The Western Sydney Aerotropolis is to be the futuristic jewel in the crown for the NSW Government. With the Nancy-Bird Airport currently being built at Badgerys Creek, the aerotropolis will be a flow on effect of the airport complex, and will be conjoined with Parramatta and the harbour city to form the third CBD of Greater Sydney. 

In what will be New South Wales’ premier 22nd century city, the surrounding area of Badgerys Creek and Bringelly will be part of the state’s biggest ever jobs boom, providing over 100,000 jobs in aerospace and defence, manufacturing, healthcare, freight and logistics, agribusiness, education and research industries by 2056.

Bradfield Concept Drawing

The Berejklian government has this week announced the winner of the ‘Name the Place’ competition held to name the 10,000 hectare site that will eventually become Sydney’s third city. The result? Bradfield. One of Sydney’s pivotal engineers, John Bradfield had a major hand in shaping the look of the city of Sydney we know today. 

Born in Brisbane in 1867, John Job Crew Bradfield CMG was a decorated student of both the North Ipswich State School and Ipswich Grammar School, of which he was named dux. He moved to Sydney for his tertiary studies and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in 1889.

After working for the Queensland Railway Department in the years after his graduation, Bradfield returned to Sydney in 1891 to work as a draftsman for the New South Wales Department of Public Works. 

During his time within the department, Bradfield had a hand in several crucial infrastructure projects that have stood the test of time. The Cataract and Burrinjuck Dams, which were opened in 1907 and 1928 respectively, are major reservoirs of the Greater Sydney area to this day.

Sydney Harbour Bridge low angle shot

The Sydney Harbour Bridge remains the largest piece in Bradfield’s legacy, and the jewel in the crown of the harbour city. Upon the passing of the harbour bridge bill in 1922, Bradfield worked with Sir Ralph Freeman and a team of engineers that set about devising an arch-shaped bridge, that had become possible thanks to the advancements in 20th century steelwork. Construction commenced in 1924, the same year Bradfield completed a doctorate of engineering, the first student to do so at the University of Sydney. From 1930, Bradfield oversaw the final years of construction of the bridge, with its grand opening coming two years later.

The city circle, the horseshoe-shaped underground railway system that travels around the CBD was originally planned by Bradfield in 1915. Had it not been for World War I, Bradfield’s plans for an electric suburban railway system, underground city railway system, and harbour bridge would’ve been utilised and completed before the great war. That said, the main features of Bradfield’s original city circle were used and are still functional today. The main differences between Bradfield’s plans and the completed city circle was that the eastern suburbs line was erected in a different alignment, and Bradfield’s plans for a northern suburbs and southern suburbs line were not undertaken.

Bradfield's original city circle blueprint

Bradfield’s fingerprints remain across the designs of nearly all the train stations within the city circle. The engineer was the head architect for the Town Hall, Wynyard, Circular Quay, St James and Museum stations that form the majority of the city circle, and was the services engineer for Central station. 

Town Hall Station, 1932

Bradfield died in 1943 at his family home in Gordon. He lives on through his grandchildren, one of which, Jim Bradfield, was a part of the naming announcement this week. NSW premier Gladys Berejklian, upon the naming of Sydney’s third city paid tribute to the engineer, who had shaped much of Sydney through his planning in the early 20th century.

“The name Bradfield is synonymous with delivering game-changing infrastructure and it sets the right tone for the area we have referred to as the ‘Aerotropolis Core’ until now.,” says Bradfield.

Bradfield and the surrounding areas of the Western Sydney Aerotropolis are due to form what is predicted to be Australia’s third largest economy by 2036.


Images: Wikipedia Commons, NSW Government, Unsplash