On Saturday the 15th of July, 1972, Bill Withers' 'Lean On Me' was blasting on the radios. Billy McMahon was still the Prime Minister of Australia. Up in space, the Pioneer 10 satellite was launched and rocketed towards Jupiter (NASA scientists didn't think it'd last the voyage). Hollywood actress Jane Fonda posed in front of an anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi, North Vietnam; the photos ran worldwide the next day.
Meanwhile in Sydney, a technician working on the construction of the Sydney Opera House was taking his coffee break with the day's Sydney Morning Herald and peeking at the jobs pages – but we can only guess.
Almost exactly 45 years from that day, Opera House staff working on the Joan Sutherland Theatre’s Renewal project discovered the tanned, fragile pages of a 1972 copy of the Herald tucked behind the theatre’s machinery and cabling. The paper’s reader had the pages open to the classifieds – construction managers under the (explicitly labelled) “Men and Boys” section, a machine shop foreman for CSIRO, and David Jones shop assistants were just some of the callouts the eager employee was flicking through.
The copy of the Herald will be preserved in the Opera House’s archives, as well as the other moments in history that will be uncovered during the Renewal of the Joan Sutherland Theatre and Concert Hall.
Read more about the Joan Sutherland Theatre’s Renewal on Backstage.