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She is just known as Mrs Frank Smith, in the way it was for women to surrender their identity in the Depression years, now close to a century ago.

But Mrs Smith’s affections were not restricted to one partner.

Over four years from 1928 to 1932, she would unashamedly document her passion for her other love: the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Historians are looking to find the woman who documented the building of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Mrs Smith’s chronicles of the coathanger’s growth provides a renewed insight into the Bridge’s build. (Nine)

As the spans of the coathanger began growing like staghorns from their foreshore anchors, Mrs. Smith would document with discipline its emerging features, carefully filling a thick photo album with boarded black and white stills, each page spliced with preserving onion paper.

Mrs Smith would even bridge between shots to capture its growth, as all of Sydney watched with her.

“The harbour was like a stage, as Sydney watched this happen,” says State Library of NSW curator Margot Riley.

“She would find locations for different angles; she was crossing the harbour in ferries, and that way she’s able to capture some extraordinary shots.”

Historians are looking to find the woman who documented the building of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The State Library of NSW. is looking for ‘Mrs Smith’. (Nine)

With the eye of an artist and exactness of an engineer, Mrs Smith’s chronicles of the coathanger’s growth provides a renewed insight into the bridge’s build.

The album shows the moment the spans of the bridge connect in 1930.

“Mrs Smith appears to view this moment as a triumphant one,” I note, from the gorgeous copperplate handwriting heralding the occasion, beneath the large shot featuring the bridge linking, but bereft of the car deck, that would be lowered into place over the next two years.

Historians are looking to find the woman who documented the building of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Over four years from 1928 to 1932, Mrs Smith documented the creation of the famous bridge. (Nine)

“Everyone in Sydney was almost holding their breath,” says Margot, “waiting until the two halves would be locked together. It was a big moment during construction.”

There are just two photos of the unflappable Mrs Smith, one pose on a pile of building material, the other standing on the freshly laid deck.

Historians are looking to find the woman who documented the building of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Historians are looking to find the woman who documented the building of Sydney Harbour Bridge. (Nine)

“I think she had special access all areas, given the positions around the bridge she was able to find.”

And what happened to Mrs. Smith?

“We don’t know anymore,” Margot sadly concedes.

But thankfully, Mrs Smith would leave her important Sydney legacy, in the hands of the State Library of NSW.

Source: 9News

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