Rare photos of Sydney Opera House released to mark 50th anniversary
Getty has published rare photos of the Sydney Opera House, as the World Heritage listed masterpiece and nation’s busiest cultural centre celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The collection of 13 photos was recovered from the Getty Images Archives, and documents moments since the initial construction of the Opera House and after it officially opened its doors in October 1973.
Opening of the Sydney Opera House - 20 October 1973. A view as army helicopters and some 2000 yachts add to the celebrations during the historic opening of the Opera House. Construction was expected to take 4 years but took 14 years!
“The Sydney Opera House is one of the most photographed buildings in the world,” said Bob Ahern, Director of Archive Photography for Getty Images.
“To celebrate its 50th anniversary, we looked back across the vast troves of the Getty Images collections to help tell the story of this iconic landmark.
In doing so, we discovered images from the Archives that had been rarely seen before, from its early construction to its role as a cultural focal point in Australia.”
In construction - April 1964. This high angle view of the casting yard shows the concrete segments for the roof of the Sydney Opera House. Danish architect Jorn Utzon won an international design competition to design the building. This image is originally from the analogue files of the Fox Photos news agency which, though based in London, covered world events. The print may have not made it to wide circulation at the time it was taken but is now published online for the first time and gives us an early glimpse as the mammoth project began.
This high angle view of the casting yard shows the concrete segments for the roof of the Sydney Opera House. Danish architect Jorn Utzon won an international design competition to design the building. This image is originally from the analogue files of the Fox Photos news agency which, though based in London, covered world events. The print may have not made it to wide circulation at the time it was taken but is now published online for the first time and gives us an early glimpse as the mammoth project began.
A high-angle view of crowds attending the visit of British Royals Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, to Sydney Opera House on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 13th March 1977. Designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, the Expressionist performing arts venue is staging a production of Benjamin Britten's opera 'Albert Herring' for the Royal Couple who are on a Royal Tour of Australia as part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
New Year’s Eve and a new decade - 31 December 2009. Each News Year's Eve, the world turns its attention to Sydney and the spectacular display is seen around the world. This frame taken by Getty Images photographer Sam Hussein, captures the light and drama of fireworks bursting over the Harbor Bridge and Opera House, here ushering in a new decade.
Slaughter at the Opera - 1 March 2008. Getty images staff photographer Cameron Spencer captures this mid-air moment as Jake Duncombe of Australia performs an air during the 'Slaughter at the Opera' skateboard competition on the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House on March 1, 2008.
Cathy Freeman: A moment lit large - 25 September 2020. The Opera House provides a visually stunning backdrop to celebrate Cathy Freeman’s historic 400m gold medal win at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. A moment lit large, Freeman’s win is considered one of the greatest moments in Australian Olympic History.
Mardi Gras: The Base - March 2010. In March 2010 the Opera House provided a backdrop to more than 5000 people who took part in an art installation by artist Spencer Tunick. Tunick stated that the title of the work, commissioned by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, refers to the sameness of individuals, regardless of their sexual preferences.
Vertical limit: tile tapping on the Opera House - circa 2022. A worker with a head for heights inspects some of the over one million tiles that form the roof of the Opera House. The 'tile tapping' test is conducted every five years to inspect the health of the tiles that cover the iconic sails and takes six weeks to complete.
Two icons in one photo: Princess Diana - circa 1983. This time Prince Charles and Princess Diana arrive with security at the Opera House, forming part of their Royal Tour of Australia in 1983. This was Diana’s first ever overseas tour, and of course the world's press would be there to document it. This image by royal photographer Jayne Fincher frames the Opera house and Diana together – two icons in one photo.
Past, present and future - 26 January 2023. The sails of the Sydney Opera House are illuminated by a projection of artwork by artist Rhonda Sampson on January 26, 2023. Sampson has said of her artwork that it reflects the site of Tubowgule, on which the Opera House sits, and of its history past, present and future.
Historic Concert Hall upgrade - circa 2022. In 2022 the Concert Hall reopened after two years of extensive renovations, which was part of the Opera House's Decade of Renewal: a 10-year program of capital works totaling almost $300 million to upgrade Sydney's World Heritage landmark ahead of its 50th anniversary in 2023. The interior of the hall is captured by photographer Lisa Maree Williams.
World Pride - 17 February 2023. Capturing the start of Sydney WorldPride, this stunning photo made from multiple exposures shows off the illuminations of the Progress Pride Flag as it is projected onto the Opera House.