THE COAT HANGER OF WARWICK FARM
Possibly the only one of Australia’s “big things” to actually be smaller than the original, Sydney’s second harbour bridge is like a sapling growing far from the tree it sprung from. The bridge marks the entrance to the Peter Warren automotive empire. Sydney’s longest running auto “mall”, the Peter Warren compound occupies a lot the size of 18 rugby ovals across from the Warwick Farm racecourse.
Like the original Harbour Bridge thirty kilometres away, the Warwick Farm version is topped with flags and draped in lights for special occasions. But in a strange inversion the traffic flows not across but underneath it, on a harbour of asphalt.
The idea to have a replica of the harbour bridge at the entrance of his car dealership came to Peter Warren while he was watching the 1987 Manly vs. Canberra NRL grand final at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Before the game, the pre-match entertainment centred around the construction of a replica harbour bridge. Men in bright blue overalls carrying crossbeams raced to construct the bridge, as teenage girls in white bodysuits branded with a purple NSW enthusiastically swung their arms in a dance move that can only be described as the mashed potato. In a orchestrated event worthy of an Olympics opening ceremony in both scope and kitsch, each team in the league was represented on the field with a sign, a flag, and local mascots.
It was the bridge that caught Warren’s attention. What was going to happen to it after the game? He arranged for it to be relocated to his Warwick Farm car yards for the bicentenary, and it turned out to be so popular and good for business that it became a permanent fixture.
IMAGE CREDIT: Wikipedia