During the 1950s, a small white cat became a worldwide phenomenom drawing tourist attention from all over the world.
Known as 'George' the white cat may even have been a bigger drawcard than the iconic Harbour Bridge on which he was said to live. That is if this excerpt of a 1960s tourism brochure is to be believed.
The brochure, which has been re-printed in Australian Geographic, read:
WORLD FAMOUS WHITE CATS. A joy for the kiddies and a delight for adults. They are unique; they even have their own merry-go-round.
Clearly, the cat was the main attraction.
It lived on top of the south-east pylon - the one closest to the Opera House - was believed to be owned by ex-servicewoman Yvonne Rentoul.
In December 1948, the businesswoman officially opened the Pylon Lookout where George the cat became an instant star.
Living with George was a set of twin cats that became known as Bridget and Pylon.
A Sunday Telegraph article from 1951 explained the cats' affinity for the high place:
"Since they took up residence on top of the pylon, one of the twins, Pylon, has never been downstairs. Bridget was once carried down but as soon as she was released she raced up again and has stayed there ever since."
The cats are not the only animals to become the stuff of legends on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Soon after the bridge was minted, in April 1932, Wirth's Circus staged a promotion by bringing seven elephants and a Shetland pony across the Harbour Bridge.
In June 2016, beef farmer Glenn Morris from Inverell, NSW rode a horse across the bridge to protest then-proposed vegetation clearing laws.
Then in January 2018, police were called in to remove a wayward wallaby that had made its way onto the bridge, dodging traffic across the six lanes.
On March 19, the bridge will turn 90 years old, having been first opened to the public back in 1932.
Since 1992, the bridge has been used alongside the Sydney Harbour Tunnel for hundreds of thousands of travellers to cross from one side of Sydney to the other.
In its near-century history, the bridge has been a sight of protesting, reconcilliation marching, and has become a world-recognised icon with its annual New Years Eve fireworks display.
The first fireworks display took place on the bridge in 1997 and lit up the iconic Coat Hanger with a picture of a smiley face.
To bring in the millennium year, at midnight on December 31, 1999, the bridge was lit with the word 'eternity' to pay homage to Sydney chalk artist Arthur Stace.
Known as Mr Eternity, Stace was a former alcoholic who during the 1930s converted to Christianity and began writing 'eternity' on Sydney's streets in distinctive cursive lettering.
His is just one of the many stories connected to the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.
To commemorate the bridge's 90th anniversary, tourism company Bridge Climb is looking to record untold stories and previously unidentified bridge memorabilia in a new exhibition at the Pylon Lookout Museum.
To submit stories, visit the Bridge Climb Pylon Museum website.
- with Australian Associated Press
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