪停战协定; traditional Chinese: 淞滬停戰協定; pinyin: Sōnghù Tíngzhàn Xiédìng). The agreement made Shanghai a demilitarized zone and forbade China to garrison troops in areas surrounding Shanghai, Suzhou, and Kunshan, while allowing the presence of a few Japanese units in the city. China was allowed to keep only a small police force within the city.


After the ceasefire was brokered, the 19th Army was reassigned by Chiang Kai-shek to suppress the Chinese Communist insurrection in Fujian. After winning some battles against the communists, a peace agreement was negotiated. On November 22, the leadership of the 19th Route Army revolted against the Kuomintang government, and established the Fujian People's Government, independent of the Republic of China. This new government was not supported by all elements of the communists and was quickly crushed by Chiang's armies in January 1934. The leaders of the 19th Route Army escaped to Hong Kong, and the rest of the army was disbanded and reassigned to other units of the National Revolutionary Army.

Yoshinori Shirakawa, the commander of the Shanghai Expeditionary Army and joint leader of the Japanese forces, was severely wounded by Korean nationalist Yoon Bong-Gil during a birthday celebration for Emperor Hirohito held at Shanghai's Hongkou Park and died of his injuries on May 26.

See also


  1. ^ Tang Xun and the Victory of Miaohang http://www.shtong.gov.cn/node2/node70393/node70403/node72480/node72482/userobject1ai80904.html
  2. ^ a b c d e f "The Fall Of Shanghai: Prelude To The Rape Of Nanking & WWII". Warfare History Network. 2015-08-17. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  3. ^ Donald A. JordanChina's trial by fire: The Shanghai War of 1932 (University of Michigan Press, 2001).
  4. ^ a b c Edwin P. Hoyt, Japan's War, p 98 ISBN 0-07-030612-5
  5. ^ JordanChina's trial by fire: The Shanghai War of 1932 (2001).
  6. ^ Tuchman, Barbara (1970). Stilwell and the American experience of China. New York: Macmillan & Co. pp. Chapter 5.
  7. ^ 航空知识 (2020-09-03). "从陈应明航空画中忆英雄风采!抗战胜利75周年,我们从未忘记_媒体_澎湃新闻-The Paper". www.thepaper.cn. Retrieved 2021-01-02. 容克斯K-47首战上海 - 1932年“1·28”事变爆发后,中国派出9架各型军机调往上海虹桥机场增援,并与当日与日本发生空战,但战斗双方都无损失. 2月26日集中在杭州附近乔司机场待命的我国25架战机突遭日军“中岛”3式战斗机和“中岛”13式攻击机组成的15机编队偷袭,第2队队长石邦藩、射击手沈延世驾驶P-7号容克斯K-47双座战斗机率先起飞应敌,淞沪之战以来最激烈的一场空战由此展开.
  8. ^ Ke Jiayun, "Bombed-out library with revolutionary past", Shanghai Daily. March 3, 2015.
  9. ^ JordanChina's trial by fire: The Shanghai War of 1932 (2001).
  10. ^ Canberra Times, 29 Feb 1932; http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2268041
  11. ^ JordanChina's trial by fire: The Shanghai War of 1932 (2001).
  12. ^ JordanChina's trial by fire: The Shanghai War of 1932 (2001).

Further reading

  • Fenby, Jonathan (2003). Chiang Kai-shek: China's Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost. Carroll & Graf Publishers. ISBN 0786713186.
  • Jordan, Donald (2001). China's Trial by Fire: The Shanghai War of 1932. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0472111655.
  • Hsu Long-hsuen and Chang Ming-kai, History of The Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) 2nd Ed.,1971. Translated by Wen Ha-hsiung, Chung Wu Publishing; 33, 140th Lane, Tung-hwa Street, Taipei, Taiwan Republic of China.
  • Jordan, Donald A. China's trial by fire: The Shanghai War of 1932 (University of Michigan Press, 2001).

External links

28 January 1932

Japanese forces attack Shanghai.

This article is about the 1937 battle. For the 1932 Japanese attack on Shanghai, see January 28 incident. For other uses, see Battle of Shanghai.
The Battle of Shanghai was the first of the twenty-two major engagements fought between the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China and the Imperial Japanese Army of the Empire of Japan at the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War. It was one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the entire war, described as “Stalingrad on the Yangtze”.

