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The Sydney Opera House from across Sydney Harbour on the day it was opened. Red ribbons hang from the sails and boats watch in the foreground

Our Story

The Sydney Opera House is the symbol of modern Australia. A World Heritage-listed masterpiece of “human creative genius,” it exists because a few brave people dared to think differently.

From conception to completion, the building tested the limits of engineering, construction and design. When the Opera House opened its doors in 1973, changing the image of Australia, a new era of cultural discovery and community engagement began.

Five decades later, we stand as an important community meeting place, the nation’s busiest performing arts centre and an integral part of Sydney through our contribution to culture, heritage, sustainability and tourism.


The land on which the Sydney Opera House stands was known to its traditional custodians, the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, as Tubowgule.

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Jørn Utzon

Inspired by nature, the charismatic Danish architect designed a building that astonished from every angle, forever changing the face of Sydney.

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Construction begins

On 2 March 1959, a crowd gathered under umbrellas, in the rain, to watch the start of construction of the Sydney Opera House.

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The spherical solution

Discovering the key to the Sydney Opera House’s shells marked a milestone in 20th century architecture.

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Utzon departs the House

As the sails took shape, Bennelong Point became a battle ground of politics, pragmatism and the quest for perfection.

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Peter Hall and the completion of the Opera House

A young Australian accepts the challenge and delivers results.

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50 years of extraordinary moments

From Ella Fitzgerald to Bon Iver, Dance Rites Festival to Nelson Mandela’s address from the steps, the Opera House and the extraordinary experiences on our stages reflect our contemporary culture.

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Conserving and celebrating our heritage

We are transforming the building for future generations while respecting and preserving the very features that make it unique.

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Decade of Renewal

As we open up the Opera House to more of the community, the Decade of Renewal has helped us live up to the promise of the building itself.

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