Kirribilli is very much a Sunday kind of suburb. If your in Sydney and it’s Sunday, popping along to Kirribilli to check out the frequent markets held under the Harbour Bridge and maybe take in brunch at one of the many street side cafes could be a good way to start a relaxing day.
I felt Kirribilli was refreshing in that it lacks the hubbub of the Central Business District (CBD) with its leafy residential streets and a general calmness is in the air. But action is there if you want it! On venturing up a flight of concrete steps to view the traffic on the Harbour Bridge, I was taken to a different world of Opera House views traffic chaos and an appreciation of the amazing Sydney Harbour Bridge itself.
The Harbour Bridge starts, or ends in Kirribilli – depending on how you look at it, but which ever your viewpoint, you can not help but be amazed at this structure that towers above you and the eight lines of traffic, cycle path and trains crossing the world’s widest long-span bridge. Known affectionally by Sydneysiders as “The Coat hanger”, the road crossing the bridge is known as the John Bradfield Highway after the chief engineer of the bridge project. After travelling to look at a number of bridges worldwide, Bradfield based his idea upon New York City’s Hell Gate Bridge with the Sydney version opening in 1932. The variable tolls today, which are only charged going to the city – not leaving, are higher than the initial 6 pence toll for a car or 3 pence for a horse and rider charged when it first opened. The tolls have meant that the bridge is now fully paid for (something that occurred in 1988) but continued to be charged to finance the maintenance.
The suburb also contains Kirribilli House, the official Sydney residence of the Prime Minister and Admiralty House, the official Sydney residence of the Governor-General so this perhaps further emphases the rather exclusive feel you have when wandering around the suburb. Indeed, John Howard, the former Australian Prime Minister was equally as famous for early morning walks in the district as for the attire he wore whilst taking them.