Since the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 followed by the Japanese attack of Shanghai in 1932, there had been ongoing armed conflicts between China and Japan without an official declaration of war. These conflicts finally escalated in July 1937, when the Marco Polo Bridge Incident triggered the full invasion from Japan. Dogged Chinese resistance at Shanghai was aimed at stalling the rapid Japanese advance, giving much needed time for the Chinese government to move vital industries to the interior, while at the same time attempting to bring sympathetic Western powers to China’s side. During the fierce three-month battle, Chinese and Japanese troops fought in downtown Shanghai, in the outlying towns, and on the beaches of the Yangtze River and Hangzhou Bay, where the Japanese had made amphibious landings.

The Chinese soldiers had to rely primarily on small-caliber weapons in their defense of Shanghai, against an overwhelming Japanese onslaught of air, naval, and armored striking power. In the end, Shanghai fell, and China lost a significant portion of its best troops, while also failing to elicit any international intervention. The resistance of Chinese forces, however, shocked the Japanese, who had been indoctrinated with notions of cultural and martial superiority, and dramatically demoralized the Imperial Japanese Army.

The battle can be divided into three stages, and eventually involved nearly one million troops. The first stage lasted from August 13 to August 22, 1937, during which the NRA attempted to eradicate Japanese troop presence in downtown Shanghai. The second stage lasted from August 23 to October 26, 1937, during which the Japanese launched amphibious landings on the Jiangsu coast and the two armies fought a Stalingrad-type house-to-house battle, with the Japanese attempting to gain control of the city and the surrounding regions. The last stage, ranging from October 27 to the end of November 1937, involved the retreat of the Chinese army in the face of Japanese flanking maneuvers, and the ensuing combat on the road to China’s capital, Nanjing.

3 October 1932

Iraq gains it independence from the United Kingdom.

With the signing of the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty and the settling of the Mosul Question, Iraqi politics took on a new dynamic. The emerging class of Sunni and Shia landowning tribal sheikhs vied for positions of power with wealthy and prestigious urban-based Sunni families and with Ottoman-trained army officers and bureaucrats. Because Iraq’s newly established political institutions were the creation of a foreign power, and because the concept of democratic government had no precedent in Iraqi history, the politicians in Baghdad lacked legitimacy and never developed deeply rooted constituencies. Thus, despite a constitution and an elected assembly, Iraqi politics was more a shifting alliance of important personalities and cliques than a democracy in the Western sense. The absence of broadly based political institutions inhibited the early nationalist movement’s ability to make deep inroads into Iraq’s diverse social structure.

The new Anglo-Iraqi Treaty was signed in June 1930. It provided for a “close alliance,” for “full and frank consultations between the two countries in all matters of foreign policy,” and for mutual assistance in case of war. Iraq granted the British the use of air bases near Basra and at Al Habbaniyah and the right to move troops across the country. The treaty, of twenty-five years’ duration, was to come into force upon Iraq’s admission to the League of Nations. This occurred on October 3, 1932.

In 1932, the Kingdom of Iraq was granted independence under King Faisal I. However the British retained military bases in the country. Iraq was granted official independence on October 3, 1932 in accordance with an agreement signed by the United Kingdom in 1930, whereby the United Kingdom would end its effective mandate on the condition that the Iraqi government would allow British advisers to take part in government affairs, allow British military bases to remain, and a requirement that Iraq assist the United Kingdom in wartime. Strong political tensions existed between Iraq and the United Kingdom even upon gaining independence. After gaining independence in 1932 the Iraqi government immediately declared that Kuwait was rightfully a territory of Iraq. Kuwait had loosely been under the authority of the Ottoman vilâyet of Basra for centuries until the British had formally severed it from the Ottoman influence after World War I and on this basis the Iraqi government stated that Kuwait was a British imperialist invention.

23 September 1932

The unification of Saudi Arabia is completed.

The history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia begins properly on September 23, 1932, when by royal decree the dual kingdom of the Hejaz and Najd with its dependencies, administered since 1927 as two separate units, was unified under the name of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The chief immediate effect was to increase the unity of the kingdom and to decrease the possibility of Hejazi separatism, while the name underscored the central role of the royal family in the kingdom’s creation. No attempt was made to change the supreme authority of the king as the absolute monarch of the new regime; indeed, his power was emphasized in 1933 by his choice of his son Sa??d as heir apparent.

From the date of its establishment in September 1932, Saudi Arabia enjoyed full international recognition as an independent state, although it did not join the League of Nations.

In 1934 Ibn Sa??d was involved in war with Yemen over a boundary dispute. An additional cause of the war was Yemen’s support of an uprising by an Asiri prince against Ibn Sa??d. In a seven-week campaign, the Saudis were generally victorious. Hostilities were terminated by the Treaty of Al-???if, by which the Saudis gained the disputed district. Diplomatic relations with Egypt, severed in 1926 because of an incident on the Meccan pilgrimage, were not renewed until after the death of King Fu??d of Egypt in 1936.

