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2007 Media Releases - It’s a world wonder down under!

Issued Friday, 26 January 2007


As Australians all unite to celebrate their heritage on Australia Day, it’s time to remember a much-loved Australian icon and it’s bid to become one of the New Wonders of the World, Sydney Opera House.

In voting updates recently released by the New 7 Wonders Foundation, Sydney Opera House is sitting in the bottom seven of the 21 finalists – and it’s time to turn that upside down!

Sydney Opera House is the newest of the world wonders, the only monument with its visionary architect Jørn Utzon still working on the development of the building, and an important piece of modernist architecture, so it’s time for anyone who has marvelled at the unforgettable, soaring shells of Sydney Opera House to pick up the phone or get online and vote.

On Australia Day, Sydney Opera House was the centrepiece of Aussie celebrations, hosting an early morning Surfboard Challenge and by far the best location to watch a ferry race, tall ships and an air show around the Harbour. The majestic Sydney Opera House perfectly complements all the festivities often enjoyed in the harbour city.

Jan Utzon, son of architect Jørn Utzon and also working as architect on the continual development of this building, said, “It gives me a smile on my lips to be standing on the steps of the Opera House … If I have to choose and vote for a building in the 7 Wonders, I would choose the Opera House, absolutely. And so should you.”

Vote now on or by phone and spread the word!

Seven Little-Known Facts about Sydney Opera House

  1. Each Australia Day at sunrise, hundreds of bronzed surfers sit with their long surfboards on the steps of Sydney Opera House, waiting patiently for an annual race to begin in Sydney Harbour. The Australia Day Surfboard Challenge starts next to Sydney Opera House – to see all the surfers carrying their surfboards around Sydney Opera House is a quintessentially Australian sight!
  2. January 29 this year, marks half a century since Jørn Utzon was announced the winner of the international competition to design an Opera House for Sydney. Utzon, then a relatively unknown 38-year-old Danish architect, heard the judges’ decision from his children, who ran through the forest to the station to meet him as he was coming home from work, and yelled to him that he’d won.
  3. The sails of the Sydney Opera House were built using three tower cranes made in France for this job, and costing $100,000 each. Sydney Opera House was one of the first buildings constructed in Australia using tower cranes.
  4. There are 1,056,006 roof tiles covering an area of approximately 1.62 hectares that sit over the structure. They were made by a Swedish tile company, Höganas, and whenever it rains, the tiles clean themselves.
  5. Paul Robeson was the first person to perform at Sydney Opera House. In 1960, he climbed the scaffolding and sang Ol’ Man River to the construction workers as they ate their lunch.
  6. When Queen Elizabeth II declared Sydney Opera House officially open on October 20, 1973, she hoped even then that it would be acknowledged as one of the wonders of the world, saying, “The Sydney Opera House has captured the imagination of the world … Controversy attended the building of the Pyramids, yet they stand today acknowledged as one of the wonders of the world. So I hope and believe it will be with the Sydney Opera House.”
  7. Sydney Opera House already has an opera written about it, called The Eighth Wonder.

TO VOTE: Visit, register online, and vote for your New 7 Wonders of the World. Online voting is free.

ABOUT SOH: Sydney Opera House is one of the busiest performing arts centres around the globe with more than 2,400 performances and events in and around its sails, as well as over 4 million tourists who come to experience the Sydney Opera House every year.

ABOUT NEW 7 WONDERS: The New 7 Wonders campaign was launched in 2000 by Swiss film producer, author and aviator Bernard Weber to select the Seven New Wonders of the World via the first global voting campaign. Half of the profits generated will be donated to global good causes in monument and building restoration and preservation.


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