Way back in January of 2012, my husband and I took three months off work and traveled to the South Pacific. We flew to Victoria, Vancouver Island for a short visit to our family in Sooke – then made our way to Fiji via Los Angeles where we stayed at a resort to decompress and have our worries and cares melt away. After that rejuvenation we were off to New Zealand for two weeks (not enough time I’m afraid, poor planning that) and then to Australia. Perth, Cairns, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide which I will delve into on another day – primarily I just want to tell you about the iconic Sydney Opera House which you see in most advertisements for Australia. Here are some interesting tidbits.
There are more than 1 million glazed white granite roof tiles covering approximately 1.62 hectares sitting over the structure. Imported from Sweden. The highest tip of the Sydney Opera House reaches 67 meters above the water – the equivalent height of a 22 story building. Over 350 kilometers (217 miles) of steel cable was used in the Opera House’s construction, which is long enough to reach from Sydney to Canberra.
There are 6,233 square metres of topaz coloured glass used in the construction of the building. The glass was made to order by Boussois-Souchon-Neuvesel in France in a shade used only by the Sydney Opera House.
The design of the Sydney Opera House was inspired by nature, its forms, functions and colours. Jorn Utzon, a Danish architect who won the design competition (a story in itself) was influenced in his designs by bird wings, the shape and form of clouds, shells, walnuts and palm trees. He looked upon nature for guidance when designing, as nature over time combined both efficiency and beauty, hand in hand.
The Opera house had originally been projected to cost $7 million AUD, but by the time it was finished, it had cost a whopping $120 million AUD.
It was initially estimated that building Sydney Opera House would take four years. Work, however, commenced in 1959 with 10,000 construction workers on site. It was officially opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth – 24 years after breaking ground.
It is one of the most elaborate entertainment venues in the world and has hosted some of the biggest names in the entertainment world. It is home to Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
The House hosts 3,000 events every year. 200,000 people take a guided tour of the building.
The Concert Hall’s Grand Organ is the largest mechanical version of this instrument in the world, with 10,154 pipes. It took ten years to build.
15,500 light bulbs are changed every year at the Opera House.
In 1997, French urban climber, Alain “Spiderman” Robert, using only his bare hands and feet and with no safety devices of any kind, scaled the building’s exterior wall all the way to the top. (Remember that 22 story height earlier).
The Sydney Opera House celebrated its 45th anniversary this year (2018)
The Sydney Harbour Bridge has fantastic views of the Opera House, all you need to do is climb up to the top, do you see the line of people inching their way up it in the photograph above?? I wanted to try this but my husband wouldn’t accompany me and it is rather expensive – perhaps a helicopter tour would be just as good, non!