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Portrait of Dr John Bradfield
, c. 1920-24

by Jerrold Nathan

oil on canvas (frame: 91.0 cm x 78.5 cm, support: 76.0 cm x 63.5 cm)

John Bradfield (1867-1943), engineer, was a key figure in the development of Sydney's Harbour Bridge and transport network. His career began in the years before World War I, when he worked on the construction of the Cataract Dam and the Burrinjuck Dam. During the war he began to explore options for a Sydney metropolitan rail system and suburban electrification that would result in the opening of St James Station, Museum Station and a new section of Central Station many years later. In 1922 the Harbour Bridge Act was passed, with Bradfield advising on the wording of the bill so that his later decisions on the form of the bridge could be accommodated. From 1929, there was controversy over whether he, Ralph Freeman or Lawrence Ennis could properly be called the 'designer' of the Harbour Bridge - but the bridge highway is named after Bradfield. Through the 1930s he was responsible for the design, fabrication and construction of major projects in Queensland. A founder of the Institution of Engineers, at the time he died he was the Deputy Chancellor of Sydney University.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the family of Dr J J C Bradfield 2006
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2006.73