The Sydney Opera House was accorded the royal stamp of Approval on Saturday when it was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth.
The Sydney Opera House was accorded the royal stamp of Approval on Saturday when it was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth. Her Royal Highness gave the occasion the pomp and ceremony that the opening of Australia's most expensive building deserved.
The Opera House fronts Sydney's famous harbour and its roof shells resemble the yachts which sail around the jutting Bennelong Point, where it stands. Controversy and arguments have dogged the progress of the building, not least because the original cost estimate of GBP3.5 million ($ 7 million) has soared to GBP 61.7 million ($100 million).
The original design was submitted by young Danish architect, Joern Utzon, 17 years ago. His rough sketch was chosen from more than 200 entries, in a competition for the best design. The construction has taken more than 14 years.
The Queen and Prince Philip were welcomed when they arrived for the opening by the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Charles Cutler and the new South Wales Premier, Sir Robin Askin. Before they entered the building, Ben Flakeney, an aboriginal actor representing "the spirit of Bennelong" delivered a brief oration. It detailed his people's links with the Opera House site. The actor had climbed 200 feet to the pinnacle of the concrete hall shell to make his speech.
The Chairman of the Organising Committee, Sir Asher Joal, accompanied the Queen as she toured the building.
More than a million spectators crammed the foreshores of Sydney Harbour for the day-long festivities that accompanied the official opening.