Fixing the boundaries of the country remained a problem throughout the 1930s. In tribal society, sovereignty was traditionally expressed in the form of suzerainty over certain tribes rather than in fixed territorial boundaries. Hence, Ibn Sa??d regarded the demarcation of land frontiers with suspicion. Nevertheless, the majority of the frontiers with Iraq, Kuwait, and Jordan had been demarcated by 1930. In the south, no agreement was reached on the exact site of the frontiers with the Trucial States and with the interior of Yemen and Muscat and Oman.

After Saudi Arabia declared its neutrality during World War II (1939–45), Britain and the United States subsidized Saudi Arabia, which declared war on Germany in 1945, and this thus enabled the kingdom to enter the United Nations as a founding member. Ibn Sa??d also joined the Arab League, but he did not play a leading part in it, since the religious and conservative element in Saudi Arabia opposed cooperation with other Arab states, even when Saudis shared common views, as in opposition to Zionism. In the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, Saudi Arabia contributed only one battalion.

3 October 1932

Iraq gets its independence from the United Kingdom.


With the admission of Iraq into the League of Nations, Britain terminates its mandate over the Arab nation, making Iraq independent after 17 years of British rule and centuries of Ottoman rule.

Britain seized Iraq from Ottoman Turkey during World War I and was granted a mandate by the League of Nations to govern the nation in 1920. A Hashemite monarchy was organized under British protection in 1921, and on October 3, 1932, the kingdom of Iraq was granted independence. The Iraqi government maintained close economic and military ties with Britain, leading to several anti-British revolts.

A pro-Axis revolt in 1941 led to a British military intervention, and the Iraqi government agreed to support the Allied war effort. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown, and for the next two decades Iraq was ruled by a series of military and civilian governments. In 1979, General Saddam Hussein became Iraqi dictator; he held onto power with an iron fist, until disappearing in the face of an American-led coaliation’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.

12 May 1932

The kidnapped infant son of Charles Lindbergh, Charles Jr., is found dead in Hopewell, New Jersey, 10 weeks after being abducted.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., 20-month-old son of the famous aviator and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was kidnapped about 9:00 p.m., on March 1, 1932, from the nursery on the second floor of the Lindbergh home near Hopewell, New Jersey. The child’s absence was discovered and reported to his parents, who were then at home, at approximately 10:00 p.m. by the child’s nurse, Betty Gow. A search of the premises was immediately made and a ransom note demanding $50,000 was found on the nursery window sill. After the Hopewell police were notified, the report was telephoned to the New Jersey State Police, who assumed charge of the investigation.

Son of Charles LindberghDuring the search at the kidnapping scene, traces of mud were found on the floor of the nursery. Footprints, impossible to measure, were found under the nursery window. Two sections of the ladder had been used in reaching the window, one of the two sections was split or broken where it joined the other, indicating that the ladder had broken during the ascent or descent. There were no blood stains in or about the nursery, nor were there any fingerprints.

Household and estate employees were questioned and investigated. Colonel Lindbergh asked friends to communicate with the kidnappers, and they made widespread appeals for the kidnappers to start negotiations. Various underworld characters were dealt with in attempts to contact the kidnappers, and numerous clues were advanced and exhausted.

A second ransom note was received by Colonel Lindbergh on March 6, 1932, (postmarked Brooklyn, New York, March 4), in which the ransom demand was increased to $70,000. A police conference was then called by the governor at Trenton, New Jersey, which was attended by prosecuting officials, police authorities, and government representatives. Various theories and policies of procedure were discussed. Private investigators also were employed by Colonel Lindbergh’s attorney, Colonel Henry Breckenridge.

19 December 1932

The British Broadcasting Corporation World Service start broadcasting as the BBC Empire Service.

The BBC’s Empire Service began short-wave broadcasts on 12 December 1932, from Daventry, England, with the purpose of providing a radio service for the colonies and dominions of the British Empire – and as such constituting the initial version of what would become the BBC World Service.

Whilst the Empire Service has been discussed in terms of the general history of the BBC, with the exception of McKenzie’s (1987) overview chapter it has been the subject of little scholarly attention in its own
right. The concern of this paper is to examine the light cast by psychoanalytically derived perspectives on the voice and the terms in which the voice figures in regard to Lacan’s conception of the discourse of the master, on principally the political functions of the Empire Service – from its commencement at the close of 1932 through to the outbreak of the Second World War; and secondly on the BBC’s initial foreign language services which developed out of the Empire Service.